Enshrining Bigotry into the Constitution

Our nation is at war. Terrorists have been captured on our northern border. Our health care system is in crisis. Our schools are failing. The national debt and deficit are skyrocketing. The earth is warming, putting millions of lives at risk. Hundreds of thousands of New Orleans residents have yet to return home, and the city is still a disaster zone.

With so much at stake, the Republican leadership in the US Senate is leaping into action. They're going to... wait for it... ban gay people from getting married.

And they want to put their bigotry into the US Constitution.

Despite his much-hyped "moderation" on gay rights issues, Senator Gordon Smith has already stated his support for this silly "Marriage Protection Amendment". But call him and tell him what you think anyway. He needs to hear from Oregonians.

Senator Gordon Smith
Toll-Free (DC Switchboard): 1.888.355.3588
Direct: 202.224.3753 - direct

As the Boston Globe put it:

America has much more to fear than gay marriage. ... In Massachusetts, married gay couples are not masterminding terrorist bombings. They are not refining weapons-grade uranium nor are they running up federal budget deficits. Married gay couples are not monitoring their fellow Americans' phone calls and e-mails. They haven't cut Medicaid. And they didn't put that doughnut hole in the middle of Medicare's new prescription drug program.

Discuss.

Comments

  • Bryan Boyd, BRO (unverified)
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    We've got talking points if people call Smith on the Basic Rights Oregon blog. View them here--and call call call!

    Bryan Boyd

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    It seems ridiculous to me, as I sit and watch the news, that the fact that this bill is discrimanatory never gets mentioned. I'm even more disappointed that not one member of congress can muster up the courage to say that same-sex marriage is A-OK, at least publicly. I wish that these blowhards would study a little history and see that this has all happened before, in different contexts. And the bigots never succeed in the end. That is why the African American woman who was champion of Yes on 36 campaign in 2004 was allowed to marry a white man.

  • (Show?)

    Well, don't forget Barney Frank, Karol.

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    Barney Frank opposes gay marraige and has said so before. He feels it's too soon and thwarts any equality efforts that our GLBT friends have made.

  • Keith (unverified)
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    The Senator Russ Feingold supports legalizing marriage. Finally a prospective Democratic Presidential Candidate who supports equality.

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    Some of the readers over at AmericaBlog are participating in calls to Senate offices asking them if they are in favor of traditional marriage. The callers then go on to ask if the Senator masturbates, practice sodomy, or have ever committed adultery or had premarital sex.

    While the issue is serious, the calls are funny. One has been recorded. There are numerous entries, and more call responses in the comments. Just scroll down.

    At least our side keeps its sense of humor.

    Harry Reid made a great speech about the issue. Raw Story has the transcript.

    Now, go call Smith....

  • Bill (unverified)
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    Thanks for posting this!

    A staffer in Gordon Smith's office, Chris Maier, once arranged for a formal letter from Smith welcoming our oldest son into the country (he was born in Cambodia). My partner and I, together 17 years, married in Canada in 2003, and host family to a 16 year old from Germany who attended Jefferson High school last year - well, we're sending that letter back.

    We don't want anything to do with a guy who believes that our family is worth less legally than his own; someone willing to selectively erase a basic civil protection for gays and and lesbians by actually amending our country's (not to mention our state's) founding document.

    And to do so for religious reasons - to literally enshrine his personal, evidence-free, faith-based prejudices into our Constitution, obliterating basic civil rights guaranteed all Americans in an effort to dehumanize my family, and other gay and lesbian families alone.

    That letter (from our rightwing, gay-bashing, Republican US Senator Gordon Smith) is in the mail.

  • Keith (unverified)
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    Ah, Harry Reid. Good speech here, but he did support the constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage in Nevada.

  • Sponge (unverified)
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    The overarching fears of same-sex marriage coming from the right are often matched stride by stride from the left with hyperbolic cries of bigotry, discrimination, intolerance and denial of basic human rights. These kinds of morality plays stir the passions on both sides and make for good political theater, regardless of whether they make good public policy. To chastise the pot-stirers for playing this card to nowhere, over the more pressing crises of nation-building, does nothing more than contribute to the din of personal outrage at the expense of legitimate debate on the things that matter.

  • Bill (unverified)
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    Hi Sponge -

    I suspect you'd feel differently if your family were directly targeted for the elimination of a basic civil protection by religious fundamentalists, and if the attack was already successful in your home state (a la Measure 36).

    And no less an authority than the US Supreme Court ruled (in 1967) that marriage is a "basic civil right" (like voting, assembly and speech), when striking down similar, religiously inspired anti-miscegenation laws and amendments (laws prohibiting interracial marriage).

    There is passion here - because this affects my family.
    And my family is not worth one right less than yours (or Smiths).

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    How is discrimination and intolerance on this amendment a hyperbolic expression, exactly?

    Re: Frank--point taken, although I think what you're saying is that he's against seeking it now...not that he's against same sex marriage.

  • Eric (unverified)
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    The only reason this is happenening is because the people sponsoring the ban are bored with their lives and needed something to do. Their 'reasons' for doing this are just lame excuses. They don't have anything else better to do than to hate others out of pure boredom.

  • Ben Dover (unverified)
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    [idiotic, ad hominem attacks deleted. -editor.]

  • Santorum (unverified)
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    [idiotic, ad hominem attacks deleted. -editor.]

  • Eric (unverified)
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    [idiotic, ad hominem attacks deleted. -editor.]

  • Ben Dover (unverified)
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    [idiotic, ad hominem attacks deleted. -editor.]

  • Santorum (unverified)
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    [idiotic, ad hominem attacks deleted. -editor.]

  • Bill (unverified)
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    But happily, Ben is welcome (Constitutionally) to express himself.

    [But not ad hominem and personal attacks here at BlueOregon. His constitutional rights of expression extend to his own blog, not this one. -editor.]

    And no one is preventing him from voting, assembling, marrying, etc. Though his dog, alas, ain't human, and Constitutional rights cover humans (but all humans - even the gay and lesbian humans).

  • Ben Dover (unverified)
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    [idiotic, ad hominem attacks deleted. -editor.]

  • Travis (unverified)
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    Don't forget, amongst all the problems we face we also have flag burning and the estate tax coming up for debate in the next two weeks in the senate. When each child is born in this country they inherit $30K in national debt so why is it unfair to tax the 1% of people that die with more than a milion dollars? Come on U.S. Senate, lets fix some problems and stop playing election year politics!

    -Travis VP UO College Dems

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    So, why does marriage have anything to do with civil law anyway? Until quite recently, marriage was a contract involving the transfer of property specifically a woman and assets provided by her family.

    What an istitution. Let's defend the rights of serial monogamists to continue their multiple marriages since the fact that 50% of 'em end in divorce and....That's the way GOD wants it. I mean it's right there in the .......er......in the.....er....nevermind.

    <hr/>

    Here's a clue, leave the social customs to the purveyors of the various mythologies and let them have whatever rules they want. Those who know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the world rests on the back of a turtle should have the right to ceremonies and practices promoting that fundamental truthiness.

    It's called faith.

    The state can deal with civil contracts for metrosexuals, homosexuals, heterosexuals, bisexuals, poligamists, serial monogamists,and of course we don't want to exclude dogosexuals, like Mr. Dover.

  • Sponge (unverified)
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    Hi, Bill-

    Your claim to having a basic civil protection "eliminated" is a stretch. Homosexual marriage has never been recognized as a constitutionally protected "right," therefor it is dishonest to characterize it as being eliminated. (That is part of the hypebole I had in mind, torridjoe.) The concept of homosexual marriage as a protected "civil right" on the same par as heterosexual marriage is a fairly recent claim to the pantheon of recently discovered oppressions. That the definition of marriage should even be considered as appropriate for inclusion in the U.S. Constitution is a travesty. We are all losers in this debate before it ever starts.

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    To chastise the pot-stirers for playing this card to nowhere, over the more pressing crises of nation-building, does nothing more than contribute to the din of personal outrage at the expense of legitimate debate on the things that matter.

    ... things that ... "matter" ... ?

    Easy words, for someone who doesn't have to fear being locked out of the hospital room if the person he loves - his "spouse" - is hurt. Easy words, for someone who cannot be forced to testify in court against his "spouse". Easy words, for someone who gets "family medical leave" if his spouse has a child. Easy words, for someone who won't be cut off and left to starve by Social Security if his elderly spouse dies first.

    I could go on (and on), but I don't have the time to review here the hundreds of special rights, benefits, and privileges extended under Oregon law exclusively to those called "spouse". All of which says nothing about the special rights extended under Federal law solely to heterosexuals (e.g., the U.S. Military path out of poverty which is barred to poor gay teens, many of whom end up living on the street instead when they're cast out by their families, as many of us are; or, continuing spousal Social Security benefits beyond death). Anyone interested in researching the facts behind what I'm saying should visit: http://www.hrc.org

    I completely agree with you that our lives as GLBT Americans do not "matter" any more than yours - nor more than the many pressing issues facing our nation - but neither do our lives matter any less. We are not treated fairly in this Nation, even though we're born here, live here, love here, vote here, serve (oppressed) lives in the military here, pay taxes here, and die here. Until we are treated fairly, I promise a continuing "din of personal outrage", coupled with voter organization, consumer boycotts, demonstrations, public and underground media campaigns, and whatever non-violent social change activity it takes.

    I am not a single-issue voter, by any means, but that doesn't mean I will let "my issue" be ignored, trivialized, or shoved aside. We are 10% of the voting population. We have friends. The tide of America's pop and youth culture is on our side. The days when political points can be scored through fag-bashing are ending. Politicians who care whether they have a job in ten years should pay attention.

  • Former Salem Staffer (unverified)
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    I can't recall any time where the Constitution has been amended to deny basic rights to anyone. The president is pandering to the religious right, knowing that they comprise the twenty-something percent of the populous who don't think he's the worst president ever. Talk about misplaced priorities-the American middle class is being driven deeper in to poverty every day, oil companies are making record profits (yet still receiving government subsidies), the federal deficit is growing by the second, American citizens are being spied on by their government...yet those assclowns in D.C. are worried about flag burning and gay marriage? Give me a break. I think it's time for a complete House cleaning in November. Enough is enough.

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    Your claim to having a basic civil protection "eliminated" is a stretch. Homosexual marriage has never been recognized as a constitutionally protected "right," therefor it is dishonest to characterize it as being eliminated.

    Yeah, only then why do we need a constitutional amendment to prohibit it? The only reason to amend the constitution is to change it. By definition, anyone that votes YES on this amendment is stipulating that the Constitution already includes a 14th Amendment (or other) right to gay marriage.

  • Sponge (unverified)
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    Leo, I'm sorry you interpreted my referrence to "things that matter" as an inferrence that your stake in this issue does not matter. I was less than clear on that point, but my comment was meant to refference the opening lines of this open discussion which juxtaposed the silliness of the senate making this issue its focus in the face of other pressing issues such as war, terrorism, the health care crisis, failing schools, the national deficit, global warming and the New Orleans crisis. I apologize for that inadvertant lack of clarity.

  • Sponge (unverified)
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    The 14th amendment does not guarantee homosexual marriage anymore than it guarantees abortion. As I understand the legal issue, because of the federal government's overriding interest in all state rights as interpreted through the commerce clause, a marriage authorized in one state must, theoretically, be recognized by other states whether they choose to or not. The idea of this amendment was to protect the unenlightened states from accepting marriage contracts from the enlightened ones. Marriage is not a federal institution, but a legal contrivance of the states. It is ironic that the feds would choose this vehicle to grandstand on the high ground of state rights when they have no problem trampling state rights elsewhere.

  • (Show?)

    Sponge, thank you for your clarification.

    As a silver lining, your comment provided opportunity to state points I believe must be heard. While I agree that Smith and Bush's abusive use of the FMA to distract the public - and pander to the most venal of their base - trivializes the very serious issues facing our nation, the subject they are promoting - glaringly unfair treatment for 10% of our families, friends, and neighbors - is anything but trivial.

    Again, thank you for the clarification.

  • Jesse O (unverified)
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    By definition, anyone that votes YES on this amendment is stipulating that the Constitution already includes a 14th Amendment (or other) right to gay marriage.

    Or, to be more precise, they're stipulating that some courts might interpret the 14th Amendment as including such a right.

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    ... a marriage authorized in one state must, theoretically, be recognized by other states whether they choose to or not ...

    This is not theoretical. It's Federal law: Loving v. Virginia

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loving_v._Virginia http://hnn.us/articles/4708.html

  • Ben Dover (unverified)
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    So, why don't states simply allow gays to join in "civil unions", with all the rights and responsibilities of marriage? I think too many people are hung up on the word "marriage".

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    Because despite explicit comments to the contrary during the 2004 campaign, the sponsors of Constitutional Amendment 36 (gay marriage ban) lobbied AGAINST SB 1000 -- the civil union bill -- and killed it in the House. Despite having enough votes on the floor foor passage, Minnis never let SB 1000 come up for a vote.

  • Bill (unverified)
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    Sponge -

    I'm not talking about "homosexual marriage" - I'm talking about marriage. I'm married. My partner and I, together 17 years, got married - legally - in Canada, a country where the basic civil right of marriage extends to everyone, gay and straight. We're married, with kids (5 and 7). We fell in love, cohabited for 14 years, had kids, and then got married.

    Marriage is marriage - a civil contract between two adults who (hopefully) love each other. And it is a basic, constitutionally protected right, as the Supreme Court declared in 1967, when it struck down many laws and amendments - religiously inspired, as usual - that considered "interacial marriage" a similar abomination. It was apparently a stretch for some people then, too.

    I think the solution is to give Mormons, Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc. "religious marriage." The government should not be in the business of "religious marriage" - but as I've mentioned, I don't think it is. Marriage is a basic Constitutional right, due every American citizen. If a church wants to discriminate, fine. But the state (and a US Senator) certainly should not.

    It all comes down to dehumanizing your neighbor - my marriage is a "homosexual marriage," something less than "marriage." But it's not true. I'm real, breathing, alive, American - and my family is, too. Reality is tough for religion - but the founding fathers (& mothers) were pretty sharp. They had it right the first time with equality for all.

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    Bill: Reality is tough for religion - but the founding fathers (& mothers) were pretty sharp. They had it right the first time with equality for all.

    I'm not so sure I'd hang my hat on the original intent of the Founding Fathers - they who enshrined Slavery into the Constitution.

    While the idealistic part of me agrees with you, Bill, the practical side does not. A "civil union" is a marriage in everything but name. Let this nation live a hundred years with unremarkable "civil unions", a law we can pass next session, and our great-grandchildren won't hesitate to dissolve the difference.

    Bigots know this. That's why they're so opposed to civil unions now, after they pretended they weren't. The real question is: will you loose the only practical path to moving forward on this issue because you can't get everything all at once?

    Sometimes you've got to learn to take "YES" for an answer.

  • Keith (unverified)
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    Steve, if civil unions had been proposed to interracial couples as a solution -- it never was -- would you be as supportive? Sometimes, you have to stand your ground and demand what is right, not what is expedient.

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    Pat Ryan's comment deserves a serious reading. Thanks to the editor for doing his/her job in the comment section. I hope Gordon Smith hears from many many Oregonians who do not want the constitutional amendement banning gay marriage. What ever happened to live and let live?

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    Loaded Orygun has a good post on Ann Coulter -- who earlier today justified Bush's push for a federal marriage amendment by claiming that Measure 36 opponents outspent the other side by 40 to 1. For those keeping score, that would mean opponents had $84 million for the campaign. Oh yeah, she also slammed 911 widows, saying that they seem to be enjoying their media spotlight and millions. Whadda great person!

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    In the 50's, it's the whole enchilada all the way.

    In the Jim Crow South around the turn of the century, I would have settled merely for a Federally Enforced Law against random lynching. (And be amazed if I could get even that through the racist Congress of the day.)

    Let me reaquaint you with two maxims:

    <h1>1 The perfect is the enemy of the good</h1> <h1>2 Politics is the art of the possible</h1>

    This isn't a game. There are real couples out there with real problems of inheritence, powers of attorney, and visitation rights, that can't wait for voters to agree with us one hundred percent. With the change of a name, marriage is being effectively offered to tens of thousands of Oregonians. Don't deny them that opportunity just for the seductive pleasures of noble victimhood and smug moral superiority.

    Once upon a time, the marriage I have with my wife would have been illegal. If I lived then, I would have leaped at the chance to become "civilally unionized" instead. Call a marriage by any other name, and it is just as sweet.

  • sasha (unverified)
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    How does this discriminate?

    Gay people certainly can get married. They have the same privilege anybody else has. They can legally marry a person of the opposite sex. Same rule applies to everybody - no discrimination at all.

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    As a layperson who likes reading caselaw (shoot me), it seems to me that the best legal shot specifically in Oregon is to argue that sexual orientation is a discrete, recognized status distinction--and thus to deny the raft of benefits financial and social that come with marriage on the basis of membership in this discrete class violates state equal protection law.

    Civil unions have to be the natural step in the exercise of rights based on that argument, in my opinion. You have to test it with de facto marriage, before you test it with a single license. Not on an administrative basis, but a legal one.

    Steven, in otherwise excellent comments, said: "Let this nation live a hundred years with unremarkable "civil unions", a law we can pass next session, and our great-grandchildren won't hesitate to dissolve the difference."

    Call me a foolish optimist, but I don't think the demographic numbers on the subject lie: I not only hope, I expect my own kids (my oldest is 10) to be the agents that change things completely. Ask people under 30 and a majority favor same-sex marriage, much less civil unions. They just don't care.

    Easy for me to say as a hetero, but through all this BS I still see it just over the horizon.

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    Sorry to bogart the mike, but seeing this argument over and over totally frosts me:

    "Gay people certainly can get married. They have the same privilege anybody else has. They can legally marry a person of the opposite sex. Same rule applies to everybody - no discrimination at all."

    Congratulations. This is exactly the same rationale used by the Commonwealth of Virginia to argue that banning interracial marriage was not discriminatory--because whites couldn't marry blacks either, and thus there was no inequity.

    The Supremes were not impressed. How comfortable are you making this shiftless argument in good conscience, really?

  • Wesley Charles (unverified)
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    The debate on same-sex marriage is all about this question: “What role, if any, does the government have in regulating who may marry whom?”

    This thread has correctly pointed out American marriage laws have changed over time through both legislative and judicial actions. But the fact remains, the State still determines who may marry and therefore automatically discriminates against those who may not marry.

    Even before Measure 36, Oregon marriage laws (ORS chapter 106) were and continue to be discriminatory. Oregon discriminates against persons under 17 years of age. In Oregon, a 15-year old girl may get an abortion without her parents’ knowledge or consent, but may not marry. That is discriminatory.

    Oregon discriminates against “first cousins or any nearer of kin to each other,” who are prohibited from marrying, regardless of age, sex or sexual orientation. And worse still, Oregon discriminates against those who think marriage is such a great idea, they want to have more than one wife or husband at the same time. Not only are those marriages absolutely void “if solemnized in this state,” but a person who marries another person while still married commits a class C felony in Orygun. Discriminatory? Absolutely.

    Incest. Bigamy. Polygamy. All outlawed by discriminatory Oregon laws. Proponents of same-sex marriage will understandably object to being lumped together with those banned practices. But in the end, this is a discussion about who may marry whom. And unless the answer is, “Anybody, Anytime,” there will be some persons left standing outside the altar.

    • Wes
  • Bill (unverified)
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    From Steve (above): While the idealistic part of me agrees with you, Bill, the practical side does not. A "civil union" is a marriage in everything but name.

    I agree completely. I don't care, ultimately, what the state calls it - but any contract they offer must be offered to everyone. It's a basic right (said the Supremes, emphatically, in 1967). There can be no tiered system - marriage for straights, civil unions for gays and lesbians. Equal protection means equal protection - "separate but equal" is not OK.

    And on one level, what the faith-based have done is make "marriage" impossible for the state to offer equally - because "marriage" is reserved for straight couples (at least in Oregon. It's become "religious marriage," and the state should get out of that business completely.

    So I agree - civil unions for all!

    And you're right - it may ultimately kill "religious marriage." I know a lot of people - especially young folks - who'd prefer their wedding with a secular judge who does not discriminate instead of your average, unmarried, sexually isolated, lawsuit-saddled priest who (pathetically) does.

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    Gay people certainly can get married. They have the same privilege anybody else has. They can legally marry a person of the opposite sex. Same rule applies to everybody - no discrimination at all.

    Ah, the favorite right-wing anti-gay marriage canard makes its twisted appearance.

    So the anti-miscegenation laws weren't discriminatory since anyone could legally marry a person of the same race? Same rule applies to everybody, no discrimination at all?

    Not discriminating in marriage doesn't mean letting people marry someone you think is appropriate, it means letting people marry the person they choose.

    Somehow I think sasha would feel mightily discriminated against if the rules were the other way around and everyone was only allowed to marry someone of the same sex.

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    Personally, I think government should get out of the "marriage" business.

    It needs to have civil unions, legal union, or some other word/phrase that describes the legal union between two consenting adults (regardless of their sex, race, etc.). This union would have all the rights that currently go with "marriage," but would not be referred to in legal terms as a marriage. Separate but equal is never equal.

    I get really sick and tired of people and their anti-same sex marriage rhetoric. It's the same crap that we heard a few decades ago about interracial marriage. Had my husband and I been born a few decades earlier, we would not have been able to marry. And the reasons given are the same that are given today. It's absolutey ridiculous and is nothing but hatred and bigotry, period.

    Remove the word "marriage" from the debate, and people will have to show their true colors.

  • Dean (unverified)
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    For me, the question of gay marriage comes down to this: if marriage is a good thing, and I think it is, why not offer its benefits and responsibilities to more people (adult human beings, of course)? This is actually a conservative position in one sense, i.e. marriage helps to stabilize society and social stability is a conservative value. Relationships and families benefit from recognition by society and social support, and we all benefit from that in turn. That's all rational stuff. On an emotional level, I want the loving relationships of my partnered gay friends to be fully received and blessed by all, if they choose to marry - because marriage is difficult in addition to being wonderful, and it sure helps in the difficult times to know that you are married and plan to spend the rest of your life with your partner, as married people wish to do and are expected to (at least try to) do, with a little luck and lots of support and tribal wisdom regarding the state we call "married". Also, it just feels so affirming to have one's relationship recognized and blessed, and I want people to have that.

  • Eric (unverified)
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    Why does it matter what these 'gay' people do? We should just leave them alone. Why does it matter who they want to love and what they want to commit to? Why do some people feel the need to control these people? Is it really necessary to beat these people over the head with this garbage? It is the outcome of hate or boredom? I say lets just mind our own business - not theirs - and just let them be. We have better things to do than bother other humans beings in such petty matters.

  • mconley (unverified)
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    To me, the underlying issue is why is marriage the basis for many of society's benefits? Why the discrimination against single people, who pay the most tax and get the least benefits?

    For example, I can't get on my sister's health insurance plan (and we're definitely relatives) because that familial connection is not recognized as important - even though if I became seriously ill, she would sacrifice everything to pay for my expenses. Heck, we couldn't even qualify as a "family" for a cheap swimming pool membership because we don't fit the perceived definition of family. And there ain't nobody more family than me and my sister.

    We have a 50% divorce rate in this country. If marriage were a stock, nobody would buy it. Why do we worship it so and make such a chancy institution the basis for rights?

  • Ben Dover (unverified)
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    I think we should amend the Constitution to outlaw fat people.

  • Bryan Boyd, BRO (unverified)
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    It has been defeated today. Just as expected Smith voted for it, Wyden against it.

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    See the roll call here

    My personal Hall of Fame (what is up with the NH votes?):

    Baucus (MT), Chafee (RI), Gregg (NH), Landrieu (LA), McCain (AZ), Prior (AR), Sununu (NH)

    And Hall of Shame (c'mon Byrd, you could vote against motherhood and you'd be in a safe seat):

    Byrd (WV), Lugar (IN), Nelson (NE), Smith (OR), Warner (VA)

  • Misha (unverified)
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    Torridjoe wrote: it seems to me that the best legal shot specifically in Oregon is to argue that sexual orientation is a discrete, recognized status distinction -- and thus to deny the raft of benefits financial and social that come with marriage on the basis of membership in this discrete class violates state equal protection law.

    From Romer v. Evans, U.S. Supreme Court, 517 U.S. 620 (1996):

    "Amendment 2 fails, indeed defies, even this conventional inquiry. First, the amendment has the peculiar property of imposing a broad and undifferentiated disability on a single named group, an exceptional and, as we shall explain, invalid form of legislation. ... [I]n making a general announcement that gays and lesbians shall not have any particular protections from the law, [Amendment 2] inflicts on them immediate, continuing, and real injuries that outrun and belie any legitimate justifications that may be claimed for it. ... We must conclude that Amendment 2 classifies homosexuals not to further a proper legislative end but to make them unequal to everyone else. This Colorado cannot do. A State cannot so deem a class of persons a stranger to its laws. Amendment 2 violates the Equal Protection Clause...."

    From Lawrence v. Texas, U.S. Supreme Court, 539 U.S. 558 (2003):

    "[Sodomy laws] seek to control a personal relationship that, whether or not entitled to formal recognition in the law, is within the liberty of persons to choose without being punished as criminals. The liberty protected by the Constitution allows homosexual persons the right to choose to enter upon relationships in the confines of their homes and their own private lives and still retain their dignity as free persons. ... The case does involve two adults who, with full and mutual consent from each other, engaged in sexual practices common to a homosexual lifestyle. The petitioners are entitled to respect for their private lives. The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime. ... As the Constitution endures, persons in every generation can invoke its principles in their own search for greater freedom.

    From Tanner v. OHSU, Oregon Court of Appeals, 157 Or. App. 502 (1998):

    "[T]here is no question but that plaintiffs are members of a true class. That class--unmarried homosexual couples--is not defined by any statute nor by the practices that are the subject of plaintiffs' challenges. Moreover, the class clearly is defined in terms of ad hominem, personal and social characteristics. The question then is whether plaintiffs are members of a suspect class. Here, too, we have no difficulty concluding that plaintiffs are members of a suspect class. Sexual orientation, like gender, race, alienage, and religious affiliation is widely regarded as defining a distinct, socially recognized group of citizens, and certainly it is beyond dispute that homosexuals in our society have been and continue to be the subject of adverse social and political stereotyping and prejudice."

  • Jon (unverified)
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    The best way to solve this is to just get the government out of it altogether. Not to recognize any of it. Then nobody can bitch.

    In the past, marriage only involved you, the one you love, and God.

    It got all messed up when Uncle Sam showed up at the wedding uninvited.

  • blizzak (unverified)
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    The Tanner decision is likely moot (as an avenue for legalizing/creating/whatever gay marriage) in light of Measure 36. A court challenge to hetero-only marriage laws based on the precedent of Tanner might have succeded. In hindsight, it seems like the Diane Linn/BRO end-around was not the best strategy.

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    it depends on what goal you're referring to, blizzak. I was speaking in the context of seeking civil unions by legal fiat. And there Tanner is right on point, defnining unmarried same-sex partners as a suspect class (thanks Misha for the reminder on the proper term). Once that is granted, denying same sex partners the equivalent access to the benefits and privileges thereof that flow from a civil marriage license becomes incompatible with Oregon law.

    Not that we should be literally glad about anything related to Measure 36, but it could have been much worse: in many states, the "incidents thereof" (ie, the benefits) were also banned in their own anti-gay referenda. Had that been the case here, the argument I make above would have become much more difficult to make.

  • blizzak (unverified)
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    In light of meausure 36 and the subsequent legal challenges, it is unclear if Tanner is still good law (it was only an appeals court decision).

    Misha did a good job of cherry-picking language but, according to SCOTUS, homosexuals are still not a suspect class.

    I'm just irritated with BRO/Diane Linn/the county lawyer for pursuing a politically unwise strategy for legalizing gay marriage when Oregon had the best precedent (Tanner) for pursuing a legal challenge to hetero-only marriage (a legal challenge would consist of asking for a marriage license and then suing when denied as opposed to orchestrating secret county commisioner meetings and relying on a legal opinion issued by someone w/o authority to do so).

  • Misha (unverified)
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    Blizzak:

    Tanner's status as "good law" is not in question. True, it is not binding on the Oregon Supreme Court, but it remains binding on all lower courts. Its applicability to the narrow question of marriage is, however, limited by Measure 36.

    To read about Tanner's applicability to the issue of civil unions, see Attorney General Hardy Myers's legal opinion on the issue. ("[T]he Oregon Supreme Court likely would conclude that withholding from same-sex couples the legal rights, benefits and obligations... that are automatically granted to married couples of the opposite sex likely violated Article I, section 20 of the Oregon Constitution....")

    Gays have not been recognized as a suspect class by the U.S. Supreme Court -- that is correct. But they have been recognized as a group of people entitled to heightened protection. The language cited above is not "cherry picked" -- the language in Romer, Lawrence, and Tanner I quoted is central to the Courts' holdings in those cases.

  • Dan J (unverified)
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    Pat Ryan does a very nice job of demonstrating why so many people (rightly or wrongly) feel that Liberals are trying to break down the Christian faith and social practices that surround the faith.

    The use of the word "mythology" for someone's belief doesn't help much. If you are going to take special aim at Christians, that is your right. Buy your comment about divoce rates of 50% "That's the way God wants it" speak an un-truth about what the Bible says about marriage:

    Read the words of Jesus in Matthew 19:9
    "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."

    Prior to these words, Christ says in Matthew 19:4-6,

    "...that at the beginning the Creator "made them male and female' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'.."

    Please notice, that the participants are of marriage are defined as man and woman. The speaker is our savior Jesus Christ. The speaker is not a Republican.

    Please also notice that divorce is very much frowned upon as something that is permissible for reasons of infidelity only.

    If you believe, like Pat has stated, that faith is mythology, then none of this matters and of course you disagree with what I've said down to the marrow in your bones.

    If you are a Liberal Christian, I'm very interested in your perspective of these passages.

    Kindly excuse the typos,

    Dan J

  • SMR (unverified)
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    The Tanner decision contains the bold assertion that

    "[The Court of Appeals] therefore understand[s] from the cases that the focus of suspect class definition is not necessarily the immutability of the common, class-defining characteristics, but instead the fact that such characteristics are historically regarded as defining distinct, socially-recognized groups that have been the subject of adverse social or political stereotyping or prejudice."

    So, what defines a "suspect class" in the eyes of the Oregon COA? Let's see:

    1) existence of common, class defining characteristics 2) historical association with distinct, socially-recognized groups 3) adverse social or political stereotyping or prejudice

    Under this definition, the following groups all fit within the "suspect class" tent:

    • Unmarried heterosexual "couples"
    • Feminists
    • Bigamists
    • Polygamists
    • Pederasts
    • Practicers of beastiality
    • Necrophiliacs
    • Prostitutes
    • "Obese" people
    • "Little" people
    • "Hillbillies"
    • Environmentalists
    • Vegetarians
    • Evangelical Christians
    • White separatists
    • Lawyers
    • Used car salesmen
    • Police officers
    • Truckers
    • Plumbers
    • Ex-convicts
    • Registered sex offenders

    Remember - when all classes are suspect, no class is suspect. And when the Oregon Supreme Court has occasion to address the "suspect class" reasoning in Tanner, the "suspect class" of "unmarried homosexual couples" will be a thing of the past. Rational basis review will prevail. Bet on it.

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    Dan J,

    Nowhere in my post did I mention christianity although I will happily confess that it goes right into the mix along with thousands of other religions as far as I'm concerned. Funny you should feel singled out. as to words and for the sake of precision:

    mythology n.

    a. A body or collection of myths belonging to a people and addressing their origin, history, deities, ancestors, and heroes.

    You'll note that history is right there in the overall definition. The trouble comes when you can't tell the difference between myths and history.

    Fundamentalist christians, of course allege the bible to be true and factual in every particular because the book itself says so.

    This won't work for me, since I assert that I am descended from the Overlords of the Alpha Centauri system, and it is true because I say so. Which leads us to:

    faith n.

    1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
    2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.

    Another one that doesn't work for me, 'cause I'm just jonsing for that logical proof and material evidence. If you ain't got that, you go right into the maybe or the unlikely column.

    <hr/>

    And finally:

    irony n.

    a. The use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning. b. An expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning. c. A literary style employing such contrasts for humorous or rhetorical effect.

    As in:

    What an institution. Let's defend the rights of serial monogamists to continue their multiple marriages since the fact that 50% of 'em end in divorce and....That's the way GOD wants it. I mean it's right there in the .......er......in the.....er....nevermind.

    <hr/>

    I've done a lot of posting where, like a lot of other progressives, I argue for ways to package facts in ways that they can be assimilated by people who place no value on reason or critical thought. Sometimes I just need a break, and so far, agnostics, atheists, humanists, and critical thinkers have not been banned from posting on Blue Oregon.

  • blizzak (unverified)
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    Hardy Myers is not a judge.

    Romer was a rational basis case.

    Lawrence was about privacy/the right to be left alone.

    Seeing what you want to see in legal precedent will only hurt the cause.

  • Misha (unverified)
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    SMR:

    You seem to believe that "immutability" is the hallmark of a suspect class.

    So I ask you: Should religious minorities be protected with heightened scrutiny? Religion is not immutable -- people convert to different religions all the time. Should marital status be protected with heightened scrutiny? Martial status is not immutable either.

    Interesting that mental disability (e.g., retardation) is immutable, but the mentally handicapped are not recognized as a suspect class. (Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center, 473 US 432 (1985))

    Technically, gender is not immutable either. And while we're on the subject, I think many gays and lesbians would tell you that their sexual orientation is not an immutable characteristic. But maybe you know more about being gay than they do?

  • Misha (unverified)
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    Err... I meant to say:

    "many gays and lesbians would tell you that their sexual orientation is an immutable characteristic."

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    SMR, you make some pretty grave errors in your attempt to operationalize Tanner's definition of suspect class. To reprint what you cited from Tanner:

    "not necessarily the immutability of the common, class-defining characteristics, but instead the fact that such characteristics are historically regarded as defining distinct, socially-recognized groups that have been the subject of adverse social or political stereotyping or prejudice." [emph mine]

    Clearly, the definition is 2 & 3, usually as the result of 1. This is necessary, because most class-defining characteristics are biological (and therefore essentially immutable) rather than sociocultural. To simply base it on #1, redheads or people with green eyes become a suspect class. What Tanner is pointing out, is that it's not just some ascribed characteristic that defines a suspect class, but also that there be a noted and meaningful social distinction based on it, particularly with regard to prejudicial or discriminatory treatment.

    Most of your list falls by the wayside with the proper treatment of the ruling.

  • SMR (unverified)
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    Misha,

    There is another inference to be drawn - that I seem to believe that most "suspect classes" are bunk, no matter how they are defined. And that would be the correct inference.

    I'll begrudgingly accept race, alienage, national origin and certain "fundamental" rights as worthy of strict scrutiny review. But no others.

    Gender is not afforded strict scrutiny review, since it's only a "quasi-suspect class" under SCOTUS jurisprudence.

    Religious minorities have the equivalent of strict scrutiny review under the Establishment Clause.

    If homosexuals deserve special protection as a "suspect class", there's no reason to deny it to any of the groups I listed above. That would be unequal.

  • SMR (unverified)
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    Re-read the passage, Mark, and you'll see where you're mistaken.

    Is national origin biological? Is alienage biological?

    Of the three recognized "suspect classes", only one (race) is arguably biological AND immutable. Gender (a "quasi suspect class") also is arguably biological, but as Misha has pointed out, is not immutable.

    The court clearly speaks to "class-defining characteristics", not class-defining characteristics that are immutable or grounded in biology.

    Each of the groups listed in my post meet the three prongs of the Court of Appeals' reasoning.

    Although redheads may have a credible claim under this definition (a la the South Park ginger kids episode), people with green eyes simply are not a "socially-recognized group" and have not experienced "adverse social or political stereotyping or prejudice".

  • Dan J (unverified)
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    Pat,

    I didn't feel singled out at all. I chose to respond based on a post last week by a gentleman titled "Doing God" or something to that effect. This topic ties into that one at the hip. Many Liberals felt compelled to discuss ways that they could show their faith and make it part of the election calculation.

    As for all of your definitions; thank you. You saved me another trip to Webster's online. What would I do without all of you intelligent liberals to explain to me who "irony" can be used in conversation.

    It is smug arrogance of that nature (providing word definitions and explaing how ignorant the red state electorate is) that continues to cost Liberals election after election. I will freely admit that it is that same arrogance that has cost President George W. Bush much of his influence in Washington.

    Even though you don't believe in the authority of the Bible, there is certainly a phrase that is made famous from it,

    "pride goes before destruction..." Proverbs 16:18.

    This smug pride is an affliction of both of the major political parties. It is why we will see the next Governor win the election with less than 50% of the votes cast.

    It is also why Gordon Smith is in much bigger political trouble than he thinks. If Democrats ran a moderate candidate that didn't act like an elitist, they would beat GS in a big way. They won't though. They have too much pride.

    By the way, I'm still interested in hearing a response to my prior post from a(some) Liberal Christians?

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    who are you talking to, SMR?

    Gender isn't necessarily immutable, but sex is. You are born one or the other, and changing it later doesn't undo that.

    Only little people and obese people meet the prongs, near as I can tell. The others either don't share fundamental characteristics (employment is not one, neither is a particular ideology), or are not a distinct and recognized group, or experience no prejudice.

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    I have to agree with two things:

    One, when Jenni said that the government should get out of the marriage business. I believe who marries whom shouldn't be something that is decided by the government

    Second, someone said (and I applogize for being too lazy to go back and check) that we should stop picking on gay people. Really, don't people have better things to do then bash gays? Live your own life for crying out loud.

    It is the fact that other people force their religion and beliefs down other ppl's throat that bothers me.

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    I see two items from the Scripture that talk about man and woman. I don't see anything there that specifically states that only a man and a woman can be married.

    Besides, we're talking about legal "marriage" and the translated, edited Bible talks about religious "marriage" (not that I believe the actual Scripture ever stated that only a man and woman could marry). And yes, it has been translated and edited numerous times. We don't even have the entire Scripture-- the church decided quite a while ago to not include certain books. There was also heavy editing at several points in history.

    Since what we're discussing is legal marriage, the Bible does not come into play at all.

    That is why I think we should remove the word "marriage" from law and replace it with legal terms instead.

  • Dan J (unverified)
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    Jenni,

    I appreciate your comments. If you choose to take a direct biblical quote from Jesus, question its' authenticity, and say that because he didn't go into a rant exlaining that man and woman meant one mand and one woman, well that is your right. Faith is a matter of free choice and neither I, nor any Christian who chooses to follow Christ's message want to force your to believe in the truth of the Gospel.

    As I stated in my post, I am interested in the opinion of Liberal Christians. By definition: Christian means that you believe that Christ is the Holy son of God.

    If there are any Liberal Christians that frequent this sight, please share with me your thoughts on the meaning of Christs words in 19:9 and 19:4-6.

  • Keith (unverified)
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    I think that all of you who are so set against some people not having the same rights that you have are just idiots. And any argument you think you can come up with that you think justifies your opinion, only goes to prove you are idiots.

    So you don't want gays and lesbians to be treated equally? Fortunately history is not on your side, eventually the arguments made are seen to be as hollow as they have always been. But you should question why it is so important for you to not treat other human beings as your equal. What's that about?

  • Jeff (unverified)
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    Dan J--

    I don't understand why the basic thrust of Jenni's argument can't be shared by a liberal Christian. I know many liberal Christians who understand that their belief in the Bible is a matter of faith and simply do not want to impose their faith on others.

    Would you ever think to ask a Jew or a Muslim: Why don't you want Congress to pass a law imposing Jewish/Muslim dietary laws on all restaurants?

    It is one thing for you to believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman. It is quite another thing for you to want to impose that belief on others.

  • SMR (unverified)
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    Jeff wrote:

    "It is one thing for you to believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman. It is quite another thing for you to want to impose that belief on others."

    That is an excellent point.

    But I ask in earnest: Isn't that the point of a representative democracy? That the will of the many is, with certain exceptions, imposed upon the few?

    We're ALL in the minority on at least SOME issues. And it hurts most when we're in the minority on the issues that are nearest and dearest to us. We can debate, educate, proselytize and otherwise attempt to convince others to support our minority position, but that's about it. At the end of the day, you either have the majority on your side, or you don't.

  • jrw (unverified)
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    To Dan J---

    This Liberal Christian also recalls that Jesus said, "Judge not, lest you be judged."

    I'd also like to point out that, short of going into detailed analysis of exactly the specific meanings of the koine Greek are in those passages, insisting on a specific, literal interpretation that fits one's political analysis may not be the correct one.

    Finally, let's also remember that Jesus said "give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's."

    Marriage is more than a religious commitment; in modern society it is a form of legal contract and as such, within a legal context, Biblical justifications should keep out of what the society as a whole defines as a legal contract between two people who want to join their households into one household. Comparing same-sex legal unions to the situations condemned within the Bible are not on all fours with each other. The situations condemned within the Bible involve motivations which do not relate to commitment; furthermore, they're not limited to same-sex sexual relationships but to those who were focused exclusively upon pleasure instead of a desire to make a long-term commitment.

    It is strongly in society's interest to encourage and develop legal structures which allow these partnerships to have a contractual, legal basis. It is unfortunate that these partnerships share the same name as the partnerships recognized by religious faith.

    Marriage as defined and ruled over by the state is entirely secular. Biblical standards should only be applied when the participants in the relationship invite religious standards into the relationship.

    And yes--before you ask, I do support the idea of sacramental marriages. I also feel that religions should not be forced into solemnizing relationships that they feel do not fit within their pattern. However, I believe that forcing the state to fit a religious definition of marriage into a secular contract is also inappropriate as well.

    (To everyone else, I apologize for wasting bandwidth, as I'm sure what will follow will be extended ranting about Sodom, the evils of Liberal Christianity, and an extremely limited exegesis based upon a very limited interpretation of the New Testament as interpreted into the English language. Nonetheless, someone had to speak up).

  • (Show?)

    Who said I wasn't a liberal Christian? I happen to be a (liberal) Southern Baptist.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Here's something to think about:

    Some churches do not allow anyone to be married in their church unless they pass their premarital counseling. Others are not that strict. And anyone who is not religious can have a non church wedding by a judge or other civil official (county clerk, justice of the peace, etc. dep. on the jurisdiction). Those marriages are called civil marriages.

    Civil union just means not a traditional marriage and not in a church.

    When I hear some of the proponents of the Constitutional Amendment Against Gay Marriage, I think of 40 years or so ago when Guess Who's Coming To Dinner was a controversial movie in some quarters--the screen daughter of Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn was engaged to Sidney Poitier. And one of the lines in the script is Tracy saying "in some states, your marriage will not be legal, and what about children?".

    As it happens, I know a young woman born to such a "mixed" marriage who is now a young adult with a child of her own. Too many of the debates over civil unions sound like those same debates.

    If people want to keep marriage between a man and a woman but have another legal construct for gays, I don't see a problem with that. After all, if gay marriage ruins traditional marriages, that would mean the divorce rate in Mass. skyrocketed after gay marriage was legalized, right? Did that happen?

  • Jeff (unverified)
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    SMR:

    No. The point of a representative democracy is NOT to impose the arbitrary will of the majority on the minority. We live in a pluralistic FREE society, which means that we permit people to do things with which we disagree as long as those things don't harm others.

    Do you really want your private life decided by the whims of the majority? I doubt it.

    Also, let's remember that many religions (Reform Jews, some mainline Christians, etc.) do believe that marriage between two people of the same sex is a sacriment. Thus, when the government decides that it will recognize the unions performed by one religious group, but not those performed by another, it is taking sides on a question of religion -- endorsing certain religious tenets over others -- contrary to the spirit, if not the text, of the Constitution's Establishment Clause. I don't want the government deciding which religious rites performed in my church are permissible (unless someone is being harmed in the process). Do you?

    I also think that depriving a certain group of people marriage rights based on animus toward that group violates the Equal Protection Clause. Certainly, the Constitution -- in addition to the abstract principle of pluralism -- constrains the whims of the majority.

    If you want a textual basis for my claim that the legslature's power should be constrained by the principle of pluralism, you should take a look at the Ninth Amendment: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

  • SMR (unverified)
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    Jeff:

    I'm sure you know that majority rule and pluralism are not mutually exclusive. Both are core principles of our representative democracy. In theory, certain minority rights must exist independent of the will of the majority. But in practice, the majority has the power to define what is--and what is not--a protected right.

    All of our private lives are, to greater and lesser extents, governed by the will of the majority through our elected representatives and the rule of law. That is the price we have to pay under our chosen form of government.

    I don't buy the religious marriage Establishment Clause argument. I think Judge Posner said it best on his blog:

    "In a democratic society, one has to respect religious beliefs; and no reasonable theory of the meaning of the religion clauses of the First Amendment permits one to argue that religious belief cannot be permitted to influence secular law. No one supposes that punishing murder is an establishment of religion just because the Ten Commandments--a religious code--states 'Thou shalt not kill.'"

    As far as equal protection arguments go, we'll just have to agree to disagree. You can side with the majority in the Goodridge case, and I'll take the view of the 3 dissenters (absent a discriminatory purpose, no violation).

    Long live the markeplace of ideas.

  • (Show?)

    "But I ask in earnest: Isn't that the point of a representative democracy? That the will of the many is, with certain exceptions, imposed upon the few?"

    'with certain exceptions' is a back door that threatens to render your rule fundamentally meaningless, although I agree with the statement as written entirely.

    Primary among exceptions, I think, are those issues of civil freedom and liberty so basic and fundamental that majority opinion must not rule the day. Slavery--that man shall not own another. Suffragism--that man (and woman) shall have the right to self-determine.

    The right to choose a mate freely is among those, I believe.

  • SMR (unverified)
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    Torridjoe:

    I think everyone agrees that there are certain human rights, so fundamental to human existence, that they cannot be completely disposed of by the will of the majority. (Reaching consensus on what those fundamental rights should be is something else entirely.) But most of these fundamental rights are not absolute - they are subject to qualification by the shifting sands of the rule of law.

    IMO, the right to marry is just another qualified right, and the majority gets to define the qualifications.

    Most of us wouldn't want it any other way.

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    "In a democratic society, one has to respect religious beliefs; and no reasonable theory of the meaning of the religion clauses of the First Amendment permits one to argue that religious belief cannot be permitted to influence secular law. No one supposes that punishing murder is an establishment of religion just because the Ten Commandments--a religious code--states 'Thou shalt not kill.'"

    Are you claiming that the appearance in the ten commmandments of "Thou shalt not kill"(KJV) is the only reason for punishing murder?

    I didn't think so. There are lots of good, logical, scientifically supportable arguments to be made for laws against murder. The harm caused by murder is clear and demonstrable. There are no such arguments against gay marriage. The arguments against gay marriage that purport to be non-religious don't hold up under scrutiny. If the religious arguments are all there is, then you have establishment of religion.

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    "But most of these fundamental rights are not absolute - they are subject to qualification by the shifting sands of the rule of law."

    You are much to cavalier about subjecting "fundamental" rights to qualification by shifting sands. "Fundamental" means you abrogate a right only with the most compelling of reasons--in which category the mere whim of the majority does not qualify.

    You write as though democracy was invented as a way to make sure the many can control the few. In reality, the point of democracy is to take power away from the few in the hope that the many will be more likely to resist using it against the few.

  • (Show?)

    SMR--I don't believe there is a constitutional "right to marry." It is a civil privilege extended by the government, with "incidents thereof" fully fungible by that same government. (Of course there is a religious component to marriage, entirely separate from civil recognition).

    What IS fundamental is that once granted a right, that right is extended equally to all, absent a compelling state rationale otherwise.

    Why can't children marry? Because they cannot consent.

    Why can't animals marry? Because they cannot consent.

    Why can't relatives marry? Because holding multiple legal familial statuses renders much other law incomprehensible (eg--if a man marries one of his two daughters, having written a will leaving his entire fortune to his wife and nothing to his children, does his daughter/wife get all or nothing?)

    Why can't two (or three, or eight) marry? Again, because it renders legal status of relationships nearly unenforceable.

    Why can't two people of the same sex marry?

    ??

    ??

    I may be slightly different from many here, in that I'm amenable to at least the CONCEPT of the state being able to dictate that same sex marriages are unlawful. So if you can provide the compelling state rationale, let's discuss it.

  • timmy (unverified)
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    Correct me if I'm wrong, I'm certainly not a legal scholar, but aren't amendments to the constitution refered to as "the bill of rights"?

    Now if I remember 7th grade social studies correctly these amendments grant rights to people where there were none before. You know, silly things like the right for women to vote.

    The purpose of the bill of rights is NOT TO LIMIT PEOPLE'S RIGHTS!

    I think it's really odd that the pro-family republican party is so bent on preventing families from being formed. As for that "sanctity of marriage" crap, well...

    <h2>Newt Gingrich, Britney Spears and Jason Alexander, FOX's "Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire", Larry King, James McGreevey, and on and on and on...</h2>
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