Gay Marriage

Gay Marriage and the Limits of Tradition

We treasure the customs and practices passed down from our ancestors. And we change them anytime we want.


Gay marriage
Jose Antonio Navas / Flickr

In all the bad days that opponents of same-sex marriage have had lately, few compare with the one they had this past week in a courtroom in Chicago. Lawyers defending the bans in Wisconsin and Indiana were buried in an avalanche of skepticism and incredulity.

The judges demanded to know what worthy goals the prohibitions serve, and the attorneys had terrible trouble coming up with any. Perhaps the low point for their side came when one was asked why Wisconsin makes it so hard for same-sex couples to adopt and ventured to say, "I think tradition is one of the reasons."

At that, Judge Richard Posner did not slap his forehead and exclaim, "Of course! Why didn't we see that? Everything makes sense now!" Instead, he retorted: "How can tradition be a reason for anything?"

Many states, he noted, had a hallowed tradition of forbidding interracial marriage until 1967, when the Supreme Court said they couldn't. Posner couldn't see how entrenched practice, no matter how ancient, mattered in that case or this one. The argument, he said, amounted to: "We've been doing this stupid thing for a hundred years, a thousand years. We'll keep doing it because it's tradition."

His rebuff betrays a fatal problem for opponents of same-sex marriage. One of their central arguments is that we should limit marriage to male-female couples because that's been the norm in Western cultures for millennia. It's an argument deeply rooted in conservative political philosophy. But conservative political philosophy has never really had much influence in the United States, even among those who call themselves conservative.

In his 1953 book "The Conservative Mind," Russell Kirk expounded a view peculiar to the right. "Even the most intelligent of men cannot hope to understand all the secrets of traditional morals and social arrangements," he wrote, "but we may be sure that Providence, acting through the medium of human trial and error, has developed every hoary habit for some important purpose." It's not an argument often heard in our debates.

Americans do pay homage to our past by invoking the Declaration of Independence, the framers, the Constitution, Abraham Lincoln, and so on. But the idea that we should be afraid to make changes in our laws for fear of rending the organic fabric of society doesn't command much allegiance on either the left or the right.

Liberals have never made a fetish of obeisance to the past. They agree with the revolutionary pamphleteer Thomas Paine that giving primacy to tradition unjustly places "the authority of the dead over the rights and freedom of the living."

American conservatives largely share that premise. The New Deal has been in place for some 80 years, but conservatives don't believe in conserving that. Their feeling is it was a bad idea then, and it's a bad idea now.

None of this means Americans have no use for traditions. We have all sorts of favorites, from fireworks on the Fourth of July to football in autumn. But we feel entitled to alter and embellish them at our whim. The fireworks we see are bigger and better than the ones Americans saw a century ago. Football now starts in August and goes till February.

Marriage morphed repeatedly long before gays got it. Women acquired more rights, divorce became available to anyone who wanted it, and alimony grew less common. People of different races can now marry each other even in places where it was once cause for lynching.

Longstanding arrangements that make sense endure without controversy, and that's just the point: They make sense. Tradition and a good reason will win an argument, just as tradition and $2 will get you a ride on the bus. Americans don't keep doing things unless they serve our purposes, even if they suited our grandparents to a T.

The 20th-century Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. spoke for most of us: "It is revolting to have no better reason for a rule of law than that so it was laid down in the time of Henry IV. It is still more revolting if the grounds upon which it was laid down have vanished long since, and the rule simply persists from blind imitation of the past."

The prevailing ethos in this country is that we are the masters of tradition, not the servants. We treasure the customs and practices passed down from our ancestors. And we change them anytime we want.

NEXT: Brickbat: Don't Do the Crime

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

  1. Alt-text: Surprisingly, there are some gays with no fashion sense.

    1. Better alt-text: even these two gay guys wonder where they can see the Jennifer Lawrence leaked nudes today!

    2. Yeah, I’m having a hard time believing those dudes are gay. Neither one picked a pair of glasses that fit their face. And neither is wearing a pair of Wayfarers with either no lenses or clear lenses.*

      *Theres a lot of crossover in the hipster and urban gay community.

  2. Somehow, I have a feeling the commentariat is going to eviscerate this article if they’re not all on holiday.

    Let’s just hope we don’t get the same usual pissing matches.

    1. YOUR A NEOCON!!!

      1. My what a neocon?

        Oh dear, we’re getting into the usual pissing matches. 🙂

        1. PROJECTION!!!!11!11

  3. Can 3 gay males marry?

    Can a mother marry her daughter?

    Perhaps 2 gay males and 1 hetero female can marry?

    If not, why not?

    1. Jesse posted this some time back.

    2. Consent, although incest is a sticky wicket

      1. Why do you assume a sexual component? If marriage is now defined by the governmental goodies that attach to the relationship, why can’t a daughter marry her mother for a variety of reasons such as providing her medical coverage as a spouse, having access to her medical information under HIPAA, taking advantage of spousal privilege, etc.

        1. Agreed. And since so much of what we can do is defined by who our spouse can be (regulation of insurance markets, HIPAA laws, survivorship and legacy benefits, etc), I think the floodgates should be opened for as many people as possible to enjoy special government benefits…if for no other reason than to render those benefits commonplace as opposed to special.

          Two spinster sisters should be as free to “marry” for insurance and survivorship benefits as two strangers are. And until we dismantle the regulatory state and allow for contracts to be enforced that any combination of willing participants enter into, then this is the road we’re gonna have to travel down to get to the same place.

          1. Two of my no-longer-married uncles took care of Grandma in the last years of her life, and wound up living in the house together after she died. Nobody would think they were married, but it’s fairly reasonable to suggest that they should have had some of the legal protections (probate law and whatnot) that traditional married couples have.

            1. Smoothing the path to government services isn’t marriage – so long as the right of unmarried people to help each other out isn’t based on them claiming to have some kind of erotic relationship – which would be discriminatory in that it privileged erotic relationships over others!

              1. which would be discriminatory in that it privileged erotic relationships over others!

                Which we already do, by the way. If my friend Wei Chang wants to visit me but does possess the home ownership and income requirements for a tourist visa, then he’s shit out of luck. However, if Mei Mei Chang wants to visit me and we can prove we have an erotic relationship that we intend to consummate in marriage within 90 days upon arrival, then Mei Mei can get a K-1 fiancee visa. Of course, Mei Mei and I don’t marry in 90 days, she gets her ass booted out.

                1. But as government intervention dilutes the definition of marriage down to purely homeopathic levels, how long before the existence of an erotic relationship becomes as irrelevant as a man/woman pairing?

                  I see nothing other than inertia to keep the erotic definition of marriage. To use a favorite debating tactic of the SSM crowd – what about older couples? Do we insist that they have sex with each other or make out?

                  1. Why would we need to insist that they do ? Just stand back out of the way and it will take care of itself.


          2. I didn’t even think about trust and estate laws. Those are the original governmental goodies attached to marriage.

        2. OK, I see your point. I’m going to have to ponder that angle for awhile. It’s like the bastard child of free association, equal protection, and governmental marriage law. It may be unavoidable if we want to move towards getting government out of the equation, but my guess is government is not getting out of it.

          1. This is not what I guessed purity balls were…

        3. But wait, certainly it is not a libertarian tradition to advocate for changes that give expended access to “government goodies”.

          1. When you say “government goodies”- you forget that those goodies belong to the individual who earned them- not to the government. What the married person GETS is the right to KEEP the money, property etc. so that the government doesn’t take it from their ‘married partner’ after their death.

            The government holds out the carrot of keeping your own property on a stick to induce you to obtain a government marriage license. So there are no ‘expanded government goodies’ here- only a government ‘authorization’ to keep what was yours to begin with. That is most definitely libertarian.

    3. Didn’t a judge in Utah weigh in affirmatively to these questions in the past week or so?

      Marriage equality is coming. And gay marriage is but a step along the path.

    4. I personally have no problem with polygamy or civil unions without the presumption of romantic relationship. There are legal arguments against both that stand up better than arguments against regular gay marriage, though. For polygamy, the whole legal system regarding marriage is set up based on two partners. A 3rd (or more) partner adds complications that can’t be easily remedied without major law changes. For example, how would the 3rd+ spouse be accounted for on a tax return, who would be the legal parents of a child born/adopted into the family, or how would property be divided if 1 spouse divorces the others. For family members, there are legally-recognized rights regarding parents and children (and to a lesser degree siblings and other relatives) — parents can cover a child on their health insurance until the child is 26 years old, children can visit their parents in the hospital when visits are restricted to “family” only, and children can inherit property in many instances when there was no will in place. Gay marriage between two individuals fits more easily into the current legal structures, because the entire legal system surrounding marriage is based on the union of 2 adults who are not already 1st-degree relatives.

      1. “For polygamy, the whole legal system regarding marriage is set up based on two partners.”

        And it wasn’t set up based on one of those partners being a man and another one being a woman?

        1. Yes, but the difference is relatively minor in legal terms. There is the issue of presumption that children are biologically related to both parents, but laws regarding that aren’t so clear-cut even with heterosexual marriage. In some states a husband is considered the legal father of his wife’s child (if the child is born while they are married), regardless of direct evidence that he is indeed not the biological father. And with adoption it is of course recognized that the child is not the biological child of the parent(s). Unless we are going to make artificial insemination and adoption illegal for gays, there are going to be kids being raised by gay partners, and denying them legal status does additional harm without correcting the supposed harm of being raised by two mommies or two daddies.

          1. I, personally, look forward to the day I can marry seven dogs.

          2. I, personally, look forward to the day I can marry seven dogs.

            1. Just wait until they demand alimony- through their court appointed lawyer, of course. I’d like to be invited to the wedding so I can hear them give their consent to marrying YOU!

            2. That’s fourteen.

              You can have your own sled team.

      2. For polygamy, the whole legal system regarding marriage is set up based on two partners.

        – 1 Sharia

        1. I look forward to CAIR and other groups arguing that it’s Islamophobic to recognize same-sex relationships but to deny recognition and government benefits to Muslim plural marriages.

      3. how would property be divided if 1 spouse divorces the others

        Fractions, how the fuck do they work?!

    5. Re: “Can 3 gay males marry?”

      Get back to us when heterosexual males get multiple spouses in America.

      Re: “Can a mother marry her daughter?”

      No need. The only purpose of marriage in the eyes of the law is to establish legal next-of-kin status where no kinship existed previously. A mother and daughter already have kinship established in law and hence have no need of marriage.

      Re: “Perhaps 2 gay males and 1 hetero female can marry?”

      See #1.

      Thanks for asking.

      1. The only purpose of marriage in the eyes of the law is to establish legal next-of-kin status where no kinship existed previously.

        The only purpose? You are putting too much emphasis on inheritance and after-death rights to property and bank accounts and so on. Heirs-at-law is, I think, the term you are looking for. Next of kin sometimes is important in a hospital or similar emergency situation. But in normal circumstances, “next of kin” – does it even have a clear legal definition? – doesn’t mean much at all in terms of the pomposity, “in the eyes of the law.”

        Depends on jurisdiction, but marriage – which does have a much clearer legal definition – also can mean one married partner has a legal duty to support the other. There are rights to live in the matrimonial home, regardless of who is on the title. Marriage might mean tax benefits (and costs), sometimes pension regulations force certain marriage benefits. There is a so-called communications privilege for spouses. Then there is the exemption to be a prosecution witness against a spouse in criminal cases (with some exceptions). Trying claiming that last one as a next of kin.

      2. Oh, sorry, my question needs refinement, I suppose.

        Can 3 males marry?

        If not why not?

  4. This article is John bait.

  5. So now the “20th-century Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.” speaks “for most of us”? Curious assertion from a liberarian pundit, don’t ya think?

    1. Meh, in this case I would hope he speaks for the overwhelming majority of us. “Tradition” should never be the sole basis for determining what limitations can be placed on our natural rights.

      1. Three generations of imbeciles is not tradition.

        1. Yeah, it’s not surprising that a nihilistic legal positivist would scoff at tradition.

        2. You can’t shout fire in crowded theater, or protest the draft, tradition be damned.

      2. “Tradition” should never be the sole basis for determining what limitations can be placed on our natural rights.

        I agree that tradition should not be the sole basis for…anything but “tradition sucks” is basically the rallying cry of Socialists since their inception. When you agree with them about the elimination of some traditions do not expect them to respect the traditions in which you believe.

        For example, Ezra Klein agrees with your statement completely. The Constitution and all that stuff about Liberty is like, 100 years old or something.

        1. The point is not that tradition sucks. The point is that tradition in itself is never a valid argument to determine rights or define legal issues. And, that hardly means “eliminating” tradition, which is the rallying cry of conservatives when they cannot impose it on the rest of us by force.

          1. The point is that tradition in itself is never a valid argument to determine rights or define legal issues.

            Below, I list a couple of the traditions by which many rights are defended. There are many more.

            I agreed with the notion that tradition shouldn’t be the “sole” reason which is the same as “in itself”.

            that hardly means “eliminating” tradition

            Some traditions should be eliminated. Human slavery has been almost completely eliminated from Western tradition. I definitely agree that tradition has been the tool of tyrants since the beginning of time.

            the rallying cry of conservatives when they cannot impose it on the rest of us by force.

            You can not build the new Soviet Man until you destroy the traditional one.

    2. Holmes was a statist asshole, but he was right about that one quote.

      1. Careful with that “tradition isn’t enough” argument. One could argue that the doctrine of “natural rights” is likewise based in “tradition”and must give way to “changing times.”

        In fact, if memory serves, there is a whole political movement based on that notion, and Mr. Holmes was one its prophets.

        1. One could argue that the doctrine of “natural rights” is likewise based in “tradition”and must give way to “changing times.”

          One could argue that, but then one would be wrong.

          Natural rights are logical deductions based on empirical observation of our environment, of which it is found that any sort of meaningful definition of “life” is impossible without them.

          1. How many squads of cops does logical dedcutions have?

          2. How many squads of cops does logical dedcutions have?

  6. I do not care who marries who,but,I have a feeling if you take away the tax and insurances benefits most this debate would end.Get the IRS out of social policy and pay your own damn insurance.And don’t get me started on subsidies.

    1. Get the government out of marriage altogether.

      Make the entire thing a system of private contracts between individuals. You can have whatever marriage ceremony you’d like, but the government no longer has a say on the legal specifics.

  7. If they just used a different word than “marriage”, 80% of the Bible Thumpers would have moved on 5 years ago. Also, it would have helped if the majority of gays weren’t in favor of forcing vendors to sell them stuff for their weddings.


    2. when people start demanding group and positive rights they lose me

    3. We’re gonna get marriage anyway and the bible thumpers can go fuck themselves.

      Yes let’s coddle their bigotry and deny equal rights to gays. Because bible thumpers are so much more fun at parties…?

      1. Denying them rights by simply letting everybody other than the government call it marriage? And giving them every single plus and minus that comes along with marriage?

        1. And the Christians are supposed to be mollified by having everything equal except the word (an explicit endorsement by the government of separate but equal)? Are they that dumb?


            1. I see your inability to gain the slightest amount of traction in this debate has reduced you to shouting random words.

              1. Um, no. I was mocking you.

                1. You couldn’t mock a turtle. Accept that you are an idiot. At least accept the fact that you’ve lost this issue on the grounds that you’re an idiot.

                  1. Oh, that’s funny. The guy who accuses me of catchphrases can’t post a comment about gay marriage without saying “separate but equal.”

                  2. Why would anybody mock a poor, defenseless turtle?

                    You’re a right bastard, Tony.

                    SHUT THE FUCK UP

            2. Hey, I have an idea.

              Let’s revoke the citizenship of Americans who are libertarians, because it offends the sensibilities of the collectivist majority.

              We’ll replace it with a separate-but-equal legal status, called “subjecthood.”

              American libertarians will be subjects of the United States, not citizens. Everything will be equal except for the label, and a couple of other things.

              American subjects will have to renew their passports on a yearly basis rather than a 10-year basis, and the fee to do so will be $500. They’ll also need to contribute more to the tax system, but won’t be able to draw on spousal Social Security benefits.

              If you have a problem with this arrangement, you’re a communist, since Social Security is a collectivist institution and passports shouldn’t exist.

    4. Re: the use of the word “marriage” …

      The “Bible thumpers” already HAVE their ‘word’ – and it isn’t “marriage”; it’s “holy matrimony” – a religious ceremony that – by itself – does not render ANY couple legally married anywhere in America.

      I am in favor of vendors who have a business license in order to sell their “stuff” to the public being required to obey the secular public accommodations laws that say they must sell their “stuff” … to the public. And that means ALL of the public, because – like it or not – gay folks are part of the public.

    5. 80% of the Bible Thumpers would have moved on 5 years ago<<br /
      I guess I just imagined all the Bible Thumper protestors who protested during Vermont’s civil unions debate, who sued to stop California domestic partnerships, who sued to stop NYC’s registered partnerships, etc.

      Someone should have told them they were supposed to move on, because a glib commentator at Reason told them to.

  8. Of course some traditions need to be modified from time to time, that’s not the point. As Burke would put it, the question is whether we deal with bad traditions like the wounds of a father, with respect to those who have gone before and who, while not all-wise, may have known a thing or two, or whether we’re like the men in the myth who chopped up their father and stuck the pieces in the kettle of magicians in hopes of creating a New Man.

    1. Well, said, Eddie.

      I was aslo thinking in the terms of Bastiat and the unseen. Just because I am not aware of why a certain tradition exists, doesn’t mean that it is bad.

      The intersection of government coercion and tradition is a tricky one. The most glaring tradition that was obviously evil was human slavery.

      The tradition of being tried by a jury of your peers is one that has been so stripped of meaning through the selection process that for all intents and purposes it has been abandoned. The unseen effect of this (though not by many here) has been to almost completely abandon jury nullification.

      The tradition of government divided and in conflict was similarly abandoned and almost completely lost with the popular selection of Senators.

      1. Chesterton’s fence.

    2. Why is it a good tradition to think that practicing homosexuals are intrinsically immoral? It seems like a silly idea to me.

  9. Marriage morphed repeatedly long before gays got it. Women acquired more rights, divorce became available to anyone who wanted it, and alimony grew less common. People of different races can now marry each other even in places where it was once cause for lynching.

    So there’s a tradition of change, huh?

    Drawing a loop around all of the above and characterizing it as “marriage morphed repeatedly” conflates very different things. Allowing people of different races to marry each other didn’t change the nature of marriage itself; changes to divorce did. Unfortunately divorce also went from one ill statutory regime (only certain causes allowed) to another (no fault).

    We don’t have to assume some unknown, lost-to-hx reason for traditional marriage. The reason for its existence & recognition by law is known to us. That reason does not exist for same-sex marriage. But aside from that, expanding marriage upsets legal assumptions in ways that expanding sports seasons or augmenting fireworks do not. Of all the dumb-ass things Chapman has written, the one comparing the one “expansion” to those others should make the highlight reel. Gee, if Burger King can add chicken to its menu, I guess we can all be made to legally recognize pairs of the same sex as spouses for all the purposes we expected to count married couples, huh?

    BTW, in its early days American football was played spring & fall.

    1. expanding marriage upsets legal assumptions

      Such as? The point is the tradition argument isn’t sufficient all by itself. You have to demonstrate why it’s in society’s interest to deny marriage rights to gay people. And all the lawyers who’ve tried in court have failed.

    2. What is “the reason for its existence and recognition by law that is known to us?” To recognize a family with children? What are those of us who legally marry and do not have children to think of the suggestion that marriage is only for those who procreate? And what about those who marry late in life and cannot have children? Or infertile couples who must adopt if they want children?

      Are these marriages forbidden? No- so if a same sex couple adopts, how is it different from a ‘traditional’ couple who adopts? Is it how they have sex in their bedroom where YOU DO NOT BELONG? What about traditional couples who use anal/ oral sex as a method of birth control because they do not want children? Shall they be forced to un-marry because they don’t even attempt to bring a child into the world?

      I am sure you know that a government license is necessary to be able to make decisions for your partner in the event of his or her inability to make them for his or her self. Most hospitals will only allow ‘family members’ to visit someone in critical condition? which excludes one’s partner if they aren’t married.

      The best idea is to get government out of marriage. Eliminate the marriage license and all its government ‘bennies’ and allow people to leave their property, insurance and money to whomever they want and the government cannot take it from those designated beneficiaries after the death of the person who designates.

  10. “How can tradition be a reason for anything?”

    What exactly is stare decisis, if not tradition? I am all for a one-off recognition of liberty as an improvement over a none-off but for courts to act as if they are deeply principled is a tad rich. If they were judges would have been doing this since they took the bench rather than only recently recognizing the direction of the wind has changed. The government has been infringing on liberty since its founding and the occasional nod to political correctness changes nothing.

    1. It’s the same reason as I give against fiat money & same sex marriage: that people can order their lives & avoid getting a nasty surprise if they can count on the “tradition”‘s being upheld.

    2. Technical definitional issue here: stare decisis means that legal issues considered and resolved by the courts should be treated as resolved by courts addressing the same issue, on the same set of facts, in the future, to provide stability and predictability in law, which many would argue is a component of due process.

      The tradition Chapman thinks he is referring to are established social norms, and the argument that constitutional doctrine should defer to established social norms. That is the argument that most commentators here would dispute.

      However, you are correct that the argument Chapman makes is the same argument that Holmes used to attack “traditional” common law and urge the modern Regulatory State, with laws propounded by “experts” unrestrained by “outmoded” notions of “natural rights,” in its place. Which is why I posed the question I posed above.

  11. Here’s a few more traditions for the Red Guards to cast on the fire in the name of the New Society: trial by jury, freedom from self-incrimination, the right to bear arms, freedom of speech, press, assembly and religion, representative government, all traditions which clever wordsmiths and “political geometricians” can mock and deride out of existence.

    1. Those traditions have other reasons for existing than “this is how we’ve done it before,” which cannot be sole grounds for continuing to do it in the future.

      1. Most traditions have other reasons for existing. It means “we believe that this method met our needs in the past.” Of course, maybe it *didn’t* meet our needs, or it meets them no longer, but that has to be proven, not merely asserted.

      2. Those traditions have other reasons for existing than “this is how we’ve done it before,” which cannot be sole grounds for continuing to do it in the future.

        ALL traditions have other reasons for existing, even if you are unaware of or disagree with them. How would a tradition exist otherwise? The people who start it say “we are going to start acting in a certain way for no reason and hopefully people will follow our example”?

        1. Forget it, Marshall Gill, it’s Jacobin town.

        2. I suggest a new tradition. Kicking G.K.C. in the nerts every Labor Day.

          Who’s with me?

    2. First at all, nobody is abolishing the right to heterosexuals, which if not is the tradition you want to preserve. So your whole intent to make an analogy of it makes non sense. Second, I am not very sure many of the traditions you mentioned are worth keeping (as libertarian with anarchist leanings, I do not hold “Representative government” in high esteem). And third you seem to forget that many of the things mentioned in your list were quite revolutionary centuries ago, and replaced other traditions (monarchic government, censorship, theocracy etc).

      1. I meant, nobody is abolishing the right of heterosexuals to marry…

  12. Curious assertion from a liberarian pundit, don’t ya think?

    Chapman wrote it, right?

    So- not actually an issue.

  13. So, no AM links because it’s Labor Day, or because of “The Fappening”?

    Either way: Kate Upton looks better with clothes on.

    1. Either way: Kate Upton looks better with clothes on.

      Yeah, she has future fat girl written all over her. She’s cute, but, her body (other than the huge, magnificent hooters) is just not that spectacular.

      I linked it in the other thread, but I’ll link it here for sloopy in case he didn’t see it there. The Fappening.

      1. “Oh, drat! I can’t see these naked pictures because I’m only 16 and would not presume to tell a lie on the Internet and pretend to be 18!”

      2. You judgemental bastards!

        What if a guy (me) happens to be into fat chicks?

        Did you ever think of that? Huh? Did ya? Huuuuuh?

        *frowny face*

        1. Then marry one.

          1. I totally did, actually. Been with her for 12 years, married for 6.

            Take THAT, you rotten tooth!

  14. I expect Steve Chapman to apologize for this article one day; perhaps when he’s pushing a donkey cart filled with dung to heat his home; hoping he doesn’t get caught by the dung police. We have “traditions” that keep us from the sort of life now, but yeah – it’s like super-Goth to mumble against such conformity. Cool man. Take the low road in realm of short and narrow thinking.

    As for the lawyers defending the ban … everybody’s been lying about all of this for so long, only someone with strong research abilities can search for the real story, and then only through sheer force of will. I’m confident that anything the lawyers might have learned about the history of marriage law in universities was pure PC clap-trap. How could they possibly know why they and the state need to defend it?

    1. Yeah, I think some of these lawyers defending the traditional marriage laws are like bad public defenders* with a client they don’t much care for, and they just want to get their perfunctory “defense” out of the way so they can go hit the bars.

      *There *are* good ones.

  15. Eventually, we may reach the “When everyone is married, no one is married” stage.

    We can hope. If the various secondary and tertiary legal privileges mentioned above, currently reserved to the “traditional marriage” crowd, become so widely dispersed as to be available to all, the legal fiction of marriage will no longer be necessary.

    I never felt it necessary to seek the permission or validation of a government official for my personal relationships.

    1. I never felt it necessary to seek the permission or validation of a government official for my personal relationships.

      Well, citizen, it seems you need more time in the Re-education Camp! Please, get on the bus. Now.

  16. An AM link for your derpy pleasure.

    Why White Men Hate Unions

    Some highlights:

    When I heard a Sheet Metal Workers business agent from Syracuse theorize that Southerners dislike unions because “the name reminds them of the Union Army,” I thought he was nuts. Since Chattanooga, I think he may have been on to something.

    Teachers and librarians vote overwhelmingly Democratic, not because they’re union members, but because the combination of low pay and intellectual inquiry in those professions attracts liberals.

    1. Would these be the same unions that for decades excluded women and brown-skinned people?

      Be sure during the next big-city or northeastern state construction project, where the craft unions retain much power, to count all the women and minorities you see at work.

      1. Yeah, seriously.

        They can only even attempt this argument because their readership is so fucking ignorant of history that they won’t have the first clue how unbelievably racist most unions have actually been thoughout the years.

    2. News business Salon Media Group Inc. lost $3.9 million in the year ended March, and that pushed the company’s accumulated deficit to $116.4 million


  17. Why not take a historical survey of political movements who share Chapman’s contempt at the idea of respecting tradition, who think that because you reform bad traditions from time to time it means we get to throw *all* traditions indiscriminately into the blender?

    Let’s see…the French Revolution, the various Communist revolutions, the [Godwin edit], the Progressive movement in the U.S., the New Deal (“bold experimentation!”), etc. etc. Yep, a bunch of crusades for liberty, nothing could go wrong with adopting the same attitude toward tradition that they adopted.

    1. Notorious: Why don?t you stop making straw man of what Chapman said in the article? Where does he claim that all traditions should be considered bad? He is just saying that just because something is a tradition it does not mean it is necessary good; and he is right.

  18. Kate Upton looks better with clothes on.

    Pudgy girls usually do.

  19. Some more Salon to get your bile moving

    How to argue with right-wing relatives: Labor Day BBQ edition!

    What does one do on Labor Day, a day in which Americans traditionally honor the herculean efforts and cracking discipline of business owners and bosses over the years? You get up, pray to your boss for the noblesse oblige of bestowing upon you some lousy piece of underemployment, and then do the same damn thing you always do on summer holidays: go to a barbecue with your weird, politically diverse extended family.

    This is what the chain email from World Net Daily said, right under the ads for cheap dietary penis supplements and gold bullion and crank-wheel manual flashlights for the post-EMP apocalyptic hellscape.

    No elitism there, not at all.

  20. “Americans do pay homage to our past by invoking the Declaration of Independence, the framers, the Constitution, Abraham Lincoln, …”

    One of these things is not like the others.

    1. Lincoln! Let me tell you what I think about Lincoln…

      1. They make expensive cars!

  21. Reason has some really good content but holy crap does the commentariat know how to ruin it or what!?

    1. holy crap does the commentariat know how to ruin it or what!?

      We do our best.

  22. A Criterion For Judgement

    “I the Lord search the heart,
    I try the reins,
    Even to give every man according to his ways,
    According to the fruit of his doings.” ?Jeremiah 17:10

    Let the actions of those who would change traditions that built a powerful nation be judged by their consequences (

    1. Re: “those who would change traditions”

      If a Board member tried to use, “But we’ve always done it that way!” as an excuse not to try new or different things, he’d be laughed out of the Board room.

      Besides, it’s not like heterosexual couples are no longer ALLOWED to marry.

  23. Sounds like some peretty serious business to me dude.

  24. Awwww. I saw Chapman’s name and stopped reading. I didn’t know this was a same-sex marriage post.

  25. None of this means Americans have no use for traditions. We have all sorts of favorites, from fireworks on the Fourth of July to football in autumn. But we feel entitled to alter and embellish them at our whim. The fireworks we see are bigger and better than the ones Americans saw a century ago. Football now starts in August and goes till February.

    Were the fireworks and football schedules imposed by court order?

    We feel entitled to alter tradition? Absolutely. We have a thing called elections to exercise such alterations.

  26. I get tired of this stupid argument. The state has NO business involved in ANY marriage. Gay people are not fighting for gay marriage, they are fighting for state licensing and state privileges. Marriage is a commitment between two people, not a state license and the state has NO control over whether or not you are married.

  27. Several days ago this site put out an article that showed what most Americans believe about the appropriate age children should be left alone. Most of the comments blamed the spin doctor media for creating a false idea of lack of safety as crime rates have actually dropped.

    I would be careful buying the idea that those of us who oppose expanding the definition of marriage to include same sex marriage do so based on tradition. That idea, that its about tradition, is just as much spin as trying to press how dangerous it is to leave your child unsupervised for a few moments in a public playground.

    Also I would like to point out the hypocrisy of looking at 75% approval scale for the age that a child should be left unsupervised and saying how dumb Americans are and looking at a 55% approval rate for same sex marriage and use that as an argument to show why its same sex marriage is ok

    1. Well he was speaking of the lawyer who used the tradition argument only, but yeah, he was also trying to extend it beyond that as well.

  28. “We treasure the customs and practices passed down from our ancestors. And we change them anytime we want.”

    Exactly who is “we”? When this issue started the change was forced on the public by activists and sympathetic judges. Up until very recently when the people were asked their opinion the answer was “no”. The populist aspect of SSM has always been a lagging indicator. Chapman’s argument seems to be retconning the trajectory of what actually.

    “Liberals have never made a fetish of obeisance to the past.”

    Which is why they stand against most of The Bill of Rights today and the limitations imposed on them by the Constitution and the tradition of limited government. Not exactly the best example to use.

    1. I am a liberal and a staunch defender of the Bill of Rights. I believe in the First Amendment’s articulated guarantees, as well as interpretations handed down by SCOTUS guaranteeing freedom of expressive association and freedom of intimate association. I believe in the Second Amendment, although I personally would never have a gun on my premises. I believe in the Third Amendment, with its prohibition against quartering soldiers in my home during both times of peace and times of war (although the latter is permitted in a manner prescribed by law). I am a staunch defender of the Fourth Amendment, and am horrified by the inroads which SCOTUS has made into the protective ambit of this Amendment in the name of the futile and utterly pointless “war on drugs.”


    2. .” I am a staunch proponent of the Fifth Amendment, with its guarantees of due process and equal protection, as well as its explicit guarantees against double jeopardy and forced self-incrimination. I am a staunch proponent of the Sixth Amendment, with its guarantees of a speedy trial, access to an attorney, an impartial jury, and the right to confront witnesses against the individual charged with a crime. I furthermore defend the Seventh Amendment, with its guarantees of a jury trial in civil cases. I am also a staunch proponent of the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits the imposition of excessive bail, cruel and unusual punishment, and torture. I defend the Ninth Amendment, with its guarantees that the failure to enumerate rights shall not be taken as a limitation on the rights of the people; and I defend the Tenth Amendment, which guarantees that rights not explicitly reserved for the federal government or excluded from the reach of the states shall belong to the states or the people.

      Don’t paint all liberals with the same brush!


  29. Two dicks. . .

    Two dicks. . .

    Two dicks. . .

    Two dicks. . .

    Two dicks. . .

    Two dicks. . . !

    1. So what?

      So what?

      So what?

      So what?

      So what?

      So what?

      1. Oh, nothing. Just wanted to put that out there.

  30. The New Deal has been in place for some 80 years, but conservatives don’t believe in conserving that.

    Actually, most of those calling themselves “conservatives” these days have made their peace with the New Deal.

  31. This board smells like body odor and chewing tobacco. What a bunch of buck-toothed redneck shitstains. You know, if you’re going to insist on opposing something, even an obvious advancement in liberty, just because the liberals got there first, you’re going to end up being wrong a lot of the fucking time.

    1. Weren’t you saying something earlier about being the model of decorum and etiquette and how you are the apex of genteel, honest, and open-mindedness here, and never stoop to the desperate kind of vituperation and poop-throwing you accuse your peers of?

      Something like that. Are you going to make me go find it and quote you? because that would be funny

      1. Oh no you caught me.

        What does it take to get you idiots to recognize the most obvious sarcasm? Should I intersperse it with boobies?

        1. Yes. That.

  32. “This board smells like body odor and chewing tobacco. What a bunch of buck-toothed redneck shitstains. ”

    I don’t need to hear about your sex life.

    1. I just assumed it was the board he uses to paddle himself while wanking to Obama.

  33. When I first saw that picture I thought “Damn, Dean Winchester put on some weight!”

  34. “Tradition” cannot save a law from constitutional attack, just as “tradition” could not save the Virginia “miscegenation” statute which forbade white persons from marrying non-white persons until the US Supreme Court invalidated such statutes in Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967). For the Wisconsin state attorney to fall back on this outmoded and tautological reasoning says it all — the state had no persuasive justifications for its gay marriage ban, and the state attorney was virtually backed into a corner from which there was no escape.

    I am optimistic that we will win before a deeply divided US Supreme Court, with Justice Kennedy writing the majority opinion in favor of marriage equality and Justice Scalia writing another of his blistering but impotent dissents.


  35. The are many traditions … including same-gender couples marrying, both in Europe and in N. American native tribes.

    Polygamy is a ‘Biblical’ tradition.

    In a land that promises freedom of religious beliefs – to ALL – no ONE ‘tradition’ gets to ‘trump’ any other.

    1. “Butbutbut America is a CHRISTIAN NATION… founded on CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLEZ… founding fathers said America wouldn’t thrive without MORAL CHRISTIAN VALUEZ…”

      Yeah yeah whatever. Should’ve worded that more plainly in the First Amendment if that’s what they really wanted. I love hearing the fundies whine about how they can’t keep their exclusive-country-club environment anymore with regards to marriage… and having no credible argument other than “because Bible”.

  36. The legal analysis of these some 20 opinions was virtually identical, and many of the US District Court judges read these opinions before writing their own opinions, realizing that the work had already been done for them — all that remained was for them to add their own stylized handicraft to their own versions.


  37. However, this issue is almost certainly going to end up in the embrace of Justice Anthony Kennedy of the US Supreme Court. Justice Kennedy issued the majority opinion in United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 12 (2013) (striking down Section 3 of the misnamed “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA), thereby mandating that the US government grant to married gay couples all of the roughly 1,137 rights, benefits, and privileges granted to married heterosexual couples as a matter of course). The logic of Windsor virtually compelled the US District Courts which had since heard the issue of state bans against gay marriage, and this is reflected in the fact that about 20 US District Courts have handed down a string of unbroken, consecutive victories in favor of marriage equality, holding that the Due Process and / or Equal Protection Clause[s] of the Fourteenth Amendment mandate[s] such an outcome in the light of Justice Kennedy’s reasoning in Windsor (as well as his reasoning in Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003) (striking down all statutes which prohibited same-sex sexual intimacy and expressly overturning Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186 (1986)) and in Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996) (striking down a Colorado state constitutional amendment which discriminated against gay persons, rendering it impossible for them to seek government assistance in the face of discrimination in both the public and private sectors)).


  38. It is indeed good to know that these three judges asked such probing and penetrating questions, and that they displayed deep skepticism for the arguments made by the attorneys for the state of Wisconsin. We have already won at the appellate level before the US Courts of Appeals for the Fourth and Tenth Circuits, and it now appears likely that we will win before the Seventh Circuit. Unfortunately we may suffer a loss before the three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (widely considered to be the most dysfunctional of all of the US Courts of Appeals), based on the ideological makeup of the three-judge panel who heard a gay marriage case from that Circuit’s jurisdiction (one of the judges is extremely conservative; another is moderately liberal; and the swing vote will likely be that of a middle of the road judge who expressed concerns about the “pacing” of this issue).


  39. FYI: I smell like nitromethane, clutch dust, and burning rubber.

    From the, you know, TRAKTUR PULLZ.

    1. Clutch Dust.

      Excellent band name.

  40. If you wish to test the theory that people on the left “have no use for tradition,” suggest that we completely separate school and state. Watch the non-arguments fly. The truth is, today’s left is reactionary, clinging to old institutions because a) they are old, and b) they are backed by large unions.

  41. The latest Washington Post / ABC News poll states that 59% of the American people now believe that gay marriage should become legal nationwide, and that 49% of them believe that the US Constitution mandates the enactment of gay marriage nationwide. As I write this, the proportion of the American populace which favors gay marriage continues to climb, while the proportion of the American populace which opposes gay marriage continues to fall. Back in 2003, not one state in the nation recognized gay marriage — today, 19 states and the District of Columbia recognize gay marriage. Anybody who still harbors doubt about the eventual outcome of this particular civil rights struggle is suffering from a mild break with reality, or is stubbornly hiding his or her head in the sand in the hopes that this issue will fade away.

    It will not.


  42. Gay marriage is OK because justice demands it, and because our Constitution, which is supposed to reflect justice, mandates it. The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment could not be more clear; furthermore, several federal courts now analyze discrimination against gay persons using “quasi-strict” scrutiny, under which standard the state has to demonstrate that its discriminatory actions serve an “important” state interest and that the actions in question are “substantially related” to the promotion of that interest (see. e.g., Frontiero v. Richardson, 411 U.S. 677 (1973)); stated differently, the government has to demonstrate an “exceedingly persuasive justification” for the challenged measure (United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515 (1996)). Specifically, the US Courts of Appeals for the Second and Ninth Circuits mandate that quasi-strict scrutiny apply in cases where the law classifies along the basis of sexual orientation.


    1. If you’re going to cut&paste; swathes of text, could you just fucking link to it instead?

      You’re being an asshole.

      1. These swathes of text are my original writings, not those of somebody else to whom I could furnish you with a link.


        1. “Original Writings” you obviously wrote before you fucking got here

          Its called “Spamming” Phil.

          i don’t give a fuck what side of an issue you’re on = don’t be a dick. you hurt your own cause.

          1. I apologize. I did in fact write my article using MS Word this afternoon, and I cut and pasted the article into fragments on this thread. You are quite right in condemning my behavior — I was very much in the wrong, and I see this now. I know that several people on this thread will not accept my apology as genuine, but it is in fact genuine, and I regret the inconvenience that my cut and paste job caused other participants in this discussion.

            I apologize, and hope that at least some participants in this debate will accept my apology as heartfelt.



        2. Oh, it is Phiwwip chandler.

          How were things at the Free Republic?

  43. my co-worker’s half-sister makes $76 an hour on the internet . She has been fired from work for 9 months but last month her pay was $18520 just working on the internet for a few hours. view website……..


  44. The “appeal to tradition” / ‘argumentum ad antiquitatem’ seems to remain lively in the areas of claimed church/state conflict.

    I’m thinking specifically of the constant effort by Atheist/Progs to purge all public forum of any even remote taint of non-secularized culture

    Its an area where suddenly progs decide ‘the constitution matters’ again, where they run wild with the idea that “separation of church and state” means “God bless America” can never be uttered on public lands without someone filing a lawsuit. Or someone demands a total ban on Easter Egg Hunts… because Jesus, rabbits, hallmark, or something.

    Just noting that the ‘argument from tradition’ maybe has some greater viability than the author discerns solely from looking at it from the perspective of ‘gay marriage’.

    1. that said…

      in the easter egg article? i think the dude is making a big deal over nothing…

      but this? =

      “The Conquerors, a Grandville-based group of Christian athletes who display feats of strength to spread the message of Jesus, have performed in Dearborn schools, drawing some concern”

      You think?

      I mean, ok. religious/athletic club. I guess its no different than when “Satans Ass-Tampon” played at the schools talent show, but for real… the ‘Conquerors’? sigh

      i also grant that the guy may have a point by saying that the advertised activities took place in church grounds.

      that said = when i was a kid, I attended activities hosted by all kinds of different religious denominations. Cookouts, holiday parties, sporting events, whatever. They were simply things the community took for granted and largely ignored whatever the religious connection was. There are many who seem to think that this ‘community/religious’ overlap is something that can be legislatively extinguished if they just sue enough people.

  45. Extremely destructive behavior, and the main reason why I stopped calling myself a libertarian. That ‘tradition’ brought about this country and built it into what it was today. Destroying marriage with divorce and gay relationships does not promote the family unit that is required to uphold our European ancestry. Our birth rates are dropping, and soon enough we will be required to import immigrants to keep our tax base high so we can pay for all these welfare leeches. But then again, libertarians support open borders, too.

    Gotta admit….very clever to disguise cultural marxism as ‘freedom’

    1. Kurbster writes: “Destroying marriage with divorce and gay relationships does not promote the family unit that is required to uphold our European ancestry. Our birth rates are dropping…”


      I fail utterly to see how the recognition of gay relationships (which are going to exist regardless of whether or not you like them) can or will “destroy” marriage. If you are so concerned about marriage being “destroyed,” try to do something about infidelity and divorce. Gay couples merely seek access to the institution which you take for granted because you already have it or do not need it; I have yet to hear a cogent analysis of how the recognition of gay marriages (which are now legal in 19 states) will have a deleterious impact on heterosexual marriages (I have heard the “simply because it will” argument many, many times before, so please try to come up with something original, rather than repeating a tautological and circular assertion divorced from any factual context which could grant it some measure of merit).

      Please explain this to me — do you honestly believe that a significant number of heterosexual couples will decide not to get married now that gay marriage is taking hold incrementally but inexorably? Do you honestly believe that heterosexual married couples will seek divorces now that gay couples can marry in those 19 states?

      I eagerly await your response.


      1. There is a great deal about your argument that I would urge you to reconsider.

        1. The fact that a large group of people (59%) support something does not make it moral acceptable or factually correct. See article about the poll taken concerning child safety for an example. Or ones on pot use.

        2. There is legal justification, as seen in the Tenessee case, for the state to have a compelling reason to promote heterosexual marriage, offering it benefits that otherwise would not be available.

        3. What justification can you give for upsetting the right of the people to govern themselves? So the people of Michigan pass a law that says they wont recognize or legally legitimize gay marriage. Do you, or some judge, or some pol think you really know that much better?

        4. The 14th Amendment argument is a joke. The government can not make or enforce a law that is not equally applied. By your interpretation:
        Affirmative Action is illegal
        Unions are illegal
        The government awarding contracts to business because they are owned by someone who is a minority is illegal
        Any Government program that targets helping a single group of people like WIC or Medicare are illegal.

        1. You ask the following: What justification can you give for upsetting the right of the people to govern themselves?

          The answer is simple. The people concerned have to govern themselves in accordance with the guarantees granted to minorities by the US Constitution, regardless of how repugnant the majority may find any particular issue. More than 20 US District courts, together with two US Courts of Appeals (soon to be three based on what occurred last week) have voted the same way in an unbroken string of victories for marriage equality proponents. Remember Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803), in which case SCOTUS opined as follows:

          “It is emphatically the duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases must, of necessity, expound and interpret the rule. If two laws conflict with each other, the Court must decide on the operation of each.

          If courts are to regard the Constitution, and the Constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the legislature, the Constitution, and not such ordinary act, must govern the case to which they both apply.”

          That is your answer. The people cannot trample constitutional obligations — in this case, obligations arising from interpretation of both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution.

          Clearly, this matter will eventually be decided by SCOTUS, where Justice Kennedy is waiting with open arms.


      2. you don’t add fuel to the fire. No-fault divorce was the beginning, and gay marriage is just more gasoline.

        Don’t give a shit what the purpose of marriage was back in ancient Greece. Marriage here was promoted as a family institution that supported procreation, and that’s how it should remain. But don’t worry, I’m sure all those immigrants that support liberals will have your ideology in mind!

        1. I fail utterly to see how gay marriage is “just more gasoline” to fuel the fires which are supposedly destroying the family in this country. How does permitting gay couples to marry bear upon the fidelity and integrity of straight marriages? It would be nice to receive an actual answer to this question instead of the “because it simply does” explanations which social conservatives have given, over and over again, like a mantra.

          Do you seriously believe that straight couples will choose not to marry once gay couples gain the right to marry? Nineteen states and the District of Columbia presently permit gay marriage, with just under 50% of the US population living within those states — and straight couples in those 19 states are still getting married in the same numbers (ballpark figures) as was the case before gay marriage became legal in those 19 states.

          Do you believe that straight married couples in those 19 states will now get divorced in increased numbers because gay couples are now permitted to marry in those 19 states? The data show otherwise — divorce rates have not soared as a function of gay marriage rates.

          I keep hearing the argument that gay marriage in some way degrades the institution of marriage, with no explanation ever given as to how this takes place, and no examples given as to how this takes place. Do you believe this?

          I hope to engage you in reasoned debate relative to this issue.


    2. “Our birth rates are dropping, and soon enough we will be required to import immigrants to keep our tax base high so we can pay for all these welfare leeches.”

      Remember when dropping birth rates were a good thing? Remember the OVERPOPULATIONZ!! panic of the 60s-70s? I for one believe humanity can’t grow forever without eventually running into some overcrowding problems. And our space technology isn’t keeping up with our human growth, or else we’d be assured that spaceship colonies or a one-way ticket to a community on Mars or Europa was the solution to staving off a famine or oxygen-shortage pandemic.

      Anytime a population growth rate gets stabilized, you’re gonna have to deal with a massive imbalance in the old-indigents/young-and-able bodies ratio. We’re gonna have to either deal with it using the resources we have now, or hope and pray technology continues to solve the mobility/viability problem of the elderly.

      1. Thank you for pointing this out. The current population of the earth is 7.046 BILLION as of 2012, with China and India both having populations exceeding one billion people. Mankind is in no danger of dying out due to underpopulation or sterility. We are stinking up our own planet and imposing intolerable strain on millions of people who go hungry day after day. I am aware of the fact that hunger is largely due to politics — with food not reaching those who need it due to rampant greed, corruption, and disruption of Third World governments. Nevertheless, we should bear in mind the fact that a lack of procreation is the least of our worries!


  46. The bottom line is that marriage is an evolving institution. As late as the 1970s, married women lost their legal identities through a legal precept known as coverture. Under this legal doctrine, the woman’s legal identity was subsumed under that of her husband. For legal purposes, she ceased to exist, and could not even enter into some contracts without the express permission of her husband.

    Prior to no fault divorce laws (which now exist in all 50 states), any married person seeking a divorce had to enter into an adversarial relationship with his or her spouse in a court of law, citing justifications such as irreconcilable differences, adultery, desertion, etc. This is no longer the case — and although many conservatives decry this development as destructive of marriage, I have yet to hear them bray about this issue to the same extent and at the same volume as they bray about gay marriage (and about homosexuality more generally).


  47. Quite simply, some persons are homosexual — i.e., they form romantic, sexual, and emotional attachments to members of the same sex. Prior to the 1970s, gay persons were criminalized in every state in the nation (consensual “sodomy” was a felony in states such as Georgia). During the 1970s, some states repealed their “sodomy” statutes. The US Supreme Court enshrined contempt for gay men and lesbians into constitutional law in Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186 (1986). Fortunately, a wise and more enlightened court explicitly overruled itself with respect to this issue, handing down Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003) (striking down all state “sodomy” statutes as applied to gay sex in private settings between consenting adults). The same Court struck down Colorado’s notorious state constitutional amendment known as “Amendment 2,” which permitted both private and public sector discrimination against homosexuals and robbed them of the right to petition their government, at all levels, for redress of grievances. Now, the Court has mandated that the US government grant to married gay couples all of the privileges, benefits, and protections granted to married heterosexual couples as a matter of course (United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 12 (2013). The logic of this decision has compelled 20 US District Courts to reach the same conclusion ? which is that gay marriage is mandated by the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.


  48. the authority of the dead over the rights and freedom of the living

    Sorry but Pain was full of shit on that:…..al_project

  49. I cite from Lawrence, supra: “Had those who drew and ratified the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth Amendment or the Fourteenth Amendment known the components of liberty in its manifold possibilities, they might have been more specific. They did not presume to have this insight. They knew times can blind us to certain truths and later generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper in fact serve only to oppress. As the Constitution endures, persons in every generation can invoke its principles in their own search for greater freedom.”


    1. Does this mean you’re done now?

      1. No — I will be done when a lively debate pertaining to the issue of gay marriage has concluded with this status having become available in all 50 states.


        1. Do you intend to further your cause by spamming a website that just penned an article in support of gay marriage, and making everyone who reads it hate you for hijacking it and turning it into your personal soapbox?

          1. I was wrong. In fact, I wrote the article which I cut and pasted onto this thread this afternoon using MS Word. I see now that I allowed my ego to get in the way, and I cut and pasted far too much information onto this thread. I doubt that you will be able to forgive me, but I nevertheless apologize to you for the mess I made of trying to state my position.

            I was very much in the wrong, and I apologize to all of you. I hope that some of you will accept my apology, and that we can move on from there to a productive discussion of the issues at stake.

            With sincere regret…


  50. Personally I find it pretty hilarious that a federal judge struck down part of the Utah’s anti-polygamy law using the 14th Amendment.

  51. Why are some people so hung up about “promoting the family unit” to such an extent that they blame gay marriage for not doing so? Just how are gay persons supposed to live their lives? Should we all be celibate, or should we form couples with no legal protections such as those which married heterosexual couples enjoy? Have you stopped to consider what we feel when we are treated with such contempt by people who are supposed to be educated and sophisticated? Please tell me — what status do you wish for me and for other gay men and lesbians? How should the law treat us?

    Please be honest and give us your true opinion.


    1. “Please tell me — what status do you wish for me and for other gay men and lesbians? “

      First = Stop spamming the list

      Second = when people honestly want to ask a question, they don’t ask 12 in a row each of which presumes the answer to the former one.

      You showed up here engaging in every act of bombastic, disrespectful, monomaniacal, demagogic behavior you possibly could…

      …then pretend you’re interested in ‘conversation’?

      Go fuck yourself.

      1. Wow! Really nice of you to give me such advice! In fact, I am responding to people who are anything but pro-gay marriage, and I try to make my responses meaningful and thorough. The present legal landscape is the result of three separate SCOTUS decisions, and it is meaningless to write about any one of them without reference to the other two.

        I am indeed interested in conversation, but I like to start that conversation from a point of reference which is visible to everybody who engages me in that conversation.

        Have a nice day!


        1. I’ll discourse with you the same way I like to discourse with Tony.

          SHUT THE FUCK UP.

          1. More obscenities instead of reasoned debate and analysis. No, RussianPrimeMinister, I will not “shut the fuck up” for your sake, or for the sake of any person on this thread. You don’t get to control what people write and why they write it, much as you apparently wish to do so.

            Have a nice day!


            1. Good thing I didn’t try to control you, then. I’m pretty sure I was just exercising my first amendment right to tell you to SHUT THE FUCK UP.

              Now, as for a reasoned debate. . .SHUT THE FUCK UP.

        2. “philipcfromnyc|9.1.14 @ 3:07PM|#

          Wow! Really nice of you to give me such advice”

          It was before you completely blew your credibility as anything but a ranting demagogue.

          now its just a kindly request that you piss off somewhere else.

          1. Sorry GLMORE but I don’t take orders from you. Nevertheless, I was wrong. For the record — whether you believe me or not — I wrote the article which I broke up into fragments so as to post it online on this thread using MS Word and my knowledge of the state of the law at the present time. I wrote this article this afternoon. I did not cut and paste this information from any other source — I have paid unusually close attention to the issue under discussion (gay marriage).

            Looking back at what I posted, I see now that it was indeed excessive and over the top.

            I was wrong. I should never have posted such lengthy materials on a thread devoted to discussion of this issue. I let my ego get in the way, and I spent too much time cutting and pasting my article onto this thread.

            I apologize. I know that several people on this thread will not accept my apology, but I offer it nonetheless, because I was in the wrong.

            I hope that you can forgive me, and that we can have a genuine debate relative to this issue.

            Sincerely, and with regret…


      2. Way to dodge the question, Happy.

    2. I have no issue with SSM if it’s approved through the democratic process. My rub is I don’t like judges writing law. I understand you’re not going to like this–but not only can a gay man not marry his boyfriend–neither can I–I also can’t marry my father, mother, siblings or 1st cousins, or a 10 year old either. I’m assuming you’re good with the idea that society has the right to define which unions will not be legally recognized–whatever those reasons may be, tradition being one of them. Far more men are naturally predisposed to promiscuity–yet society has deemed you can have but 1 legally recognized wife. Are men treated unequally because their sexual proclivities aren’t codified into law? You disagree with the law. God Bless You, change it–but you’re NOT treated unequally by it & no judge should be saying you are.

  52. It’s not about “marriage equality”; it’s about control.

    Comparison has been made between the “Gay Rights Movement” and the “Civil Rights Movement” of the 1960s. So, how did things work out for the beneficiaries of the Civil Rights movement once the State involved itself? “Political Ghettoisation” is a phrase that comes to mind. Also, “Increasing Irrelevancy”.

    Same-sex couples will find that they have agreed to pay a dear price for seeking state sanction.

    1. I should also add that the State hates same-sex couples far worse than the Westboro Baptist Church members ever did.

    2. I disagree with you. A marriage license is a marriage license, and gay couples have already married in the tens of thousands, if not in the hundreds of thousands, since 19 states legalized gay marriage and in the wake of United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 12 (2013). The importance of Windsor cannot be overstated — this decision caused several gay couples with whom I am friends to tie the knot, because they realized that the US government would now recognize their marriages as genuine. Furthermore, other states will legalize gay marriage regardless of how SCOTUS rules once a gay marriage case arrives via a petition for certiorari. It is only a matter of time before gay marriages are recognized as genuine marriages and are accepted by the majority of the population (acceptance by the majority has already been reached, with 59% of the American people believing that gay couples should be able to marry (see the Washington Post / ABC News poll for more on this)).

      We will prevail, even if it takes us a few years (assuming that SCOTUS refuses to side with us on this issue, which is an assumption fraught with potential error of great magnitude given the lineup of the Court in Windsor).


      1. Then why a judge to change the law? Just change it the old fashioned way–through the democratic process. I’m always a little leery of these “polls” that “prove” queer marriage is in the majority.

    3. Yeah that civil rights movement, what a bust right?


    4. Indiana equally bans black and white, Mormon and Protestant, homosexual and heterosexual from entering into a same-sex marriage.

    5. “It’s not about “marriage equality”; it’s about control.”

      Do you have a marriage license?

  53. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go? to tech tab for work detail


  54. The primary sources from about 1,200 years ago in the online medieval document sourcebook at Fordham University challenge the overstatement that Christian celebration of same-sex covenant relationships is “changing tradition anytime we want.” In fact, it is American conservative Christians’ homophobia that is a recent innovention. Only ignorance of the global historical tradition of 2000 years of world Christianity makes common claims that “gay marriage violates Christian tradition” seem reasonable (as implied by the name of this host website) — but they aren’t. “Tradition” in Christianity includes eastern as well as western sources, certainly exceeds the confines of U.S. Protestantism, and predates the birth of Christian fundamentalism in 1902. The biblical literalism claimed by such people as “traditional” has been decried as a stumbling block to true Christian faith for most of church history, by no less than Augustine, Ambrose, and even Luther. Same-sex partnerships were blessed in the church and same-sex couples even canonized as saints, as many historians including of course Yale’s John Boswell have amply demonstrated with primary sources, including those cited in the online sourcebook I’ve posted here.

    1. This is not meant to disagree with the author but to supplement / expand upon the article. My apologies for any confusion.

  55. In order the understand the nature of a civil right, one must look into the nation’s history and tradition for a careful description of that right. Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702 at 703 (1997).

    What was the careful description of that right?

  56. Sebastian . I just agree… Helen `s artlclee is astonishing, I just bought Chevrolet when I got my cheque for $6747 this-last/month and would you believe, ten k last-month . without a doubt it is the nicest work Ive had . I actually started 8-months ago and straight away made myself over $78, p/h .
    100% free registration——-

  57. If I had $1 for every “small-l libertarian” who decries marriage licenses as an evil socialist money-grab by gays, who then admits to having a marriage license, I’d be able to afford about two billion cans of “shut the fuck up.” And I’d be able to purchase another three billion by collecting a buck every time I point out that their heroes, from St. Ron Paul onwards, have marriage licenses as well.

    Are they all commies? Of course not.

    Trouble is, thirty years of sucking the cock of GOP power has made a large proportion of “small-l libertarians” into contradictory jackasses who are incapable of defending actual liberties that go against what Their Party tells them Should Be So.

    As a result, a large plurality of Americans who should be friendly to libertarianism, such as recent immigrants, black people, gay people, etc. have been put off from the brand.

    Yet all the assertive, spirited and forceful cock-sucking of the “libertarian right” still hasn’t convinced the GOP to even give them the time of day. You’d think they’d stop while they’re behind.

  58. I almost feel for these state attorneys defending these bans. They’re not getting paid nearly enough to endure this public embarrassment.

  59. There’s a difference between judges writing laws & The People writing law-tradition or however we decide in a democracy to order our society should be good enough for that judge.
    We have an obligation to treat people equally-but not on the basis of your sexuality. Men are prone to promiscuity-yet we have laws against polygamy-no one is screaming Discrimination!. We’ve determined our model the best arrangement for society. We don’t have “heterosexual marriage”, we have traditional marriage, sexuality isn’t mentioned. A gay man can’t marry his boyfriend? Neither can I. Disagreement with the law isn’t inequality before the law. The example of interracial marriage is a better study for why the government skruwed up by making such laws-only in that case it was skin color. The government got RID of color distinctions-now we are wanting to ADD new distinctions.
    For biological/maturity reasons, we make concessions to men/woman/minors in the law–it doesn’t do it for sexuality nor should it.
    If we vote to allow SSM-then so be it.
    The law made a mistake when it said blacks were 3/5s human-gays aren’t 7/5s human.
    Let me ask, adult/minor marriage is already allowed with parental consent in all 50 states–are you telling me that because “gender distinctions shouldn’t matter” that when a 50 yr old NAMBLA nut swans into the county JP with his 16 yr old “boyfriend” that his NAMBLA nut friend signed off on-you’re good with that?.. Really?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.