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April 05, 2007

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LAK

Yea, the better answer may be, Frederick, to get rid of marriage altogether as a matter of law and civics. The world might be a better place if the law did not distinguish between married people and nonmarried people. That way you could live polygamously if you'd like, Frederick. But so long as the law grants rights and presumptions to married heteros, it should to married homos or else the equal protection clause is simply not being followed.

BAC

LAK,

Really, really, really wishing gay marriage was an equal protection issue does not make it an equal protection issue.

You might as well close your eyes, click your heels three times, and chant "more rights for homos, more rights for homos."

Marriage benefits get rational basis review, and as long as the kids arguable benefit from being raised by Mom and Dad (rather than Mom or Dad) then marriage benefits should pass rational basis review.

LAK

And yes Frederick, abortionists would argue that expanding the meaning of constitutional freedoms to map appropriately onto current social conditions is the right thing. Not one "abortionist" thinks the world might be better if the backwards states of Mississippi or Alabama could force women to give birth when they are raped. Similarly, y'all god fearers can't come up with any good reason other than your religious beliefs to want to ban abortion either. Imagine that. Just "a fetus is a human being, cause Jesus said so." And to think Jesus was resurrected for your sins. Save me Jebus. Or at least bury some golden tablets and provide me with a seer stone.

How do intelligent people believe in a theistic god, and how does an intelligent lawyer think it is ok to force irrational religious doctrine on the rest of the country when they don't believe in that nonsense. It boggles my mind.

LAK

BAC,
Well clearly the purpose of this post is to argue that sexual orientation should be a protected class worthy of heightened scrutiny.

And its not the mariage rights themselves that would be subject to rational review (clearly there are beneifts to laws about intestate succession and custodal rights) , it is the denial of those rights to functionally married homosexual couples that is. And I have yet to hear a rational reason to deny them the same rights. The best bigots can do is say something about kids being rasied better by hetero couples (they're not and homos alreay raise kids together), that marriage is to promote reporduction (it isn't and our world needs less people in it), or that society will fall apart if gays can marry.

Erasmussimo

Mr. BAC, I think you're going overboard in referring to me and others as "ilk". I have earlier proffered my opinion that the best overall solution is to get the government out of the marriage business. Surely you do not think that an "ilky" point of view, do you?

My objection is to the rampant bigotry and unreasonable behavior of Mr. Roach. Unless you wish to embrace Mr. Roach's bigotry, I doubt that we are in such strong disagreement. At least, I would expect that we could disagree in a gentlemanly fashion.

Erasmussimo

Perhaps I should offer my own thoughts on the issue of gay marriage. For a long time, I felt that the equal protection argument was quite weak, but the paltry performances of Mr. Roach and others like him have convinced me that the only arguments against gay marriage arise from pure bigotry. I have spent the last few months asking opponents of gay marriage to elaborate their arguments. In particular, I have often asked about their claim that gay marriage is injurious to conventional marriage. I have yet to see a rational argument in support of that case. Indeed, my inquiries are usually met by rants about the evils of gays -- heightening my suspicions that there are no rational arguments to bring to bear, until now the process has gone so far that I am convinced that the opponents of gay marriage have nothing rational to offer to support their position. This leads me to the conclusion that society has no rational basis for discriminating against gays and therefore they fall under the equal protection clause. Again, I stress that I did not come to this conclusion lightly or quickly -- it was the continuing failure of all opponents of gay marriage to offer rational defenses for their opposition that led me to this conclusion.

Two other points: the opponents of gay marriage fecklessly point to democracy to justify their position. "The people will it" they point out (correctly). But let us remember that Socrates was sentenced to death by a democracy. Our government is most emphatically NOT a democracy. We are a republic under a Constitution that guarantees certain rights, and, short of a Constitutional amendment, the will of the people isn't worth spit when pitted against the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was written with the express intent of protecting minorities from majorities, and this is such a case. So let's lose this stupid argument over "the will of the people".

Lastly, I'd like to offer a more abstract argument. I'm not particularly enamored of gay marriage. While I take a libertarian stance and would prefer to allow gay marriage simply as a matter of freedom, I also felt that the matter was too politicized and was ultimately bad for America because it was all symbolism and little suffering. I considered the debate to be a political storm in a practical teacup, and really hoped that it would go away. I also believe that the premature efforts of gays to get married in early 2004 was a factor in Mr. Kerry's loss to Mr. Bush -- and because of that, I resent the strategic foolishness of the gay political movement. However, the factor that has had the biggest impact upon me is experiencing the pure bigotry of people such as Mr. Roach. When I realized that the opponents of gay marriage are driven by hate and bigotry, I decided that it was important to defeat them, so as to assert what is most important about America. This is a nation devoted to freedom, to liberty, not to bigotry. I wasn't prepared to lift a finger to defend gays, but now that I realize that what is at stake is the very notion of America as a nation devoted to the rule of law, rather than the tyranny of the majority, I have become a strong supporter of the movement to legitimatize gay marriage.

Lackawanna Blues

I've been convinced! Changed my mind. Now all for gay marriage when I wasn't before. Thanks for pointing out how I used to be a big nasty bigot. Wow. It feels so liberating to support gay marriage. I bet I can even find some way to make a Nineteenth century Constitutional amendment say something about gays at a time when sodomy was still a felony. I'm sure I can. Yeah, man.

Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together and try to love one another right now!!!!

I'm so, like, persuaded, man.

LAK

"after all, Stone made an appeal to majoritarian sentiment above; let's just see what happens as these gay marriage initiatives continue to face the ballot box. They seem almost always to lose."

Is that true? I don't think so. I'll bet you'll see that where the money and eduation are, so is the tolerence. Where the ignorance and fear of other thrives, and the low median income, so does the opposition to basic tolernce of difference. The fact is that there are no externalities to homosexuality, and as such, no reason to oppose it as a matter of law and civic ethics. It is so much like the south in the 50s and 60s, and that is pretty much Stone's point. The time is now to equalize and protect for this significant class of people.

Roach, Jesus says "love" before everything else. Remember that.

LAK

Lackawanna, there is good satire and good sarcasm, and lord knows the world needs more of both, but your attempts at the same leave much to be desired. Rather than reactionary and terribly pedestrian sarcasm, why not try to advance real argument, and then only spinkle in the ad hominem commentary. It is much more compelling to sound like you are a dickhead who also knows what he is talking about.

With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, When we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Roach

God?!? Pray!?! Who is to say there is such a thing as right, wrong, justice, injustice? Haven't you read your Nietzsche/Diederot/Sartre etc.?

I do think it's funny the left is always advancing what amounts to moribund and deracinated appeals to human brotherhood even as it attempts to deep six the Christian foundations of that viewpoint. Our pagan antecedents whether on the Russian steppes or in Ancient Rome and Babylonia had little use for these saccharine notions of brotherhood, last time I checked.

Incidentally, my argument was simple and it's been misrepresented, rather transparently in my view, by LAK and some others above. I simply said social changes have unintended consequences and that broader social approval of something can affect even those who, theoretically, should not be affected because they are a distinct group with distinct mores, whether that other group is heterosexuals in relation to homosexuals or Catholics in relation to the broader society. I said this was particularly true in the case of marriage, as evidenced by the corrosion of Christian marriage by civil marriage. A fortiori, heterosexual marriage will likely be affected by gay "marriage" which will presumably have one of the more common features of gay life, polyamory.

I said, therefore, that gay marriage advocates should acknowledge this, persuade us it won't happen, or convince us on the basis of honesty today that those predictable changes are good, right, and reasonable. I said that those changes would be bad because a society's sexual mores should be regulated for a variety of reasons, but largely because without such regulation children, mothers, and others are hurt. More broadly, sexual life must be regulated because habits of self control must generally be instilled by the laws for social order. These arguments have nothing to do with Christianity (or no more than the same kinds of arguments used by Christians to end slavery or oppose Jim Crow), but rather with what philosophers call "Natural Reason" available to all people everywhere.

LAK lost his cool above, dismissing Christianity as a moribund cult, calling me a bigot, and otherwise acting like someone who needs his meds. He also rather crudely appealed to some ersatz Christian love principle to justify gay marriage. For Christians, sodomy is a sin. I no more help a homosexual by enabling that activity than I help a drug addict by giving him a dime bag. But I don't need Christianity to know that homosexuality is purposeless, perverse, a form of decadence, unhealthy, unwise, coextensive with numerous other dangerous behaviors, a product of different forms of psychopathology and unresolved issues with one's parents, and, when unavoidable, something that should merely be tolerated. People using right reason have known this in every culture everywhere and have tended to ostracize homosexuals as antisocial, other than when a society was in an advanced stage of decadence.

Lackawanna Blues

I'd perhaps be more inclined to engage in real debate if I knew what the argument for gay marriage was, other than torturing the Equal Protection Clause until it gives you what you want. It's just not a serious argument to suggest that the Constitution has anything to say on this subject, which leaves it to the People of the States, who over and over again reject the proposition of gay marriage.

Other than the spurious Constiutitonal argument (which is really just code for elites disagreeing with the democratic masses and has nothing to do with law), the moral arguments in favor of gay marriage leave me nonplussed. At a minimum, they are in equipoise with Roach's fairly straightforward description of Christian thought on the subject (and that is giving a lot of credit to secular humanism as being on par with traditional Christianity).

So I'm not sure there is anything left to argue about, except at the ballot box, where proponents of gay marriage (happily, for me) continue to get their junk handed to them.

LAK

Who said? Kant, Marx, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nussbaum, your boy Jesus. That is who.

Well Roach, you are a bigot plain and simple. And our pagan antecedents had just as much love as the Christians. Christians certainly didn't invent love, and they certainly knew and know hatred and violence to this day. "The inquisition, wait and see!" Lord knows Jews have a few thousand years on you Christians, and theirs is that same God of love too, buddy.

"I said this was particularly true in the case of marriage, as evidenced by the corrosion of Christian marriage by civil marriage. A fortiori, heterosexual marriage will likely be affected by gay "marriage" which will presumably have one of the more common features of gay life, polyamory."

So your argument goes: civil marriage undermined Christian marriage (I'm skepitical of the causality you impute to this relationship. Civic marriage subsumed Christain marriage when Christian marriage turned out to be no longer practical or necessary with the advent of modernity and financial idependence, it hardly eroded it itself. It filled the gaping hole that the fading illusions left)

Thus "a forteriori" (could you sound any more painfully pretentious?) gay marriage will "likely affect" civil marriage and result in further erosion of marriage and result in "one of the more common features of gay life, polyamory."

1. So yours is a naked conclusion supported by a bad analogy. Nice argument. Fabricate a causal relationship and use it to conclude a completely independent phenomenon will have the same "likely affect." A forteriori, you suck at thinking.

2. Since when are gays more polyamerous than herteros? My experience living amongst homosexuals (which is clearly far more extensive than yours) demonstrates otherwise. Yours is an ignorant, fearful, stereotypical view of homosexual culture, quite obviously. I know far more polyamerous heteros on avaerge than I do gays. You don't know what you are talking about.

3. "For Christians, sodomy is a sin. I no more help a homosexual by enabling that activity than I help a drug addict by giving him a dime bag." You seem to suggest that allowing gays to marry would facilitate sodomy. This is patently false even to the most casual observer. Wtf are you talking about? They're pounding ass and double scissor dildoing each other marriage or not buddy.

4. "But I don't need Christianity to know that homosexuality is purposeless, perverse, a form of decadence, unhealthy, unwise, coextensive with numerous other dangerous behaviors, a product of different forms of psychopathology and unresolved issues with one's parents, and, when unavoidable, something that should merely be tolerated."

I do not feel so strongly as you do, but I don't need blind faith either. Does this mean that I am willing to deny a gay couple that has lived together for 25 years and has children they raised together equal protection of the law when the adoptive parent dies intestate? Fuck no. I keep my speculative moral concsuions out of my understaing of political rights and freedoms, as should you, a was the intent of our founding fathers, as is clearly the best policy for a successful society. Your views on the morality of homosexuality and whether homosexuals should be afforded equal protection of the law and freedom from discrimination in the public marketplace are distinct issues. Nobody is asking you to be gay Roach (though I suspect your severe discomfort with homsexuality is Haggard-esque), just allow gay people living married lives or looking for work and housing the same legal presumptions and protections as the rest of us have.

Do you see how similar your views are now to the veiws held by segregationists and the racist bigots half a century ago? Now that is an apt analogy. You should move to Mississippi or something and leave the fags and dykes to the successful tolerant states where they thrive. I'll take the successful tolerant inclusive economy of San Francisco over Jasper Alabama or wherever you belong any day. And there's the rub - it is Chritianity and the idiots and dolts like you who beleive in these 2000 year old clut ghost stories that are destroying themseleves and their economies with their ignroance and fear of others. Isn't that painfully obvious to you or have you now been to a megachurch in the heartland recently. I have. Nothing like a toothless methhead cluthcing a cross.

you should move to afghanistan Roach, you'd fit right in with the thocratic politicians and poverty of the mind and economy.

I think Jesus needs to die again to be able to scrub your sins away Roach. I would be worried about your immortal soul. I really would if I were you.

LAK

The equal protection argument goes: Gay people live together and raise children together as functioanlly married couples. The few rights and privileges under the law that civil marriage create are just as applicable and useful to those homo couples living functionally married lives as they are to hetero ones.

And the state has an interest. It is far more efficient for the state to grant the same presumptions about custody and about intestate succession and work benefits to these couples than to suffer litigation about custody and succession ex post after someone dies or the get divorced. If it wasn't a reality that homosexual couples exist, then there wouldn't be much of an argument. But they do exist in significant numbers and sometimes becasue the law discriminates, a parent loses complete contact with a child they raised because they were not the adoptive parent by flip of a coin. And sometimes a lost uncle gets an inheritence rather than a spouce of 25 years. This is wrong.

Of course this is an equal protection issue. Read the plain language of he 14th amendment:
"No State shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Gay couples exist. And they are being denied equal protection of marriage laws to their detriment and to the detriment of an already burdened judicial system.

Lackawanna Blues

Huh? I guess child tax credits are also violating the equal protection clause because they discriminate against childless couples. You can cast any law that draws lines as discriminating against some group that falls on the other side of that line. That does not make an equal protection clause case (except to leftists who don't like the democratic results they keep seeing).

You are also only allowed to get married when you have reached a certain age, and if you are not a first degree relative of the person you are going to marry. I guess that's discrimination too, against those very real brother-sister or too-young couples out there.

Egads, discrimination!

Perhaps Professor Stone will soon be back with We Need To Legalize Sibling Marriage NOW.

Erasmussimo

Mr. Lackawanna Blues asks what the argument for gay marriage is. The answer is simple: freedom. Recall that we pride ourselves as being the Land of the Free. Freedom is intrinsically a good thing, don't you think? So our default position on any new law is always, "Do we really need to limit somebody's freedom?" Thus, Mr. Lackawanna Blues (and Mr. Roach as well), the burden of proof in a freedom-loving society always falls upon those who recommend any kind of restriction upon others. If we ever accept your demand that people must prove why they deserve freedom, then we are lost.

I recognize your counterargument that we are not talking about freedom so much as privilege. Efforts to ban gay marriage do not forbid the behaviors, they merely deny the advantages enjoyed by heterosexual couples. You argue that the people have a right to hand out privileges as they see fit. Heterosexual couples are just another special interest group wanting special privileges denied to others. We give special tax breaks to pear growers, special treatment for handicapped people, and truckers -- why can't heterosexual couples shove their way to a place at the trough?

But the flaw in this reasoning lies in the justification for the special treatment. In each of the other cases, a rational argument can be offered in defense of the special treatment for one group at the expense of others. Pear growers are essential to the economy of that region; handicapped people have much to offer society if we all just gave them access; the trucking industry is vital to the economy. We can all disagree with the arguments, and in fact in many cases they're pretty flabby arguments, but we have to admit that there is a rational case. Such is not the case with opposition to gay marriage.

At this point, having excoriated Mr. Roach for failing to offer any rational argument in support of his claims, it is my responsibility to respond to the rational arguments that he has now offered us.

The essence of Mr. Roach's argument is that legalization of gay marriage will advance the permissive social climate that will in turn erode the institution of marriage. There are three profound flaws in this argument, flaws so serious as to dismiss it from the realm of debatable propositions, in my opinion.

The first of these is the claim that legalization of gay marriage will advance the permissive social climate. Mr. Roach offers absolutely nothing in the way of evidence to support his claim -- he takes this as a given. What evidence we do have points in an entirely different direction: urbanization and social anonymity. Sociological studies have long demonstrated that what's really going on here is the destruction of small-group mores due to the destruction of small groups as the dominant form of social organization. The dramatic increase in social and economic mobility following World War II is the major factor at work here. Mr. Roach's fevered accusations against the Sexual Revolution, dirty hippies, and free love mistake the effect for the cause. He is engaging in pop sociology without ever examining the real thing.

His second false assumption is that the erosion of the institution of marriage is patently undesirable. This assumption is falsified by the history of marriage as a social institution. Anthropologists suspect that marriage in prehistoric cultures was a short-lived affair -- lasting only long enough to bring up a crop of kids to the age of five or six. The need to extend the duration of marriage arose primarily for reasons of property transmission from one generation to the next. And it wasn't difficult to define the duration of marriage as the life of the participants, because the life expectancy of most people didn't extend beyond the child-bearing years. (This, by the way, is one reason why many cultures had arranged marriages: because by the time the child was sexually mature, the parents might not be alive.)

These were good reasons for making marriage a permanent institution -- and they don't apply anymore. People continue to live for decades after their children have left the home. Moreover, the primary economic reasons for sustaining marriage have also evaporated. Children will no longer starve if the husband departs -- our society provides child welfare. And property transmission through probate is secure now regardless of the marital state of the decedent.

The greatest flaw in Mr. Roach's argument, however, is that he attacks the flea while ignoring the rats. If gay marriage is bad because it leads to divorce, then the real problem Mr. Roach seeks to address is divorce, not gay marriage, and he should address divorce directly, not indirectly. If Mr. Roach seeks to eliminate divorce, then let him offer a bill to eliminate divorce from society. His approach -- ban gay marriage because it might increase the divorce rate, and divorce is bad -- is patently nonsensical.

Thus, the arguments offered by Mr. Roach and others are so patently absurd as to suggest to me that they are rationalizations covering up the real agenda: bigotry. I do not believe that Mr. Roach approaches this problem with good will towards all. His many emotionally loaded denigrating references to gays suggest to me that he is motivated by malice, not concern for the well-being of society. This impels me to oppose his program. Were this a mild-mannered scholarly discussion of the sociological implications of gay marriage, then I could take seriously the arguments offered by Mr. Roach and his comrades. But this discussion has been anything but mild-mannered and scholarly.

I realize that every proposal should be argued on its merits, not the intentions of its proponents. This is why the slippery-slope argument is so irrational. However, my conclusion that the opposition to gay marriage is founded on purely rational analysis. Having made that determination that Mr. Roach et alia are incorrect, I then consider their reasoning process and conclude that they are motivated by bigotry, and this secondary conclusion, combined with my belief that I must oppose bigotry vociferously, leads me to conclude that I must strenuously oppose Mr. Roach and the opponents of gay marriage.

LAK

$10 bucks says Lackawanna didn't attend the U of C.

No lackawanna, it is not the same as denying a childless couple child tax credits. It would be if they had children. Having children is the operative fact. Like living together monagmously with a family is the operative fact in the instant case. Is the distinction not painfully obvious to you? And no it is not the same as banning child marriage. Children lack capacity to exercise their freedom and have limited rights for obvious reasons. And no it is not the same as incestuous marriage. Such marriages produce children with a severe increase in probability of rare homozygous genotypes that result in physical abnormalities that end up casing major externalized costs for society at large. Unless you want to adopt every deformed abandoned incest child and absorb the costs yourself.

Care to try again? Let's do better this time, shall we?

Lackawanna Blues

I thought marriages weren't defined by whether they produced children or not -- if the very essence of marriage is producing children, then I guess homosexualists can't marry. Good news.

You make a decent argument for why sibling procreation can be outlawed (though you vastly overstate the risk of birth defects in such couplings -- and for first degree cousins the risk is almost negligible relative to unrelated folks -- and such marriages are also outlawed in most states). Ok, so prohibit sibling procreation. You've erected a straw man. It's the homosexualists and their stooges who always tell us marriage isn't about children.

In sum, you think that homosexualists who have no possibility of ever having children have a constitutional right to marry. Why can't a brother and sister do the same as long as they do not have children? Marriage ≠ children, right?

And your games with what are the "operative facts" are just silly. There's a tax credit. It goes to everyone, unless you do not have children. The operative fact is that you are a citizen of the United States. But then that benefit isn't extended to those without childen. Egads, discrimination!

If this is what Chicago has become, then I am very sorry indeed.

Lackawanna Blues

I thought marriages weren't defined by whether they produced children or not -- if the very essence of marriage is producing children, then I guess homosexualists can't marry. Good news.

You make a decent argument for why sibling procreation can be outlawed (though you vastly overstate the risk of birth defects in such couplings -- and for first degree cousins the risk is almost negligible relative to unrelated folks -- and such marriages are also outlawed in most states). Ok, so prohibit sibling procreation. You've erected a straw man. It's the homosexualists and their stooges who always tell us marriage isn't about children.

In sum, you think that homosexualists who have no possibility of ever having children have a constitutional right to marry. Why can't a brother and sister do the same as long as they do not have children? Marriage ≠ children, right?

And your games with what are the "operative facts" are just silly. There's a tax credit. It goes to everyone, unless you do not have children. The operative fact is that you are a citizen of the United States. But then that benefit isn't extended to those without childen. Egads, discrimination!

If this is what Chicago has become, then I am very sorry indeed.

LAK

Marriage isn't "defined" as anything under the law. The set of rights and privileges that it confers to people relate both to having and raising children (custody presumptions, power of attorney over kids, etc.) and to cohabitation and commitment (certain real property rights, divorce rights and succession rights).

I dosn't understand the rest of your post. Homosexual and heterosexual couples both adopt children. Both parents in hetero relationship get custody. In homo couples only one does. That right there is a lack of equal protection for homosexual couples.

I'm happy to let brothers and sisters marry so long as you can figure a way to never allow a pregnancy to happen. God bless you if you want to fuck your sister. Perhaps mandatory tube tying/ vasectomy or something? Not surprisingly very few actually want to marry their brothers or sisters for obvious evolutionary biological reason. The same cannot be said for homosexual couples for whatever reason. But that being said I have no problem with allowing brothers and sisters to marry if they are rpevented form reproducing. Talking about a red herring though.

So really though, you didn't go to the U of C did you now?

Frederick Hamilton

Same sex marriages are only available in Massachusetts. That may change this year if a ballot proposal makes it on the ballot this fall in Massachusetts.

Even if the number of gay weddings in the United States is minimal so far, the uproar over same-sex marriage has been deafening. The issue has rocked every state capital and inflamed passions in Congress and presidential politics, as advocates of equal rights for gays and lesbians are pitted against religious and other socially conservative groups committed to protecting traditional marriage. A real political touchstone issue.

President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996. DOMA codified states’ right to decide whether to allow or ban same-sex marriage, and defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman for federal purposes such as claiming tax breaks for spouses and receiving deceased partners’ Social Security benefits.

More than half the states have amended their constitutions to ban gay marriage.

In May 2006 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit dismissed an appeal brought by two men who challenged the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider the case in October 2006. Between 1973 and 2005, 42 states have enacted statutes similar to the federal DOMA.

To say that the prospects of success with state legislatures allowing same sex marriage are slim is an understatement.

The only hope for anything other than civil unions and domestic partnerships is a ruling by the Supereme Court with a stroke of the pen allowing for same sex marriage the way they allowed for abortion on demand during the first trimester of pregnancy. The chances of the Supremes being pulled into another Roe v Wade are slim. I think the Supremes will use same sex marriage issue (if it ever gets there) as a reason to defer to the states.

Same sex marriage will be a state by state political slugfest and the gay and lesbian community realistically can only hope for solutions such as the Illinois bill allowing for civil unions.

National polls show anywhere from 63 to 75% of Americans opposed to same sex marriage. Interstingly, according to a poll released in August 2006 by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life indicates 54 percent approve of civil unions as an alternative to same-sex marriage. The operative word of course is "alternative".

It is wrong for LAK and Eras et al to claim that all of the above thinking by Americans is bigoted. It is a societal cultural issue of immense proportions and to disagree with same sex marriage does not make one a bigot.

Frederick Hamilton

Oh, I forgot to mention LAK's claim specifically and as I show above, LAK, marriage indeed is defined in "the law". Federal DOMA (a law), 42 state "laws". Amendments to 26 state constitutions defining the "law on marriage". No, I am sorry, but marriage in law is well defined. You may not agree with the various laws, but they are on the books.

Erasmussimo

Mr Hamilton writes:

"It is wrong for LAK and Eras et al to claim that all of the above thinking by Americans is bigoted. It is a societal cultural issue of immense proportions and to disagree with same sex marriage does not make one a bigot."

In the absence of a rational case demonstrating that gay marriage is harmful to society, what can we call such opposition other than bigotry? I came to my conclusion recently, having spent plenty of time trying to wheedle a rational case out of numerous opponents of gay marriage. Their failure to produce such a case, and substitution of hand-waving verbiage for hard logic, convinces me that they don't have one.

BAC

Eras, Eras, Eras, I feel like we have been down this road many, many, many times before.

Marriage benefits are about the state's interest in reproduction and child rearing. We generally want to encourage fathers to stick with their semen samples for at least 18 years (plus or minus nine months) after initial donation.

Because unwanted pregnancies are not a common side effect of homosexual coupling, there is no need for the state to extend marriage benefits to gays.

Frederick Hamilton

Eras,
Bigotry is hate. A bigot hates for the sake of hating someone or something.

Is a Jew who only wants to marry another Jew a bigot? Is a Catholic that only wants to marry another Catholic a bigot?

Your desire for "hard logic" on such issues as same sex marriage will probably never be satisfied.

Peoples cultural choices and desires do not in the main rest on bigotry.

Pope John Paul II opposed same sex marriage on religous, doctrinal, spirtitual and cultural grounds but would have sat down and shared food and drink with any homosexual human being probably anywhere and anytime. Was Pope John Paul II a bigot?

I think the inability to consider peoples religous and cultural values different than yours as "bigoted" should make you look in the mirror for the answer to someone for whom disdain rests unfairly.

Your irrationality is someone elses rationality and does not make them bigots. Great knowledge does not alone rest with you. Many a great thinker disagrees with you. Humility on this matter would be a good thing. A rational case CAN be made on religous and cultural grounds.

Lackawanna Blues

LAK: "I'm happy to let brothers and sisters marry so long as you can figure a way to never allow a pregnancy to happen. God bless you if you want to fuck your sister."

And on that note, I think I will rest my case. Thank you for making my point for me.

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