Sunday, December 21, 2008

Let No One Put Asunder


It's rare that something angers me so profoundly that I spend a good portion of the quality weekend time I have with my family letting it get under my skin.

This is one of those times, unfortunately.

I never believed the passage of California's Prop 8 -- which overturned the legalization of gay marriage in that state -- to be a product of hate. Ignorance, yes. Fear, definitely. Stupidity, absolutely -- but not, for most of its supporters, an out-and-out hatred of gay people. There's no doubt that, in the classic "hate the sin, love the sinner" vein, many opponents of gay marriage hold what they perceive to be the homosexual lifestyle (and the nagging fear that it will somehow encroach upon their clean, bucolic suburban existences) in greater contempt than any one gay person. This distinction, I'd imagine, provides little comfort for the 900-thousand or so gay and lesbian men and women living in California who've just been told by their neighbors that they're second class citizens -- but it still doesn't make the passing of Prop 8 proof that millions of people despise homosexuals.

Which doesn't mean that there isn't a small and very vocal contingent among Prop 8's supporters -- including the sponsors of the initial bill -- that does openly despise gay culture and what it believes gay people represent.

They consider homosexuality to be evil in every sense and will fight tooth and nail to eradicate it (which only proves the ridiculous folly of their belief system, since you can't "fix" gay and you damn sure can't make it go away).

These are the people who are now one-upping the ban that's already been imposed on any future gay weddings in California.

They want to not only ensure that no more same-sex couples marry -- they want to retroactively nullify the unions of an estimated 18,000 same-sex couples who were married during the few months that it was legal to do so in the state of California. The imaginatively-monikered "Yes on 8" campaign has now filed a brief arguing that because the new law states that only a marriage between a man and a woman can be recognized in California, any gay marriage is automatically invalid. The wording of Prop 8 never expressly outlined what would happen to the unions of those couples who'd already tied the knot, but if you couldn't see this draconian push to thoroughly extinguish the concept of gay marriage coming from a mile away, you're so naive that stepping outside your front door for any reason would likely be hazardous to your health.

These fanatics -- and that's exactly what they are -- don't simply disagree with the idea of same-sex couples marrying, they consider it a sinful blight on humanity and something that would put our society one step closer to being smitten, wholesale, by a vengeful God.

And who's heading up the court battle for the intolerant extremists looking to abolish gay marriage in its entirety?

Ken Starr.

Yes, that Ken Starr. The ultra-conservative and ethically-challenged legal attack dog who dubiously spent several years and millions of taxpayer dollars trying to bring down Bill Clinton back in the 90s -- the far-right butt-boy who issued the infamous "Starr Report" which purposely, pruriently read more like soft-core porn than a legal document. Starr's now the dean of the law department at Pepperdine University in Malibu (side note: don't go to law school at Pepperdine) and obviously is the perfect choice to pick up the long, hard spear, wrap both hands around its shaft and lead the charge to wipe gay marriage off the map in California. With Starr at the helm of the operation, you know exactly what you're getting, why you're getting it and the kinds of people behind the whole thing.

Opponents of the move, meanwhile -- who argue that it's unconstitutional and outright wrong to attempt to apply Prop 8 retroactively -- are scheduled to file their own brief tomorrow. It would be wonderful to believe that the opponents of this reprehensible effort will be successful, but they have yet to even slow the offensive that's been steamrolling over them the past few months.

There's no denying, however, that their cause is just. Their cause is, ironically, righteous. It always should've turned the stomachs of decent, freedom-loving Americans that there were those in our ranks who stood violently against the idea of an entire swath of the population being granted the right to marry the person of his or her choosing. It really should've provoked outrage that a group of our citizens had been granted a civil right only to have it put to a vote and subsequently revoked. The fact that the above has been allowed to occur, and now, to add the worst kind of insult to injury, those for whom the concept of such a right is nothing less than sacrilege seek to pull an end-run on the law and abrogate the contract of those who availed themselves of that right when it was legal -- well, that's just fucking despicable.

When federal Prohibition was repealed in 1933, the bootleggers and speakeasy proprietors arrested during the 13 years that alcohol was illegal in America weren't automatically freed from prisons, en masse. This is because if you engage in an illegal act, the eventual legalization of that act doesn't instantly absolve you in the eyes of the law. You did it while it was illegal, you broke the law.

That's the way it works.

Unless, apparently, you're talking about same-sex marriages.

Then, in a slap-in-the-face double-standard, you're expected to accept that the legal, ostensibly binding commitment you made in good faith can be subject to any future changes the state feels like implementing. Basically, your marriage -- the most important contract you enter into -- can be "grandfathered" to death.

To call it unfair would be a laughable understatement.

It's wrong. Period.

Just fucking wrong.


What follows is a related piece published here last month. It was written in response to the initial passage of Prop 8.


There's a guy I know named Omar who's been one of my best friends since we were both around 16.

He's been beside me through some of the worst times in my life, providing a kind of unwavering moral support and unconditional love that really can't be done justice with something as mundane as a well-placed word or two. He's more like a brother to me than a friend and I, quite honestly, would go to the ends of the earth for him if he required it. We've always championed each other and I have no doubt that we always will. Our friendship is one of the most important, and certainly the most enduring, things in each of our lives.

If Omar called me tomorrow morning and told me that he'd found somebody he wanted to share the rest of his life with and was planning to get married, I'd congratulate him, send a big hug his way, and ask him where he wanted me to be and when he wanted me to be there. There's no way in hell I'd miss his wedding.

The thing is, I don't have to worry about that.

That's because Omar can't get married -- at least not officially -- because he's gay.

Last week, while America was celebrating what feels, even now, like a rebirth and a restatement of purpose in the wake of the election that will put Barack Obama in the White House, millions in California were reeling from an election day shock -- a decision at the polls that inexplicably aims to undo a very real "march of freedom" within this country and cement the status of gay Americans as second-class citizens.

California's Proposition 8 was unlike anything I'd seen in my lifetime: a clever end-run around the law which attempted to actually take away the rights of a specific segment of the population -- rights that had previously been granted by the California Supreme Court. It was anathema to everything America purports to stand for -- justice and equality for all, without exception -- and yet it passed handily and did so in one of the most progressive states in the country.

It was, it is, a national embarrassment -- and one that never should've been allowed to happen in the first place.

It's true we live in a democracy and that each of us has a say in determining our leaders and the manner in which they govern, but there are some decisions that should be beyond the whim of the electorate -- out of reach of the most ignorant, timid or demagogic within our ranks. There's a reason our court system is charged with interpreting the Constitution and enforcing its tenets: We pay those entrusted with this awesome responsibility to be a little wiser than the rest of us -- to literally lay down the law when no one else can, or will.

Some things aren't up for debate in this country.

Our fundamental freedoms cannot be put to a vote.

Not here -- not in America.

There should be no doubt that eventually we'll look back on this disgraceful moment in our history the way we now regard segregation, pre-suffrage, or the internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II: with shame, sadness, and a host of unanswerable questions as to what we might possibly have been thinking. We know this because, as much as those who stand against it will hate to hear this, legal gay marriage in the United States is an inevitability. We know this because of the basic nature of freedom: it expands.

Freedom expands.

It will not be contained -- and it most certainly will not be restricted once it's already been allowed to flourish. Isn't this the very principle that's guided our foreign policy for years? Are we so blind or so unforgivably hypocritical that we can't recognize when the truth of that ideal is staring us right in the face?

The genie is out of the bottle.

There's no putting it back in, and it was inexcusable that we sought to restrain it in the first place. That's not what this country is about.

My friend Omar, like all Americans, should have the right to marry anyone he wants -- to live his life however he chooses.

And not you, nor I, nor anyone else has the right to take those rights away from him.

27 comments:

Deacon Blue said...

All I've got to say is: I'm on your side here.

Biblical stuff aside, this shit has no place in secular political and civil matters.

Fantatics. Zealots. Wingnuts. Take your pick. It's just hate for something, wrapped up in a supposed righteous cause.

Jesus didn't go around bitch-slapping folks, literally or metaphorically, and there's no excuse to be going after consenting adults like this in such a personal matter.

Anonymous said...

I think there should be a way for gay couples to be able to have the medical visitation and other sorts of "rights" (that are important for all couples, married or not, to have) available to them.

However, the way I view marriage, it's a contract between you and the state and country that you have the potential (and the drive, assuming you have sex occasionally) to create children (future workers, innovators, and taxpayers), which will benefit the state and country in the future (unless you're a shitty parent and teach your kids to be a leech on society by your actions or inaction).

Gay couples can't promise that. They can't promise anything more to the state or country by their union (or at least, I haven't heard what they can promise yet). I don't see marriage (the way America defines it, as religious marriage is 100% different) as a right at all.

I see marriage as an agreement of returning good to your community by your bond with each other, and by consummating the marriage, you are (attempting to, if motility is low from all that pot you smoked in college) fulfilling your portion of the agreement.

This has nothing to do with religion. It has everything to do with why 1400 state and federal benefits should go to those who technically can have children vs. those who can't. I think everybody should be able to choose their sexual orientation, but I don't think that it is a right to demand marriage to anyone you want to.

Also, adoption or artifical insemination (for lesbians only of course) are stupid points to bring up against my argument, so please don't. You need a heterosexual union for adoption, and artificial insemination would only be available for lesbian couples (and is not a natural way to have children anyway, so it rules out that as a potential argument for marriage).



I'm really curious to hear if someone has an answer to this because I can't come up with a real definite benefit a gay couple getting married brings to the table.

Chez said...

There's no need to find a good counterpoint to your argument because it honestly isn't worth refuting.

You're basically saying that a right should be revoked or denied because, according to you, it offers no quantifiable benefit to society (and that marriage isn't a right so much as an obligation to the state).

How wonderfully dystopian of you there, Stalin.

michael said...

I see, anonymous. So when a woman hits menopause, the government should immediately dissolve her marriage since she can no longer pop out little drones for the state. How very "Rick Warren" of you.

Blonde Savant said...

I'll take the bait, I'm feeling cantankerous.

"You need a heterosexual union for adoption"

No, you don't. http://library.adoption.com/articles/gay-adoption.html

"artificial insemination would only be available for lesbian couples (and is not a natural way to have children anyway, so it rules out that as a potential argument for marriage)."

So, even if a lesbian couple is, in fact, able to promise the contribution of future workers, these children, since they are conceived by artificial insemination, wouldn't count? How convenient for your "argument". Does this render the children conceived through artificial insemination that heterosexual couples have null and void?

Please note, since I have a feeling that you will come back with some bullshit along the lines of "You are just mad that my opinion is different from yours", I do not have a problem with the difference of opinion (well, ok, I do, but that is not why I am arguing). My problem is that your whole argument is internally illogical. If you are going to go to bat on a site like Chez's, you need to do some research. And make some goddamn sense.

kanye said...

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Marriage: It's legal for everybody or it's legal for nobody. At least, that's what the 14th Amendment says.

Anonymous said...

Hay anonymous, not only is your garbage insulting to homosexuals but it's also to heterosexuals who are married and can't conceive. Why don't you go away until you start picketing demanding proof of fertility before marriage. Oh wait you'd actually have to get out of your basement first.

lakelady said...

dear anonymous (the first one) as a single, childless woman I find it ridiculous (not to mention insulting) that you - how do I put this simply so you'll understand, and without spewing the vicious invective boiling inside me that your post inspires - don't believe that I have anything positive to contribute to the future of society. I can't put it any more simply. How dare you discount millions of childless people. But then again you, and those who think like you, seem quite adept at treating others as second class citizens.

Michael J. West said...

I don't even see it as a double standard. To qualify it as a "standard" at all is to suggest more intellect went into this action than did.

It's childish cruelty, is what it is. It's rubbing salt in the wounds of a minority already reeling from a nasty and thoroughly unjust beatdown. A legal-political equivalent of "nenny-nenny-nyaah-nyaah."

It's bully-ism. Neither more nor less.

lakelady said...

let me make it even simpler anonymous. (the first one) Are you ready to require fertility tests for all who wish to be married? And deny marriage rights to heterosexual couples that are infertile? Go ahead, I dare you.

C Riedel-de Haen said...

Anonymous commenter with the twisted logic:

I am usually very proper when it comes to posting comments on this blog.

In this case, I can't help but take your words personally; for it just so happens that I am very close friends with a (married) straight couple who can't conceive because of medical issues.

What about their marriage, since they can't "bring any benefits to the state"?

And since when are children viewed as a commodity to be exchanged for rights?

Are you saying the State demands children in exchange for the privilege of marriage? That's gotta be really new!

And regardless of what you think the definition of marriage is, it is not a contract between a couple and the State, it is a contract between two people that is officialized by the State.

It also happens that I am a gay man. Normally a very respectful gay man who subscribes to the idea that most points of view should at least be considered.

But you are effectively telling me that if I wanted the government to recognize my relationship with my partner, that is impossible because neither one of us can be pregnant?

I am going to have to put aside my usual composure and correctness and tell you this:

SHUT THE FUCK UP

Anonymous said...

(I am Anon from 7:03 P.M.)

@ Chez: Marriage isn't a right. It never has been, religion or not. Every religion and government has always mandated that certain requirements be met before marriage would be recognized by the community. Just because you wanted to be married never meant you could just say "I do" and have it mean anything more than your feelings for each other, no matter how strong. Many religions have required certain ceremonies, and governments have always required various things of their own. Almost all societies have a minimum age for marriage.

This is why you have to have certain qualifications if you want to wed two people in America. Granted, some have abused marriage (I'm looking at you, one-night-Vegas-marriages) in the past, and will continue to do so, but that doesn't change the overall important meaning of marriage or the fact that marriage or lack of it is not an imperative requirement for life, liberty, or property.


@ michael: You're hearing what you want to hear. I never said you *had* to have children at any point during the marriage. The point is that, as a general rule, heterosexual couples can have children. Just because a woman has reached menopause or either spouse has had their tubes tied or their reproductive system has succumbed to a disease doesn't change the fact that at the most basic level a man and a woman can have a child together. At no natural point has it ever been possible for a man and a man or a woman and a woman to have a child.


@ Blonde Savant: Yes, you do need a heterosexual union for that adopted child to be conceived. That child could not exist without it. Therefore, adoption not possible without a heterosexual union at some point!

The only exception is artificial insemination, but that's a loophole only supported by advanced science, which is only available to those who can afford it (e.g. just like an HDTV, artificial insemination is a product that can't be enjoyed by all who want it), and therefore doesn't lend itself to the idea of being part of a "basic right."

The point is that since lesbian couples as a rule of nature CAN'T CONCEIVE without a man involved (This can also be seen as any child born to the couple is not a product of the union specifically, but a product of two unrelated individuals and therefore a bastard child, although that's not my personal perception here), and can only conceive through a specific method that costs a fair shake of money for every attempt.

@ kanye: You are afforded the protection of a specific law if that law applies to you. Currently gay marriage isn't recognized within the law. Therefore, they are not afforded the protections given to those with valid marriages.

Also, denying homosexuals marriage doesn't deprive them of life, liberty, or property they own (To my knowledge, feel free to rebutt here). Marriage only makes it easier for certain paperwork to be done automatically or more easily (e.g. Inheritance, wills, property transferrance).


@ Anonymous @ 8:56 P.M.: My brother and his wife can't conceive. However, the point still remains that aside individual conception problems, a man and woman have the basic physical and genetic structure to conceive children.



To all of you: I don't say these things out of malice, from a religious viewpoint, or because I don't want to see those who desire it to get married. I could care less personally if homosexuals could get married tomorrow.

However, it is still important to ask these questions and more importantly to have answers to them.

"Just because we want to" or "It's a right, I swear!" isn't a convincing argument. How is marriage a right when the only way you can build a family in a homosexual union is through heterosexual means of some kind (either through adoption or insemination).

Also, for those of you who would say that family means whatever YOU think it means, the majority of the world and America see family, or rather the "core family unit", at its most basic definition, as "parents and children", not two people living together sharing bills and property. Granted, more and more families are falling apart with more and more single parents and step-parents entering the fray in today's society, but I personally see that as a breakdown of our culture more than a breakdown of the definition of the core family unit.


You don't have to convince me of anything. I'm simply asking some questions here. Who you really have to convince in the end is the rest of the world.

Chez said...

You make clear points and make them well, and I obviously thank you for taking the time to think this through.

But a lot of what you're saying does in fact dilute the argument. In the end, it comes down to what Kanye said: We're a country of laws and not men; if something is a civil right (and like it or not that, in almost every possible way, is what marriage has been since the beginning) granted to one it should be granted to all. Of course there will always be stipulations and limits, but to purposely exclude an entire segment of the consentual adults in this country because you don't agree with their lifestyle and believe that it somehow goes against God and nature is wrong.

Please remember that years ago this country deprived blacks of the rights and privileges granted to others simply because many believed that granting them those freedoms would be to go against nature. We should be past the point where consenting, loving and caring adults are told that they can't be entitled to get married and enjoy the benefits that are attached to that legal contract (and there are many).

Chez said...

Oh yeah, and one more thing:

I'm sure someone somewhere has already brought this up, but isn't it both arrogant and flat-out wrong to void a marriage simply because your state doesn't recognize it?

There are a few states that do actually recognize gay marriage and, if we're really getting technical here, the Full Faith and Credit clause should mean that a contract binding in one state is accepted by all. My point is that the argument being used by the Prop 8 architects -- that California doesn't accept as valid gay marriages so therefore they should be nullified -- is essentially horseshit. As I said -- they're just trying to grandfather in the dissolution of a contract that they really shouldn't have the right to dissolve.

Felis Femina said...

Okay, just a quick comment to "Anonymous who everyone is picking on" -

Heterosexual couples can have children with or without a marriage contract therefore even the possibility of having children really has no bearing on marriage.

"The family unit" means many different things around the world. There are countries that allow polygamy, there are countries that allow young girls to marry. "The family unit", especially in modern times, has a variety of meanings. My sister and her boyfriend have a child, my boyfriend's brother and his girlfriend have a child. I would consider them families (as does the government).

You say you don't really care one way or another, so why are you spewing such igonorant nonsense?

Deacon Blue said...

I've said this on my blog a couple times I think, and in comments at other blogs, but why the hell not here too, right?

I am firmly of the opinion that at least in terms of strictly civil unions (no church involved), gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry.

However, as a matter of practicality, what is needed more is a FIRM, CLEAR, fucking no-loophole damn definition of "marriage."

In order to defuse arguments that homosexual marriage is a "slippery slope" and to minimize comparisons to bigamy/polygamy and such, it needs to be clear. IMHO, it should be something along the lines of:

At least 18 (though I'd prefer 21 myself) years old.

Two people ONLY.

You must both be human.

Gender not an issue.

Now, in my heart and guy, I would say that "first order" relatives also shouldn't be allowed to marry, but as a matter of practical fairness to anyone freaky enough to like incest and be consenting adults, I don't really see a civil/secular reason it should be disallowed, as much as I'd like it to be.

Polygamy should be forbidden simply because of the complications to divorce, custody and inheritance laws, among other things, that it would create.

I also would like to see divorce be a LOT harder to get for most people. Not because of any religious desire but out of the hope that people will pick better and think twice if divorce is an even more painful process to go through.

Vermillion said...

Deacon Blue kinda clued me in on something...

Couldn't this anti-gay-marriage thing fall under sexual discrimination?

Think about it. The basis of this argument is that two human beings should not be allowed to enter a legal contract based on their genders. As if only a male and female can get married, but somehow two guys will suddenly lose their minds and molest the hell out of people the second the ink dries on the paperwork. Now, I am not an expert on the law or anything, but I thought that was pretty much considered grounds for legal action or more.

Wouldn't that fall under the civil rights purview as refusal on the basis of gender? Couldn't the supporters, I dare say, sue the government (in this case California) and/or the Prop 8 pushers for sexual discrimination?

As for Anonymous, the only way your point would work (that homosexual unions need heterosexual unions to increase their families and therefore fulfill their obligation) is if somehow heterosexual couplings would be invalidated by homosexual ones.

You make it sound like if gays got married, magically all breeders will suddenly stop wanting to have children. Despite the propaganda from those who don't support such things, homosexuals are still a considerable minority. So their inability to naturally procreate is nullified by the billions of heteros who CAN. They will be able to produce more than enough children to make up for any deficiency.

As far as "natural" procreation, that is baloney. The government essentially doesn't care WHO does the job, as long as it is done. True, there are some stipulations, but they are there more to enhance productivity, and method of conception is not considered.

Besides, if having natural-born humans was so important, then why even have computers or robots? No one could argue they are alive, but many industries replace human workers for them due to better productivity. Why waste time hoping your citizenry can produce at all, when you can have a definitive source of production that can function for longer periods with fewer resources?

Spencer said...

Hit it on the head at @8:45 Chez. Article 4, Section 1 of the Untied States Constitution reads:

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

A legally recognized marriage from any one state HAS to be recognized by all other states. The only way to effectively bar gay people from marriage is at the federal level, and I can't see that happening.

And Anon, the problem with your logic is that the purpose of the "family unit" (mates at the most basic level, but more accurately reflected in extended family groups such as clans or tribes), contemporarily represented in "marriage," has never been about producing offspring but rather raising offspring. Homo sapiens sapiens is a very slow developing species that requires nurture by attendant adults through its relatively long gestational and developmental periods. Family groups provide a stable environment for full development and nurture isn't limited to only the parents. Anthropologically speaking, the atomic family is the REALLY new kid on the block.

Anonymous said...

(I am Anon from 7:03 P.M. and 7:10 A.M.)

@ lakelady (both posts): I apologize for wording my thoughts in such a way that you would be offended. My intention was not to offend, nor to discredit ANYONE'S life or contributions to society, married or not.

Married or not, homosexual or not, everybody has the opportunity to and does bring good to society. My point of contention specifically deals with what gay marriage brings to the table, and only questions that. I know full well that all people who are decent citizens benefit society, and would never imagine discrediting that.

I apologize again for failing to properly explain my position, lakelady.


@ C Riedel-de Haen: I would have been most interested in responding to your points, but I am overwhelmed by how absolutely childish your response turned out to be after you brought up your specific points.

Is it such a wonder that people won't hear what gays have to say when they respond with such bile over a simple question? I asked for an answer with genuine interest and all I got was anger and incivility.


@ Chez 8:29 A.M.: On the contrary, marriage has not been anywhere near a civil right since the beginning. Why do you think the word "consummate" enters in so frequently with sentences concerning marriage?

In fact, and this will undoubtedly re-anger those who have friends or who themselves can't conceive, but there was a practice in colonial America called "handfasting", which was allowed in several of the colonies. This was a ceremony not done in a church, but was simply a public verbal agreement between a man and a woman, after which they would go bump uglies. If after a year the woman had not become pregnant, the marriage (or handfast) was considered annulled. If the woman did become pregnant, this agreement automatically came to be recognized as a full-fledged marriage.

In addition, and I point this out only due to the majority of America being part of Christianity or a derivation thereof, Catholic canon law states that, and I quote, a marriage has been consummated when the "spouses have performed between themselves in a human fashion a conjugal act which is suitable in itself for the procreation of offspring, to which marriage is ordered by its nature and by which the spouses become one flesh."

Society has long thought of marriage as a means to formalize the intent to build a family through procreation. Marriages have also been arranged in other cultures for thousands of years, with no thought to love or feelings, but simply to continuing dynasties, legacies, and rulerships by furthering bloodlines.

This doesn't mean I think these practices were necessarily right, but more that I am pointing out that marriage has long been a method by which societies grew quickly and maintained a strong sense of loyalty and family within that society.

This is why many religions think that the crumbling of the traditional familial structure in America signals problems with the entire society and culture itself, and the attempt to legalize gay marriage is just an affirmation of their fear, whether that fear is truly a justified one or not.

As to your last paragraph @ 8:29 A.M., I have already stated that there should be a way for anyone to specify another person as family for many of the clauses outlined for married couples only. I view it as a serious deficiency in our current social structure that I can't specify someone I feel just as close to as other family as a visitor to me in the hospital.

That doesn't mean I agree that marriage between homosexuals has a societal point. As I've said before, I'm not against gay marriage personally, I just don't see why it matters whether it's allowed or not if we could extract certain specific clauses out of marriage-specific terms and allow something of a "civil union" or "family recognizal".

@ Chez's second post @ 8:45 A.M.: If a state declares that marriages meeting certain terms aren't recognized in that state, and the marriage isn't federally recognized but was only recognized by that state, then I believe that by the letter of the law that marriage would indeed be invalidated.

As to the Full Faith And Credit Clause, my understanding is that it applies only to other states, and the Supreme Court has made a distinction between legislative measures and common law (which marriage would fall into) and judgments, with judgments receiving much greater precedence. This is why 39 other states (as of 2004) have been able to pass their own measures explicitly stating their refusal to recognize same-sex marriages, many explicitly stating this refusal with an additional clause to deny recognition for same-sex marriages from other states.


@ Felis Femina: It is common knowledge that married couples will often stay together, even if they hate each other's guts, for the sake of their children. Most societies and religions recognize this too, as a formal community-recognized bonding of two people is a strong incentive to remain together when the common meaning and purpose of marriage throughout the last few thousand years has been to provide stability and support for the current as well as future generation (and potentially even the second future generation in the event that a grandparent or grandparents take full or partial care of a grandchild).

There is little incentive to remain together if you're not married in this society because the law specifically protects children of a marriage even in the event of a divorce. This is part of the reason why marriage grants so many benefits (1400+, remember? Over 1000 of those are federal as well), because there are also stipulations that are enforced with regard to the product of that marriage (e.g. children), assuming the union does produce any children.

In the case of polygamy or marrying young girls, those unions have the same capability to produce children, polygamy especially having a very high chance of producing a large quantity of children. Both of these allowances are useful in a society which needs to increase its size quickly.

Also, both of these types of "special case" unions you bring up still fall into the same idea of the core family unit of "parents and children".


@ Deacon Blue: I essentially agree with you. The main reason there is such debate on this subject is that there is no clearly defined definition of marriage (as far as the law is concerned). If there were a clear definition, then there would be far less discussion about this, one way or the other. In the end, it's up to the Supreme Court to decide, if there ever is defined a meaning for marriage.

Polygamy is only necessary for floundering or new societies anyway. I don't think polygamy should be expressly ruled out, but I don't think that polygamist marriages should be allowed at this point or for the foreseeable future either, because there really is no point and as we've seen it creates an undue strain on the communities which practice it currently.

I agree that divorce should be more difficult. I honestly think that if two involved have children who are minors (either of their own body or through adoption), and even before their divorce is considered (beyond reasonable exceptions such as adultery), they should be taken out to a public place and whipped (10 times or more, humiliation is the goal here). Only then should they be allowed to further pursue the dissolution of their family.

But then, I think that people should think harder on those they marry anyway, so divorce should largely be out of the question when marriage does occur. Sadly, we do not live in a society where that is reality, and as such I agree that divorce should become more difficult in order to provide better incentive to carefully consider the partner you choose.


@ Vermillion: It isn't that the marriage of two homosexuals invalidates the unions of others, but that they receive benefits from a union which the government and society in general over time has granted recognition to in order to support potential, current, and future families (obviously coming from heterosexual unions). Society has put these incentives in place in order to provide stability for those involved in the marriage, whether they be the initial couple (with the benefits associated with inheritance, joint tax filing, joint [other paperwork], etc.) or the children (child support in the event of divorce, extra money back per child on tax returns, etc.).

The point is: Why allow this kind of marriage when it doesn't fulfill society's definition or general purpose of marriage up to this point? Are we attempting to change that definition, or are we asking for an exception to that definition? Could a rose by another name not smell as sweet? (e.g. "civil union" with many of the same benefits as marriage vs. "marriage" as it stands today)

As to your computer/robot theory: Would new and better robots and/or computers exist without future generations of humans (short of Terminator/Matrix scenarios)? As we well know, there are many things computers simply can't do at this point in time.

That's another discussion entirely, however.

Vermillion said...

Still the argument you put forth only works if the number of workers being produced somehow drops.

Social Security is a prime example: the trouble started when the number of retirees began to overtake the number of working adults putting money into the program.

Thing is, if two gay people get married, they themselves still contribute to society, so it isn't like their labor is lost. By adopting, the prevent the system from having to spend resources on another unwanted mouth, and a better chance for that child to successfully enter the workforce instead of, say, becoming a criminal and again drawing resources from the state.

This "social contract" bent of yours hold no water simply because nobody HAS to get married to produce an offspring that can serve the government. True, in the past marriage was encouraged in such a manner, but that was more for the edification of any legal claims stemming from legitimacy or unification of power than anything else. Now with the advent of science and the evolution of the laws, there is no longer any need for such strict definitions of marriage.

So the REAL problem is this: WHY does it still concern "society" what two loving adults want to do? The only reason you feel this is a valid point is because you already shut out any real counterpoint. Regardless of what you may consider "family" or even "human" (which, by the way, you argue that non-vaginally born babies are NOT), if the law and the government acknowledges an in-vitro, or an adoption, or even a clone as a viable family, then they have to do so for EVERYONE.

As far as your question about the robot/computer thing: yes, actually. Even now, there are scientists developing programs that can literally invent new technologies on their own based on evolutionary theory. It may not have the speed or razzamatazz of a Tesla or Pascal, but it has been shown to work (note that imagination, while unique to humans, isn't really required). And there were plenty of jobs that many people thought machine would never be able to take over a long time ago, and they were proven wrong. So it is more of a question of when and how than if.

Nevada Blue said...

Proponents of 8 have never had a sustainable argument, and the law won't stand up to the court in the challenges that will follow. At least, not unless the judges involved don't take their jobs too seriously.

Anonymous, your own words (in both posts) belie your concern for answers and spotlight your malice.

For example:

“I think everyone should be able to choose their sexual orientation.”

In the first post you describe how marriage for everyone should be what you think it is, then in the second post chastise people lest they say families should be what they think they are, when you say it should actually be what the majority thinks. (If you research prop 8, the civil rights movement or even google the term tyranny of the majority, you may learn something about the error of subjecting individual civil rights to majority opinion.)

You say marriage is all about procreation, thus gays shouldn’t be able to wed, then you conveniently excuse all other non-procreating, wedded couples from the equation based on how the numbers are too insignificant to matter. How very convenient. I say the number of gays that would marry if they could, whether or not they have children through whatever means, are just as insignificant to the equation. That is especially true if you take overpopulation into account. Why are you singling out this group of people? Because you are rationalizing.

As has been mentioned by others here, you are also leaving out from these 1400 benefits those children that are headed by gay families and single parent families, not to mention heterosexual parents that never marry. That bulldozes your original argument implying that marriage is for protecting procreation for the benefit of the state and country.

In your first post you ask if someone has an answer to your bigoted conundrum of what benefit a gay couple getting married could bring (I assume to state and country?)

Gay marriage benefits heterosexual marriage – If gay marriage became federally legal today, tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of gay couples would race to the alter, immediately driving up, marriage’s dismal 50% success rate. Also, on a competitive level, heterosexual couples might be less inclined to divorce knowing that gay couples might “win” the marriage duration statistic.

Gay marriage benefits the children of gay couples – Like it or not, gay couples do have babies. They might use artificial insemination, adoption, or more likely, fuck a friend (it’s a dirty task, but many manage). Knowing they will have these children, it behooves the government to offer these children the same benefits as children of heterosexual couples.

Gay marriage promotes family values – Gay couples feel no family, societal or governmental pressure to marry and become a family, yet they do so anyway. That is the very definition of commitment and love.

Your argument to Kanye that the 14th Amendment doesn’t apply was a very convenient catch-22. It doesn’t work, though. A law does apply to gay marriage, and that is any law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. If otherwise marriage eligible adults cannot marry whom they choose, but I can (I am a marriage eligible heterosexual adult), then their 14th Amendment rights have been violated.

C Riedel-de Haen said...

@ Anon 3:45 pm

I did not want a response from you; my questions were entirely rhetorical.

What you have posted does not make sense; it's illogical, and is contrary to fact.

Therefore, I would like to kindly request that you stop spewing nonsense.

I am sure you mean no harm; but your arguments are so fallacious that they end up being worse than homophobic hate-speech.

There. I was polite and gracious and did not cuss!

Oh, and a response is neither sought nor needed.

E said...

I'd love to say to the "Yes on Prop 8" people: Isn't there more important things to worry about, like an economy in the dumps, corrupt politicians, a bailout that's failing and companies who don't give a shit about the populace, a world reputation that is probably the lowest it's ever been, two wars that have been going on for nearly 6 years, unrest in many parts of the world.

But since they insist on bringing it up, the only answer is court precedents to stop these legal challenges, and as everyone above can agree on, an extremely clear definition of marriage, for every human being on earth.

RottweilerTOM said...

I cannot believe I am so late to the dance (no pun intended) and will write something substantively very shortly!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes you have to look to the past to better appreciate what is going on in the present. I saw Milk a few nights ago. It chronicles the life of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office. His amazing work towards human rights can be summed in his statement, "I'm not a candidate, I'm part of a movement." This movement included his fight againt California's Prop. 6, which attempted to ban homosexuals from teaching in California. Since then, we've made significant strides thanks to courageous people like him, but Prop. 8 proves the struggles for HUMAN rights are far from over.

e said...

I recently saw Milk as well, and if we consider it a fairly accurate portrayal of the time period, then it's amazing how little the opposition's message has changed in the last 30 years.

RottweilerTOM said...

You want to see a better portrayal of Milk, go pick up the "The Times of Harvey Milk"....it will kick your ass with various emotions (that is if you are open-minded and intelligent enough to appreciate one of the most amazing personal documentaries ever made!!!!)