What Now for Gay Marriage Supporters?

By Alan Stewart Carl | Related entries in California, Civil Liberties, Marriage, Religion

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I thought California’s Proposition 8 would fail and California would become the first state where the voters themselves actually voiced approval for gay marriage. Obviously, I was wrong.

Turns out the progressive coalition that swept Barack Obama into office is not so progressive, at least not on the issue that many on the left consider the seminal civil rights struggle of our time. So, what does this mean?

The easy answer is that we’re still a nation of bigots and over fifty percent of the electorate, even in liberal California, are intolerant fools. But considering that we just elected a black man president, the “intolerant” argument is, at best, imprecise. In fact, I think it misses the point entirely.

I don’t believe Prop. 8 passed because a majority of the people hate homosexuals or refuse to tolerate them. I think it passed because a significant number of the population didn’t “buy” that gay marriage is a civil rights issues.

The proposition had nothing to do with granting homosexuals voting rights, or allowing them to integrate the school system or even protecting them from workplace discrimination. The issue was the radical redefinition of marriage, of the state telling religious groups that their centuries old beliefs are invalid and that the state knows better than their God. To supporters of Prop 8, the issue wasn’t the civil rights of gays. It was the religious rights of those who do not want to be told how to practice their faith.

Personally, I support gay marriage quite fervently. But the Prop 8 passage has alerted me to the need to pay far more attention and give more respect to the opinions stated above. We cannot ramrod this measure through American society. If we want gay marriage to be accepted in our culture, we have to prove that the act would in no way infringe on religious liberty. Churches that do not recognize the holiness of gay marriage should in no way be obligated or coerced into performing or accepting such marriages — just as we would never expect a rabbi to marry Catholics or a priest to marry Muslims.

Gay marriage is a civil rights issue. But its implementation raises religious liberty issues. In a perfect world, we could completely separate the granting of the legal rights of partnership with the religious consecration of marriage. The state would issue “partnership” certificates. Religions would bestow marriage. But that’s a farfetched notion and not one we can reasonably pursue.

No, the solution we have now is the right one. But the approach is wrong. Gay marriage supporters should regroup, stop the cries of “intolerance!” and find a way to assuage the concerns of religious communities. Only then do I think we can avoid more disappointing results like the one experienced last Tuesday.


This entry was posted on Friday, November 7th, 2008 and is filed under California, Civil Liberties, Marriage, Religion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

34 Responses to “What Now for Gay Marriage Supporters?”

  1. Rich Horton Says:

    How is the use of the term “marriage” a civil rights issue? Really, this is all this is coming down to. “Civil Union” legislation is not really a controversial matter in this country. (Not really.) There are very few people who have a serious problem with having a set way to handle the legal issues that can arise for long standing partnerships.

    The use of the term “marriage” doesn’t touch upon ANY of those legal matters. Now, you said: “Churches that do not recognize the holiness of gay marriage should in no way be obligated or coerced into performing or accepting such marriages”…but that argument cuts both ways. If you are a gay couple and you can find a church that will say you are married why exactly does the state need to ratify it? It doesn’t.

    Real civil rights are confined to legal libeerties, duties or responsibilities, by definition. Where is the legal infringement here?

    The attack of the traditional meaning of the word “marriage” is coming across as an attempt to shove this understanding down the throats of traditonally minded people in the spirit of “LOOK AT WHAT HATEFUL BIGOTS YOU CHRISTIAN SUCH AND SUCH ARE!” This is the reason why even California votes the way it does.

    There are bigots on boths sides…and I wish they would take their arguments about semantics elsewhere. (For me this is the same as Christian groups trying to push creationism on everyone. I just want to scream…give it a rest!)

  2. Rob Says:

    I guess I need to think about this some more, because NO on Prop 8 seems like a no-brainer.

    I can not fathom why anyone would want to discriminate against gays.

    But they do, I’ve read the arguments for Prop 8, but they seem wacky to me. I need to find the well thought out opinions for prop 8.

    Does anyone have any links?

  3. Awesome0 Says:

    As a supporter of Proposition 8, I believe this is the message that does need to be sent. Not I hate you because you hate me. In addition, I also feel that the optimal solution would be one like in Europe where everyone gets civil unions from the government, and marriage is kept separate. In the interim, I think immediate changes should be granted that granted civil unions ALL of the FEDERAL rights provided to marriages. In large part, supporters of proposition 8 feel marriage is a word that already has a definition they don’t want to change. However, that should not prevent the federal government from extending the rights of a marriage to a domestic partnership.

  4. John Says:

    I have a solution to all this horseshit. Why don’t we make all marriages civil unions. There are no Marriage Licenses, only Civil Union Licenses. The churches can decide what the definition of “Marriage” is. One Church, for Example the Catholic church often won’t consider a marriage unless both convert to catholicism, the same may be true of mosques as well. They have the choice whether or not they perform the ceremonies. That way right wing people can keep their term under their own denomination. All the other marriages and religions are fake, not real.

    Makes sense. Let’s do it.

  5. kranky kritter Says:

    “All men are create equal” pretty much does it for me. I’d prefer it if individuals in the states were persuaded to grant gay folks the civil rights they deserve, but it would not trouble me very much if scotus ruled that the failure to grant all couples the right to marry was unconstitutional, due to the previously stated passage and the well-accepted notion that “separate is inherently unequal. ” I question the logic of this latter point, but if it was good enough for Brown versus the Board of Ed, it’s good enough for pink versus the socons.

    It does trouble me to hear someone notice that as things stand, it is up to gay folks to persuade the rest of us that they deserve equal rights. The very point of such basic rights is that they don’t rest on the whims of others.

    It would also greatly trouble me if at some point churches as private establishments were forced to acknowledge and thereby sanctify unions they regarded as an abomination. However, the current developments concern what the STATES will or will not acknowledge. As previously discussed many times, the most satisfying formulation would be for government to acknowledge only contractual couplings, and to get out of the sanctification business altogether.

    But recent events only reaffirm that this is unlikely to happen. Most traditional folks are quite comfortable with churches being in bed with the government on marriage. I think that’s unsatisfactory, but it is what it is.

    So Alan, you are probably right to suggest the path you do. But frankly, it’s a god-damned shame, is what it is. I have a very hard time believing that Jesus would have voted for proposition 8.

    I shouldn’t have to say the following, but no, I’m not gay.

  6. blackoutyears Says:

    1) I got *married* at the JoP. My wife and I are referred to as *married* without church sanction. Talk about semantics. It’s ridiculous to say that my agnostic self (my wife is a person of faith) is referred to as married but a same-sex couple won’t be. This is a nakedly religion-inspired double-standard from less open-minded demoninations. Atheists are called *married*, yet gays who believe in God can’t be? Makes sense.

    2) I haven’t heard one good argument to convince me that the slippery slope, church-infringement line of thought is anything but worst-case scenario fearmongering. You guys are verging on Santorum-style gay-marriage=bestiality crapola by assuming that people who simply want equal treatment are going to open the door for things which would not be rationally (and yes, I’m aware of the implications and limitations of that word) tolerated. The greatest worry is that churches won’t be able to defend their rights in court? Since when did this country become so afraid of litigation? The idea that suddenly the gay community is going to force every church in the land to do what straight couples can’t do (namely, make a church marry people whom they don’t wish to) is absurd. That’s a real paucity of rigor.

    3) I have no interest in calling this anything but intolerance. To that degree I understand the fear on the part of fundamentalists. At least they’re honest that this is mostly a battle of philosophy and values and don’t resort to the sorts of *it’s a legal question* cop-outs I see from mods and mod-cons. Scaling back the intolerance rhetoric may be politically savvy and expedient, but some things are worth taking a firm stand on.

  7. Alan Stewart Carl Says:

    Rich, I think the main problem with not calling it marriage under the law is that it creates a separate-but-equal situation.

    Now, I readily admot that the only legal goal is for homosexual couples to be able to legally bond themselves with the same rights and privileges as can straight couples. In a world without passion and perfect reason, civil unions would likely be acceptable. But emotion is very tied up in this issue and I think it’s a legitimate argument to say that if you don’t call it marriage and don’t consider it marriage under the law, then it won’t be treated in society like marriage. It would leave gays second class citizens.

    I don’t buy all of that, but I don’t believe the solution John lays out is attainable in the real world. I’ve concluded that the most direct path to equality is by pushing for gay marriage in the way that the failure of Prop 8 would have allowed.

    That said, I should add that I oppose using the courts to achieve these ends. This is a matter that needs to be worked out within society and approved by society. As such, I accept that my opnion on gay marriage is clearly the minority opinion and, if I want things to change, I and others need to make better arguments. Accusing people of bigotry just isn’t going to get it done.

  8. leapsecond Says:

    Rich, there are benefits to being married, including:

    Access to Military Stores
    Assumption of Spouse’s Pension
    Bereavement Leave
    Immigration
    Insurance Breaks
    Medical Decisions on Behalf of Partner
    Sick Leave to Care for Partner
    Social Security Survivor Benefits
    Sick Leave to Care for Partner
    Tax Breaks
    Veteran’s Discounts
    Visitation of Partner in Hospital or Prison

    So you’re technically denying gays those benefits by preventing them from being married.

    And, by the way, if you had to go to a church to get married, how would an atheistic or agnostic couple get married?

    The answer is, you don’t have to go to a church to marry anyone. You can go to a town hall, grab a marriage certificate, and have a judge marry you and your spouse.

  9. Cy Says:

    :ahem:

    Personally, I support civil rights quite fervently. But passage of Jim Crow laws has alerted me to the need to pay far more attention and give more respect to the opinions stated above. We cannot ramrod this measure through American society. If we want civil rights to be accepted in our culture, we have to prove that the act would in no way infringe on religious liberty. Churches that do not recognize the importance of the rights of all to participate in democracy should in no way be obligated or coerced into performing or accepting such expansion of the franchise.

  10. blackoutyears Says:

    I’m an agnostic (my wife is a Baptist) who got married at the JoP. We’re *married*. Two atheists, as long as they’re man and woman, are *married* but a gay couple who believe in God aren’t? Makes sense.

    Alan, I appreciate your stance as one of political expedience and as a well-meaning stab at tolerance. To be honest though, I’m not interested in coddling bigotry. I’m white and my wife is black. Bigotry would have prevented us from getting married in the darker corners of this country. Frankly, I respect the socons who freely admit that this is a debate over philosophy and values far more than the evasive *it’s a legal matter* arguments that we see from intellectual conservatives like Mr. Horton. That’s where the battle needs to be joined. I’m generally a relativist to a fault, but this is an issue of right and wrong imo.

  11. Jeff Says:

    “Churches that do not recognize the holiness of gay marriage should in no way be obligated or coerced into performing or accepting such marriages”

    This is not the issue here. Gay marriage has nothing to do with churches recognizing that marriage. And the state cannot force churches to recognize gay marriages even if it wanted to.

    The issue has to do with the state recognizing the marriage. Use of the term “marriage” is a civil rights issue as long as the state is defining that term. If the state recognizes heterosexual marriages, they should recognize homosexual marriages as well. If the state wants to call them all civil unions, but with the benefits of marriage, they should ALL be called civil unions, homosexual or heterosexual. As long as there are civil benefits to being in a marriage, then the state should not discriminate against couples that want to be married.

  12. John Says:

    Where has it been said in any of this that a church would be forced to perform these ceremonies. The thing is, there are a number of Christian Churches that already perform these ceremonies, with or without the legal contract (Marriage License) to back that up. The problem is that if the state calls it marriage and other Christian churches recognize the Marriages, then it gives it some credibility that these churches are speaking for all denominations and for God himself. Then it’s up to the more Right Churches to stand up and call the liberal churches as heretics.

  13. Jeff Says:

    Another point about civil unions vs. marriage. From Wikipedia entry on “civil union”:

    “The first civil unions in the United States were offered by the state of Vermont in 2000. The federal government does not recognize these unions, and under the U.S. Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 (DOMA), other U.S. states are not obliged to recognize them.”

    Civil unions for homosexual couples is not “separate, but equal”, it is definitely unequal. It is more than just an issue with terminology.

  14. kranky kritter Says:

    I prefer not to use the courts the achieve these ends. But justice delayed is justice denied. If scotus someday rams it down everyone’s throats, we’ll deserve it. If the Supreme Court must be the broom that sweeps this into the well-deserved dustbin of American history, then sweep, baby, sweep.

    I find it comical that conservatives have been reduced to hiding behind the notion that it’s simply a vocabulary issue.

    “There’s this word see, and only WE deserve the right to use it to describe what WE do. Those other folks, well maybe they can sort of do almost the same thing over there in the corner, as long as they keep it down and don’t throw it in our faces. But they have to call it something else, or it will hurt our feelings and destroy our culture.”

    In the history of crappy arguments, that one is right up there.

  15. George Mauer Says:

    Interesting that the discussion here is not about gay marriage but about how best to get it approved as an institution (by that name or another).

    And thanks a lot Alan for that RealClearPolitics link. That was really interesting and I agree with the author wholeheartedly. Now I just have to be careful not to mention any of it to my girlfriend who’s currently completely engrossed in that same Thomas Frank book.

  16. mike mcEachran Says:

    I believe this (obviously) is a generational civil rights issue slaming into cultural and religious tradition. Many otherwise moderate and left-leaning people have a hard time seeing the equivalence of gay unions and the marriage of their parents and grandparents. I am a gay man in a monogomous relationship and I still struggle with it. I’m sure this is latent shame and homophobia in me, and if I have latent doubt, how much more do those who have nothing at stake? I wish we had accepted civil unions when we had the chance, flown a little under the radar with time to prove ourselves, and allowed tradition to catch up. Like black civil rights I think this will take more than one generation to reach full equivalency. (How ironic it is to me that minorities were so instrumental in the passage of this proposition)

  17. Kristen Says:

    It highly upsets me that so many people keep pushing this “don’t use the courts to ram it down our throats” line. Brown v. Board of Education did just that, but I don’t hear people complaining that it was wrong (though I’m sure people did at the time). To me, it is a simple civil liberties debate and if there are going to be laws/amendments created that will effectively take rights away from a group of people, it is the court’s RESPONSIBILITY to respond to that! It is their job to ensure the rights of the people and make sure the the laws being passed are constitutional!

    And this law along with DOMA is clearly unconstitutional! How DOMA hasn’t been struck down for having the audacity to say that it is better than Article IV, Section 1 of the United States Constitution is beyond me (that’s the Full Faith and Credit clause). How can any law can be passed that clearly goes against the 14th Amendment?

    “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.”

    It says it all right there to me.

    This isn’t a religious question. The churches do not have to sanctify anything here. I can’t find the date that marriage certificates/licenses were first required for the government to recognize it, but as far as I know it has been around as long as the country has. Those were required for straight couples. It would be one thing if priviledges weren’t given to those who obtain these licenses, but since they are the government should not be able to deny them to a group of people.

    Let’s try the argument this way:

    1. Marriage is a religious institution.

    2. For the purpose of administrative convenience, our civil governments have constructed a framework in which to deal with society in the context of the domestic partnerships that people tend to enter into anyway. Because the term was already commonly used for such partnerships, “marriage” became the legal term as well.

    3. The First Amendment prohibits Congress (and state legislatures, through the Fourteenth) from making any law respecting the establishment of religion. This means that the religious institution of marriage cannot be established by any of our governments. Thus, no restrictions or regulations may be placed on civil marriage exclusively for religious reasons.

    4. This “framework” mentioned in #2 has resulted in the bestowal of a system of rights applicable to domestic partnerships that are granted to partners in a civil marriage.

    5. The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees all American citizens equal protection under the law. This means that any rights granted to some must be granted to all. Because same-sex domestic partnerships do exist alongside heterosexual ones, these partnerships must be treated equally and afforded the same rights. It helps to put a reminder right here that religious arguments are not permitted due to #3, which includes any claims that homosexuality is “unnatural” or “contrary to normal human behavior” or “icky.” Lots of people said (still say) that about interracial marriage too, but it doesn’t mean they’re right, and it doesn’t mean they have the right to ban it, even if “they” are 99% of the population.

    If you were talking about a business partnership, the government would not be allowed to refuse to recognize a partnership between, say, two women. But state governments regularly do so when you’re talking about a domestic one and enshrine such restrictions in their constitutions. I don’t get it. I mean, I do, but I don’t get how our courts are overlooking this.

  18. blackoutyears Says:

    Mike, you’re a lot more reasonable than I am; perhaps my outrage is a luxury you can’t afford. I do disagree with the idea that there are those with nothing at stake. I consider this to be something in which we all have a stake. In a society like ours, which flatters itself as some exemplar, injustice diminishes everyone who is mentally and rationally equipped to know better. I see why intolerance flourishes on a daily basis. The family I married into is highly distrustful of whites, mostly because they don’t fraternize with us and thus never have their prejudices challenged. As with my situation, the key to breaking through and gaining a plurality on this is exposure. Personally I’m counting on Tim Gunn. Who doesn’t love that guy?

    Seriously, though, there are a lot of us who have your back, Mike.

  19. wj Says:

    For those who see gay marriage as an issue of religious freedom, consider this: Within my lifetime (and I’m not on Social Security yet), my (heterosexual) marriage would have been illegal for the simple fact that it is interracial. And that legal situation was defended, loudly and vigorously, as a matter of religious freedom, because “the Bible forbids interracial marriage.”

    To answer Rich’s question, “marriage” is a civil rights issue because the law uses the term to mandate a large number fo rights and responsibilities. Domestic partnerships, etc. get some, but not all, of the rights. And entail very few of the responsibilities — which is why the vast majority of them are heterosexual couples who could legally marry, but choose not to.

  20. ExiledIndependent Says:

    Such is the peril of living in a democracy. And I’m thinking that there are African Americans out there who would be more than a little offended by people equating gay marriage with their civil rights struggles and successes.

  21. Alan Stewart Carl Says:

    Exiled: you have a point. It was, in fact, the large African-American support for Prop 8 that helped it pass. Hispanics also faovred it, although less so than blacks. Whites opposed it by a small margin.

    Take that for what it’s worth.

    As for the courts mandating gay marriage, you can intellectually develop a constitutional reasoning but it does require interpreting the Constitution in a way the framers and the writers of the 14th amendment hardly meant. Just because it’s morally right doesn’t mean our Constitution requires it. Sometimes, fights take more work than a court case. And equating gay marriage to the racial integration of schools is not apples to apples. The post civil-war era amendments were clearly put in place to create racial equality. It’s not radical to overrule laws that seek to subvert the very words of those amendments. It is rather radical to find a right to gay marriage in amendments that clearly never intended to be so broad.

    But that’s my personal quirk. I know it must seem odd to support gay marriage but to be hesitant about using one of the most direct remedies. Just as some see it odd that I would choose to treat opponents not as bigots but as people worthy of addressing in civil, respectful ways. I just don’t want to see a replay of the abortion issue where the matter, by being taken out of the hands of the people, becomes a divisive issue that remains a flash point 35 years later. That’s not healthy for a culture. I believe we have to do the hard work of changing minds, so that’s my focus. That doesn’t make me any less committed to the ideal.

  22. blackout Says:

    Well, Alan, no one said we wouldn’t be respectful and civil. I generally address people as bigots in the nicest possible way. And I certainly don’t support court-ordained equality on the issue. It should be a natural epiphany to realize that it’s never the place of one citizen to oppress their fellows, especially in the name of Jesus.

  23. Chris Says:

    I’m still waiting for that realization to hit them Blackout. People often don’t act like the Idol that they worship. Maybe they just have never read the bible…

  24. Quote du Jour on Same-Gender Marriage/Prop 8 Says:

    [...] Stewart Carl at Donklephant observed: I don’t believe Prop. 8 passed because a majority of the people hate homosexuals or refuse to [...]

  25. Jenny Says:

    Sorry, but the state does not do marriage, that is a religious sacrement. The state recognizes marriage, because they recognized that it ensured the parentage of the children created inside of it was legitimate and that a parent could not just walk away without being accountable.

    It created a civil alternative, for those not religious, or who could or would not partake in the religious ceremony. Heterosexuals have been wed via civil unions for a long time, and just as heterosexual’s civil unions provide all the rights of marriage, so do homosexual’s civil unions. My late husband and I were wed by a civil union, we considered ourselves married, but the church did not as was within their right. We never considered ourselves discriminated against, because we were not.

    The only difference has been federal recognition. That is achievable.. but what the CA Supreme Court did was in violation of the US Constitution, the separation of powers an separation of church and state. The state of CA, can NOT violate the US Constitution, an the federal government can not do so either. They can not define marriage, a religious rite, the constitution forbids them that power. The government can not interfere in the beliefs of the religious or their churches. Those four judges violated their duties to uphold the constitution, they did not have the right to appropriate a religious sacrement.

    There is no discrimination, because gays have access to the same, civil unions that heterosexuals do. Federal recognition should be pursued, that’s understood. So what is it that is going on by the demand that a civil union, be redefined using the term of a religious ceremony? It’s plain that it’s based on the desire to establish a precedent, by which real civil rights are violated. When that happens with one right, as in te separation of church and state, or separation of powers, it’s going to happen to all other rights and freedoms.

    No one who is only interested in a committed, loving relationship, needs to violate religious liberties. What that tells me is either this isn’t about civil rights, but a desire to persecute the religious, which is a hate crime, or gays and lesbians are so unstable and insecure, that they are incapable of defining and being contented in themselves.. which means they aren’t capable of any kind of relationship.

  26. liberty4all Says:

    As a liberal Progressive I laugh at all of you struggling over this Gay Marriage Amendment. Both Gays and Christians as groups are ridiculously easy to manipulate for political gain.

    This Proposition to redefine Marriage wasn’t ever about withholding or achieving any legal rights for gays. Gay partners already had this (for the most part) through civil unions.

    This is mostly a political strategy that we set up.

    Religions in this country have long had too much power-from the Constitution and foolish traditions. Progressive thinking people know government needs more power and resources if we are ever to move forward and solve the worlds problems. Christianity in this country has to go before that can happen.

    The weakness of Christian religions here is that they focus a lot on the New Testament and something called Charity.

    That is complete unconditional love and acceptance of a person even when you don’t agree with the things they do. Kind of like a parent for a child.
    Their big weakness in trying to have this charity is that they are just people and that kind of love isn’t easy. To make matters worse they also believe in right and wrong. Many look for universal truth in seeking things that are right and wrong for everyone. It has something to do with what Jesus said, “The Truth will Make you Free”. Actually double blind studies show that it is the government that makes you free.

    We progressives realize that Political Correctness is a lot more effective than charity when it comes to getting things done. PC as we call it is basically outwardly accepting and loving the things that someone does (it doesn’t matter if you like them don’t know them, or despise them). It isn’t about them. They are temporary and will be gone someday. It is about relating to them in a positive way to accomplish the greater good. People like to hear that others agree with what they do and that is where the religious whack jobs open themselves up for a royal spanking from us.

    We generally agree that strong organized Religions for progress to be made.

    Our main objective was to use differences between Religious people and others to stir up contentions and divide and minimize mainstream people from Religions. Luckily for us there were gay people to help demonstrate that government is the source of freedom and equality.
    There were a few problems to overcome…
    Gay people made up such a small portion of our society ~2-7%. They had already achieved significant progress in the country vs. some other countries (where they can be legally killed and often are)so that was a tough obstacle. With the help of Media we overcame obstacles and incited both sides. Even Gay people who were just fine with the things they were accomplishing with their own lives. We focused on Rights and Acceptance of Their Gayness. Our polls showed that was their main issue. Marriage was the perfect tool would strike right at the heart of what religions considered sacred. It was perfect. The media helped maximize atypical situations where where the only obstacle was gayness preventing adopting a child. They carefully left out that many other groups like singe men or women or people without money. Media was able to roll all rights into a huge issue. They also brought up all past issues where Gays were killed or beaten It was brilliant. We redefined the word disagree before they could Define Marriage and Morphed it into more than 20 synonyms like Hatemonger, Fearmonger, bigot, homophobe. Religious nuts work so hard on being good that setting all the misery suffered by Gays over decades squarely on not having marriage just eats em up. In a few years after this has festered. We will pass a new definition of marriage. We have carefully laid the legal ground work and now have achieved much more public incitement with the backlash from this debacle that we orchestrated. We are now poised to sue religions if they refuse to conform. Many religious organizations tie up a lot of money by qualifying for Tax Free Status. We can simply use a new definition of Marriage to include Gay couples. They will resist and we will sue. With the help of the media even their own members will think they had it coming. If they do finally conform we move the final plan we side with the Man Boy marriage proponents. After several attempts this will pass and religion will no longer exist here. We will then move on to eliminate any other organization with any influence over the hearts and minds of the American People.

  27. Rich Horton Says:

    See this is how this stuff gets muddled. Alan says: Rich, I think the main problem with not calling it marriage under the law is that it creates a separate-but-equal situation.” But unless you can name an instance where a protection/right vis-a-vis the state would suffer it doesn’t fit.

    So when Leapsecond provides their list:

    Access to Military Stores
    Assumption of Spouse’s Pension
    Bereavement Leave
    Immigration
    Insurance Breaks
    Medical Decisions on Behalf of Partner
    Sick Leave to Care for Partner
    Social Security Survivor Benefits
    Sick Leave to Care for Partner
    Tax Breaks
    Veteran’s Discounts
    Visitation of Partner in Hospital or Prison

    How are these not covered by civil union statutes? If they dont cover these (at least as far as they touch legal questions) then what DO they cover? And the complaint that you would have to pass these tpes of provisions in all 50 states as being somehow unreasonable wont cut it. There are lots of differences between states on legal questions. There is no Constitutional mandate that they have to be the same. (For example, their are different “age of consent” laws in different states. No ones “civil rights” are being violated if one states’ AoC is 18 and another’s is 17. If it is real important to someone that it be one and not the other..well then they can get working. Welcome to Democracy.) In this context all DOMA does it make it an issue for our Democratic institutions. The horror.

    So once again we are left with a “civil right” complaint without there being an actual civil right being violated. Unless, we want to say the existence of anti-gay bigots is a “civil rights” question. But that is nonsense. There are plenty of anti-Catholic bigots in this country and you dont see Catholics marching for the “right not to be offened” by those yahoos.

  28. John Says:

    What you’re leaving out Rich, is that these civil unions are not respected in all states. So a couple can get married in California in a Civil Union, then go to say Tennessee and not have that Union recognized. However, since the Supreme Court knocked down the laws against interacial marriage, all hetero marriages are accepted by any other state. So what you’re saying is, a gay couple can be married in California and have the same rights as a married couple, but if their plane goes down in Tennessee and they are hospitalized, that individual does not have the rights he has in California regarding their significant other.

    This is madness. Get off all your damn high horses and accept that there are people that are not like you. They don’t want to be like you, and by them being the way they are, they don’t hurt you, your religion, your beliefs, or your children.

  29. Shane Says:

    John,

    The supporters of prop 8 believe exactly opposite of what you argue. Allowing society to accept such a blatant sin (in their eyes) and rewarding the behavior with the sacrament of marriage shakes the very foundation of their religion, beliefs, and the way they are raising their children. The tolerance argument doesn’t persuade when you are asking people to tolerate what they believe is wrong.

    To illustrate, lets imagine that next election there is a prop to legalize something we can all see as obviously wrong like rape. You wouldn’t convince me to vote for such legislation by reminding me that I should let others do as they please and I should accept them and their actions.

    Now I concede this is a very imperfect analogy and we can all find its flaws, but the point is this- Until we get past the moral judgment of homosexuality, there well be a large population that will not accept it. As one prop 8 supporter said to me “I just can’t vote against the bible.” For these voters the “wrong and unfair” argument will not persuade them.

    I support your earlier suggestion that we need to work to make civil union or domestic partnerships the states’ agreements, and allow churches to perform marriages. I understand Alan’s difficulty argument, but that is the only way that we’ll be able to move forward on the issue that doesn’t threat the meaning of marriage in the Christian belief system.

  30. mike mcEachran Says:

    @ blackoutyears, I can’t tell you how much that means to me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. And, yes, I think Tim Gunn could fix this. He’s the man. :)

  31. leapsecond Says:

    Shane: What they supporters of Prop 8 don’t realize is that marriage is both a religious and a legal term. Since all “civil unions” were called marriages, it only made sense to adopt the word as a legal term as well.

  32. BeReal Says:

    Marriage has always had restrictions. You cannot have multiple wives/husbands, a 47 year old cannot marry a 14 year old, a person cannot marry an animal, etc. The arguments for gay marriage simply do not make sense unless you can justify removing all of the other restrictions.

  33. John Says:

    BeReal,

    Then you have to agree that it would be acceptable to say Blacks and Whites can not inter marry. The other limitations have to do with consent. Multiple wives is another story. You cannot have a contract with someone who is 14 either. A Marriage is a contract. Animals obviously can not have consent either. Multiple marriages, well I’m for it as well. I think people, so long as they are consenting adults, should be permitted to live as they please. The problem there generally has to do with forced marriages and underage marriages. There are very few convictions on polygamy.

  34. Kristen Says:

    So, I don’t normally agree with Keith Olbermann, but from him last night….

    Finally tonight as promised, a Special Comment on the passage, last week, of Proposition Eight in California, which rescinded the right of same-sex couples to marry, and tilted the balance on this issue, from coast to coast.

    Some parameters, as preface. This isn’t about yelling, and this isn’t about politics, and this isn’t really just about Prop-8. And I don’t have a personal investment in this: I’m not gay, I had to strain to think of one member of even my very extended family who is, I have no personal stories of close friends or colleagues fighting the prejudice that still pervades their lives.

    And yet to me this vote is horrible. Horrible. Because this isn’t about yelling, and this isn’t about politics. This is about the human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it. …

    With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate… this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then Spread happiness—this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness—share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

    You are asked now, by your country, and perhaps by your creator, to stand on one side or another. You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand, on a question of love. All you need do is stand, and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate.

    You don’t have to help it, you don’t have it applaud it, you don’t have to fight for it. Just don’t put it out. Just don’t extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don’t know and you don’t understand and maybe you don’t even want to know. It is, in fact, the ember of your love, for your fellow person just because this is the only world we have. And the other guy counts, too.

    This is the second time in ten days I find myself concluding by turning to, of all things, the closing plea for mercy by Clarence Darrow in a murder trial.

    But what he said, fits what is really at the heart of this:

    “I was reading last night of the aspiration of the old Persian poet, Omar-Khayyam,” he told the judge. It appealed to me as the highest that I can vision. I wish it was in my heart, and I wish it was in the hearts of all: So I be written in the Book of Love; I do not care about that Book above. Erase my name, or write it as you will, So I be written in the Book of Love.”

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