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Author Topic: This may cause a backlash...GAY MARRIAGE OPINION!
edgmatt
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I am still new to this forum, and I realized I may have missed the boat on this one. I have also been told this subject is a FIRESTORM here on Ornery, and to not ever mention it. But I have questions about the sides taken on gay marriage that I need answers to.

I haven't seen much reason in either side of the argument, and I was hoping someone here could layout the structure for either, or both, side of it. I'll start with how I think and feel about it, and hopefully I'll come to some better understanding of the whole thing.

Please, please, please refrain from things like "your just wrong" and "idiots who think like that". I am providing my thoughts to be critiqued or accepted as seen fit. I won't respond to nonsense and I don't expect anyone else to.

The impression I have of the pro-gay-marriage movement is that they want equal rights. These rights include whatever benefits that are given by the government such as certain tax rates, adoption rights, etc. I recognize that I am unaware of the complete list of rights that are given to a married couple, and so I don't know fully what a gay couple is "missing out on". They also don't want gays to be seen as a lesser people, or looked down upon in any way.

The impression I have of the anti-gay-marriage movement is that for one it stems strongly from religion, and a traditional past. Another part of it is simply the definition of the word "marriage". And this definition should not be changed simply because a group of people want the same benifits as the "married group".

This is the way I think and feel about it: I am mostly anti-gay marriage. I stand on the principle of tradition, but more so on the definition.

I do not believe that most of the anti-gay marriage crowd wants gay people to have less rights as any other. Certainly there are people who do not want any homo-sexual to have the same rights as a hetero-sexual. I dismiss this, and I do not argue from this standpoint. I do believe that all of us as humans deserve equal rights. I do not see this as a "rights" issue. My opinion comes down to the definition of the word. " Marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman." - "the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc" - "the legal or religious ceremony that formalizes the decision of a man and woman to live as husband and wife, including the accompanying social festivities" . This was the definition.

I am 100% in favor of any couple who is joined, either through Marriage or through a Civil Union to have the exact same legal rights. I do not see why "marriage" rights cannot be equally given, but under a different name that defines better what the relationship is.

It is my belief, mostly because I feel this way also, that people who are married feel it is something that defines a uniqueness about themselves. When someone says "I am married" it is assumed that they mean to someone of the opposite sex. If gay marriage also exists, and someone says "I am married." it becomes less clear as to what they mean. How is this significant? Well I'll try this and see how it sticks.

Doctors and Lawyers are two completely different things. Not only are they educated differently, their social habits, the types of people who like or dislike them, and their styles of life all tend to be different on one scale or another. What would happen if Lawyers decided that they wanted to be called "Doctors" instead of "Lawyers"? Would not the counter argument be "but your NOT a doctor, your a lawyer. A doctor is A, B, and C. A Lawyer is X, Y, and Z. They are two separate things, so they need two separate words."? Wouldn't the doctors be rightfully upset that now the term "doctor" has become vague enough that it doesn't clearly define who and what they are?

I do realize that there is a certain social prestige to being "married" AND to being hetero-sexual as opposed to homo-sexual. I DO NOT believe that enforcing a LEGAL equality will enact a SOCIAL equality. Where is there any harm done to having two separate terms for two separate things:

Homo-sexual husband/husband or wife/wife = Civil Union or any other term that is appropriate that would identify the two people as being homo-sexual.

Hetero-sexual husband/wife = Marriage.

Both should have the exact same legal rights.

Is this not the most reasonable solution?

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JoshuaD
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A belated welcome to Ornery. You are wrong.
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Rallan
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I don't think you'll get much of a backlash. You're beating a dead horse.
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stayne
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My stance is fairly lukewarm. I like words, and I don't like meddling with what they mean. I think some on both sides feel VERY strongly, and I think the only way to resolve things civilly is to vote on it, and respect the results. It is my opinion that in another twenty years, SSM will be a fact, if the advocates are careful to continue advocating what they feel is right, without attacking their opposition as evil and making enemies out of them.

I have to admit, though, that I am warming to the idea on the basis that it will force the courts to re-examine how men are treated in heterosexual marriages, especially in divorce. Having been through divorce, I would counsel gay couples to think very seriously if they are SURE they want this, though. Currently, the law offers gay couples a convenient excuse for not yielding to societal pressures and running the risk of getting screwed if the relationship turns sour. Yeah, I know, we all think it will be forever, but it sure doesn't turn out that way for a lot of people, and then you have the government meddling in your life in ways that are downright demeaning.

There is no doubt that in terms of rights, all should be equal. Two people of any sex should be able to announce their relationship and have similar expectations about how they will be treated in terms of inheritance, etc.

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KnightEnder
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I'll state my position again since you are new.

I've been married for twenty-one years but I'm an atheist and I would be happy to have my marriage referred to as a civil-union, and leave the "marriages" to religion", but until that change is made legally I think gays deserve to have their unions recognized as equal to heterosexual marriages.

And I agree with a lot of what stayne says except I don't think "voting" on it is the answer. We live in a democratic republic for exactly this reason. So the majority can't suppress the rights or wishes of the minority.

KE

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NobleHunter
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edgmatt, I would be satisfied if the term marriage was removed from all legal documents and an new term was created applying solely to religious ceremonies and such. Everybody would call the civil thing marriage anyways, and life would go one. It's not going to happen, however, so I'm glad we've got same-sex marriage in Canada.

Having separate terms for hetero/homo unions will foster inequality. If nothing else, it provides a distinction which homophobic governments, in the future, can use to penalize gay couples.

And I don't think changing the gender structure of marriage (*casts Summon Pete at Home* [Razz] ) significantly changes the definition. If you or my boyfriend's gay cousin says they are married, I understand that you are in a permanent, monogamous, companionate, affective relationship with another person. The only difference is I cannot infer the spouse's gender based on yours. I fail to see how that is a significant difference.

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edgmatt
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[quote]Having separate terms for hetero/homo unions will foster inequality. If nothing else, it provides a distinction which homophobic governments, in the future, can use to penalize gay couples.[quote]

I don't see how it would foster inequality. There are different terms for different things. Should "middle class" people ( referring to income here ) be called "low class" also just for the sake of equality? Should the terms "woman" and "man" be eliminated and everyone just be called "person" for the same reason?

If your saying that there will always be a bias or that some people will always feel negatively towards gay marriage, well I agree. But as I stated before, changing the term wont change that. There are bias towards every aspect of human life. If your fat or skinny, tall or short. Calling it what it is defines it. Pretending its something else, or saying "well instead of calling me fat, call me skinny also" won't change the bias towards fat people simply because they are called "skinny" now.

I like the idea of having the Religious part of the country be in charge of "marriage". That would certainly keep the two kinds of unions separate. The government should have either a new term, or use Civil Union for a non-religious, legal union. I guess I am asking why it is so important that a gay union MUST be called "marriage" if the same rights can be had under any other term?

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JoshCrow
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edgmatt: Ornery is certainly not unfamiliar with your line of reasoning, or your position (indeed, it is similar to Pete at Home in some ways).

By and large, however, your argument rests on protecting the definition of marriage over the SPIRIT of marriage. It is a hard thing to argue about what a marriage actually "means" to people, since that is such a subjective thing, whereas a dictionary does not care about the purpose of a thing. If, as I do, you understood marriage to be a public affirmation of commitment that triggers certain legal protections, you would probably see that only including the legal protections part would only be half the story. Without sugar-coating things: gay people want to be validated by society at large, and I believe it would be no sacrifice to the rest of us to give it to them.

You claim that legal action won't lead to social equality - but I challenge you to think about it the other way around. We're talking about confirming that there IS social equality, by polling the population about their willingness to make a legal acknowledgement. Does that make more sense to you?

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edgmatt
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Your saying by voting and validating gay-marriage legally, that is society validating gay-marriage socially.

That makes sense. I don't see the people of the country voting to validate gay-marriage legally. The opposite in fact. And the result is a firestorm of hatred on both sides, and rightfully so from anyone who simply wants equal rights. I just think this could be avoided if they stopped going after the term "marriage" and simply went for the rights.

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edgmatt
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But yes, that clarified it more for me, thanks Josh. ( really, no sarcasm at all, im sincere. How does one make sincerity more obvious when writing ?)
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PSRT
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I'm hoping to get all my thoughts on gay marriage into this one post, but I doubt that will happen.

There are several different reasons I support gay marriage. First, its fair. The same rules should apply to everyone, otherwise the game is rigged. I don't like playing in rigged games, even when the rules are rigged to favor me. In the case of gay marriage, the rules are rigged in my favor... I can marry the person I love, want to raise a family with, spend the rest of my life with. This isn't true for gays. The legal institution of marriage provides social, legal, financial, and medical support to make it easier for me to raise a family and spend the rest of my life with the person I love. That framework of support isn't there for gays, and so gay couples will go through life at a severe disadvantage as compared to me and my future wife.

Second reason is a social perspective reason. Allowing marriage to straight couples, but not to gays, says society values straight bonding and family rearing is more important than gay bonding. While there might be some minimal difference in the value to society, due to hetero couples being able to biologically produce babies, this difference is not enough to deny access to what is the most important institution in western society, especially since we readily marry people who are biologically unable to produce babies as long as they are heterosexual. Denying access to the institution of marriage expresses extreme disapproval of, not just homosexual sex, but homosexuals. And I don't believe that extreme disapproval is justified.

Third is the legal reason. Our constitution says that all citizens are entitled to equal protection of the law. Gays don't have that. In Brown v Board of Education, the Supreme Court ruled that equal protection doesn't mean equal facilities, it means access to the same institutions. When looking at marriage law to see if there is a valid reason for not granting equal access to institutions, tradition isn't a good enough reason. Slavery is traditional. Bigotry and hatred are traditional. Women as property is traditional. All sorts of nasty things are traditional. When we evaluate law, tradition shouldn't be a defense for the state when someone argues “My civil rights are being denied,” or “The law is treating me differently than my neighbor, to my disadvantage.”

The courts have also ruled that marriage is a fundamental right, which means the state must meet a high burden of proof when seeking to bar people from that institution. To date, there is no evidence that even a low bar could be met. Gays are, according to the available evidence, no better or worse at living their lives than other people facing the same social handicaps. Gays are raising family's just as well as straight couples, they are pair bonding and facing the same difficulties that straight couples face when pair bonding, at about the same frequency.

The institution of marriage is an important one, I think all sides can agree. Gays asking for access to that institution is affirming of that importance, and from my view, granting access strengthens the institution. The fight that is being waged is a group of people saying “We value this institution and intend to honor it.” The cries from the antis that letting gays access marriage will destroy the institution is backwards. If people can be denied access for no good reason, other than that it is traditional to bar them from the institution, then the institution is one that is inflexible, grounded in a different time, and will become undesirable to a generation of people who don't understand why their friends and neighbors can't join.

Tradition isn't a defense or argument when someone asks for something to be evaluated for functionality, fairness, or legality. Simply saying “We've always done it this way,” (and that is a point I would dispute anyways, but for simplicity I grant it here) does not answer the question of whether it is morally right, practically right, or legally right, to do so. As such, I'd hope that people making the argument against same sex marriage can avoid it as a defense. Falling back on “tradition,” is an admission of guilt, really. It's a statement of “We don't really have a reason, we just want to keep discriminating against gays.”

If, when arguing against gay marriage, you cannot answer the questions “How does this improve society, more than it harms it?” “How is it morally right to prevent gays from accessing marriage?” and “How is it constitutional to treat gays and straights differently under the law?” using sound reasoning and the best available evidence, I would suggest that you should probably reconsider your position. If you can't answer those questions, all you are left with is tradition.

And when it comes to tradition and gays, well, tradition does not reflect well on societal thinking.

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edgmatt
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Tradition can do more than just the negative things you have listed. It can be used to pass down a memory from generation to generation. It can be used to honor previous relatives. 4th of July, New year celebrations, Baptisms, Bar Mitzvahs, Anniversary's... these are all positive, traditional, celebrations. There are more, but I dont think that is what is at issue here.

quote:
How is it constitutional to treat gays and straights differently under the law?
It is not.

quote:
How is it morally right to prevent gays from accessing marriage?
This is where the debate comes in I think. I am not advocating preventing gays with accessing the rights and privileges that are associated with marriage. I am simply suggesting that they use a different term when the union is between two people of the same sex. So in a sense, I am denying them access to the TERM marriage. Is that morally wrong?
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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by edgmatt:
Your saying by voting and validating gay-marriage legally, that is society validating gay-marriage socially.

That makes sense. I don't see the people of the country voting to validate gay-marriage legally. The opposite in fact. And the result is a firestorm of hatred on both sides, and rightfully so from anyone who simply wants equal rights. I just think this could be avoided if they stopped going after the term "marriage" and simply went for the rights.

I also don't see the country voting for gay marriage - yet. I see this being performed on a state-by-state basis for some time, and then ultimately (in perhaps 15 years) at the federal level. I believe that acceptance of the idea will generally improve over time, particularly because the young generation is directly exposed to out-of-the-closet gayness in a way the older generations were not. To me, this is inevitable.

That alone should be, for you, an answer to the question of "why not just accept civil unions"... after all, if you know you will eventually get everything you ask for, why would you settle for anything less? In the meantime, my country (Canada) will hopefully provide a positive example of an outcome that will allay many of the fears that people who advocate against ssm have.

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PSRT
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quote:
Tradition can do more than just the negative things you have listed.
I didn't list negative things tradition can do. I said its not a defense when evaluating an idea for functionality, morality, or legality.

quote:
It is not.
If its not constitutional to treat gays and straights differently under the law, then you've answered the question, and should change your opinion.

quote:
I am not advocating preventing gays with accessing the rights and privileges that are associated with marriage. I am simply suggesting that they use a different term when the union is between two people of the same sex. So in a sense, I am denying them access to the TERM marriage. Is that morally wrong?
Is the term marriage important to you? If so, why should it be less important to gays? And if it is not less important to gays, and you want to deny them access to the term, then yes, it is morally wrong, because you are keeping for yourself something you and other people want, without good reason.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
There are different terms for different things.
The position that same-sex marriage would be fundamentally different from opposite-sex marriage is an example of the inequality he was talking about.

Why do you believe they'd be fundamentally different?

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JoshuaD
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
There are different terms for different things.
The position that same-sex marriage would be fundamentally different from opposite-sex marriage is an example of the inequality he was talking about.

Why do you believe they'd be fundamentally different?

Because they are fundamentally different. Woman are fundamentally different from men. Accordingly, a relationship between two woman is going to be fundamentally different than a relationship between a man and a woman.

I'm not familiar with your position Tom: Are you for instituting your proposed changes through the legislation or through the courts? I argue with you differently depending on which.

If you believe the courts should be doing it you're simply wrong. [Smile] If you believe the legislation should be doing it, then I think it's probably a bad idea, but I'm pretty ambivalent about the issue.

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edgmatt
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quote:
If its not constitutional to treat gays and straights differently under the law, then you've answered the question, and should change your opinion
If you've been reading, I've already addressed the "rights" and "different legal treatment". Your next quote of mine even says it. Your clearly not reading what I'm typing, and it seems your not even reading what your typing.

Why is any term important to anyone? It defines something about them. Imagine everyone who had 2 or more years of college education started calling themselves doctors. It's important to them, and other doctors only want to deny them access to the term for no good reason. Its morally wrong for Doctors to monopolize that term for themselves. Selfish bastards.

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edgmatt
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quote:
Because they are fundamentally different. Woman are fundamentally different from men. Accordingly, a relationship between two woman is going to be fundamentally different than a relationship between a man and a woman.
And to differentiate between those two different things, doesn't language dictate that there should be two different terms?
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JoshuaD
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quote:
Originally posted by edgmatt:
quote:
Because they are fundamentally different. Woman are fundamentally different from men. Accordingly, a relationship between two woman is going to be fundamentally different than a relationship between a man and a woman.
And to differentiate between those two different things, doesn't language dictate that there should be two different terms?
We certainly shouldn't be in the business of having the structures of our language dictate the content of our not-yet written laws.
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PSRT
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quote:
If you've been reading, I've already addressed the "rights" and "different legal treatment". Your next quote of mine even says it.
Calling one institution marriage, and denying access to that institution to a group of people, no matter how you make up for it, is different treatment under the law. You haven't addressed that point at all, in fact, so I'm not sure how I I have failed to address what you've written.

quote:
Why is any term important to anyone? It defines something about them.
Marriage means "man and woman," to YOU. But legally, you have to have sound reason restrict it to "man and woman." To many couples, straight or gay, the gender of the people involved doesn't matter. Marriage is about love and commitment to many people. Raising family, pair bonding.

The question is, why should the gender of two people bonding matter to the state? Keep in mind, because marriage is a fundamental right, the way it matters must be very significant, and demonstrable through evidence.

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PSRT
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quote:
Because they are fundamentally different. Woman are fundamentally different from men. Accordingly, a relationship between two woman is going to be fundamentally different than a relationship between a man and a woman.
Men and women have different genitalia. But is there anything fundamentally different about how men and women form relationships that matters to the state enough to deny access to same sex couples to the most fundamentally important institution in the western world?

quote:
If you believe the courts should be doing it you're simply wrong.
Marriage is a fundamental right. Like it or not, the courts have deemed it such. There is clearly a constitutional issue in play here, and, again, like it or not, constitutional issues are clearly within the realm of the courts to resolve. Clearly, gays and straights are treated differently under the law, and again, that makes it a clear constitutional issue. So there are at least two different major constitution issues in play. So while you might think it is morally wrong for the courts to make changes to marriage law, you are wrong if you are saying that legally the courts should not be involving themselves.
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edgmatt
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I'm really not talking about law for the moment. I have made it very, very clear that as far as legality goes, there should be no difference in the way a gay union or a straight union should be treated. We seem to keep bouncing back and forth from terminology to current and future law.

If the current laws prevent same sex unions from having the same legal privileges, then those laws should be changed. I think there is a better way to do it than to put all unions under one blanket term, "marriage". Irish and Italian citizens have the same rights under the law, but we recognize the difference between the two by using the terms "Irish" and "Italian". Why is it being resisted so profoundly that we do a similar thing with gay union and non-gay union? If someone said "We are 'civilly joined'" we would recognize that as a "gay union" whereas if someone said "We are 'married'" we would recognize that as a straight union.

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PSRT
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quote:
I have made it very, very clear that as far as legality goes, there should be no difference in the way a gay union or a straight union should be treated.
"No difference," means "No difference." You are proposing a very important difference should be implemented.

As I asked above, "Is the term marriage important to you? If so, why should it be less important to gays?"

I'd be happy if everything were legally a civil union. I'd be happy if everything were called marriage. But if one group gets to call themselves legally married and another does not, then we do not have "No legal difference."

As far as your Irish and Italian example... do Italians want to be called Irish, or vice versa? If not, then you provide a fatally flawed analogy.

[ May 03, 2009, 12:00 PM: Message edited by: PSRT ]

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JoshuaD
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quote:
Marriage is a fundamental right. Like it or not, the courts have deemed it such.
I have no problem with marriage being a fundamental right. It is. However, marriage has always been between a man and a woman. When the constitution was passed same sex marriage was a contradiction in terms. When Loving v Virginia was ruled there was no question about this definition. Nothing in Zablocki v Redhail changed this definition.

Please find me a place in either American law or pre-18th century British law where a same sex marriage was recognized, and you may have a point. You won't find one.

To suggest that the constitution protects a right that the people who ratified the constitution never considered, and was never a constitutional question until very recently is just bizarre to me. When woman wanted the right to vote they didn't try to read it into the constitution; they convinced the voting population to ratify an amendment. When we wanted to abolish slavery we didn't try to suggest that slavery undermined the natural rights that the constitution embodied; we passed an amendment.

Something can be right and good for the country without being constitutionally protected. If you like SSM that's fine. I won't fight your effort to get it legally recognized through the legislature. But stop undermining our democracy. Start fighting for the issue the right way: by convincing your fellow citizens and passing new laws.

All of the evidence suggests that all of the laws pertaining to marriage were written with one common understanding of the word: The union between a man and a woman. To suggest that the current laws mean something that they never previously meant is just asinine.

quote:
There is clearly a constitutional issue in play here, and, again, like it or not, constitutional issues are clearly within the realm of the courts to resolve. Clearly, gays and straights are treated differently under the law, and again, that makes it a clear constitutional issue. So there are at least two different major constitution issues in play. So while you might think it is morally wrong for the courts to make changes to marriage law, you are wrong if you are saying that legally the courts should not be involving themselves.
Repeating clearly a number of times doesn't make your point any more salient.

quote:
Clearly, gays and straights are treated differently under the law
This is simply wrong. The laws apply the same to you whether you are homosexual or not homosexual. The law does not make any distinctions based on sexual orientation. (at least in the realm of marriage, or in any place that I'm familiar with).

quote:
So there are at least two different major constitution issues in play. So while you might think it is morally wrong for the courts to make changes to marriage law, you are wrong if you are saying that legally the courts should not be involving themselves.
Well you only brought up one issue, not two. And I just showed that it's not an issue at all.

quote:
So while you might think it is morally wrong for the courts to make changes to marriage law,
I don't think it's morally wrong. I just think it's not their job. Their job is to interpret and apply the laws on the books; not to change the law as they see fit.

[ May 03, 2009, 12:41 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

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PSRT
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quote:
I have no problem with marriage being a fundamental right. It is. Marriage has always been between a man and a woman. However, when the constitution was passed same sex marriage was a contradiction in terms. When Loving v Virginia was ruled there was no question about this definition. Nothing in Zablocki v Redhail changed this definition.

Please find me a place in either American law or pre-18th century British law where a same sex marriage was recognized, and you may have a point. You won't find one.

It doesn't matter whether marriage meant "a man and a woman," or "two goats and a monkey." The institution, as you state, is a fundamental right. That means denial of access to the legal institution has to meet certain criteria. It doesn't matter whether the institution was understood a certain way or not when the constitution was written, or when the laws were passed. What matters is whether or not the laws that were passed are consistent with the words of the constitution as they are understood at the present time.

quote:
To suggest that the constitution protects a right that the people who ratified the constitution never considered, and was never a constitutional question until very recently is just bizarre to me.
The constitution leaves open what is and is not a right, and does so quite explicitly. The purpose of doing so is at least partially (and stated as such by the people writing the document) so that people cannot say "This is not a right, the document doesn't lay it out as such."

Going through the amendment process, as women had to do, means that you must first convince a super majority of the country that something is a right. But the clear language of the constitution, and the writings of the people who wrote it, tell us that rights are to be protected regardless of whether or not a majority thinks it is a right.

quote:
But stop undermining our democracy.
I'm not undermining our democracy any more (and frankly, quite a bit less) than you are undermining our constitution.

quote:
Start fighting for the issue the right way: by convincing your fellow citizens and passing new laws.
I am. But it is only ONE of the right ways. Another right way is to argue in the courts. In fact, our constitution clearly allows for this. Shocking as it may be, sometimes the majority of the country wants to do something illegal, and passes laws that are illegal, and sometimes it takes a long time before enough people care that there are illegal laws on the books for something to be done. And before a majority cares, the minority goes to the courts. And this is right and proper.

quote:
All of the evidence suggests that all of the laws pertaining to marriage were written with one common understanding of the word: The union between a man and a woman. To suggest that the current laws mean something that they never previously meant is just asinine.
To suggest that a law can't be unconstitutional because it wasn't understood to be unconstitutional by the people who passed it is WAY more asinine, though.

It doesn't matter what the word was understood to mean. It matters whether it is legal to pass laws that enforce an understanding of a word in such a way as to discriminate against a group of people in the area of a fundamental right.

As I said above, if you fall back on the "tradition," argument, which you have just done here, is to cede the argument on morality, functionality, and legality. Thank you for conceding that you really have no defense other than that the majority should be able to discriminate against the minority without valid grounds.

Edit: You completely edited your post while I was typing mine. I may or may not come back to edit in response to yours later on. I can't think how someone worth my time could possibly argue that straights and gays are treated equally under marriage law.

[ May 03, 2009, 12:57 PM: Message edited by: PSRT ]

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JoshuaD
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quote:
It doesn't matter whether marriage meant "a man and a woman," or "two goats and a monkey." The institution, as you state, is a fundamental right. That means denial of access to the legal institution has to meet certain criteria
No one's being denied access to marriage. Does the judge stand up and ask both participants if they're gay? If he did and they answered yes, would he refuse to marry them? Of course not. Everyone's offered equal access to the institution. Some people want the institution to be different, but no one is refused the opportunity to get married based on sexual orientation.

quote:
It doesn't matter what the word was understood to mean. It matters whether it is legal to pass laws that enforce an understanding of a word in such a way as to discriminate against a group of people in the area of a fundamental right.
On this you and I agree. But if the law is found to be unconstitutional, the court's job is to strike it out. It certainly isn't empowered to offer an alternative. So if you believe the current marriage laws are unconstitutional (I don't), you should be calling for the abolition of legally sanctioned marriages until the legislature passes appropriate laws. Certainly you can at least agree that the court doesn't get to make up new laws every time it strikes down a bad one.

For the most part though, it seems that you're not comprehending what I'm writing. I encourage you to go back and re-read what I've posted before you respond again.

[ May 03, 2009, 12:59 PM: Message edited by: JoshuaD ]

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JoshuaD
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quote:
Edit: You completely edited your post while I was typing mine. I may or may not come back to edit in response to yours later on. I can't think how someone worth my time could possibly argue that straights and gays are treated equally under marriage law.
[LOL]
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PSRT
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quote:
On this you and I agree. But if the law is found to be unconstitutional, the court's job is to strike it out. It certainly isn't empowered to offer an alternative.
This is false. The job of the court is to provide a remedy.

quote:
On this you and I agree. But if the law is found to be unconstitutional, the court's job is to strike it out. It certainly isn't empowered to offer an alternative.
Would you care to explain what I've misunderstood keeping in my mind the entirety of my post, except for the edit, was written before I saw the edit of your post?

As far as whether or not you are worthy my time, its really laughable to suggest that gays and straights are treated equally under marriage law, since gays cannot marry the person whom they desire to marry, while straights can, assuming consent of the other party. I cannot think how a person of good will sees this as equal treatment under the law, as it demands that a group of people live their entire life as a lie in order to access a fundamental right. Using the standards laid out by the courts in previous decisions, its not equal treatment of the law if one group of people cannot access the institution on equal footing as another group of people, so aside from being an argument that is completely out of touch with how marriage is practiced in the United States, its wrong under the law as well.

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PSRT
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quote:
No one's being denied access to marriage. Does the judge stand up and ask both participants if they're gay? If he did and they answered yes, would he refuse to marry them? Of course not. Everyone's offered equal access to the institution. Some people want the institution to be different, but no one is refused the opportunity to get married based on sexual orientation.
You're right insofar as no one is denied access based on sexual orientation. They are denied access based on sex. Which actually requires a higher decree of scrutiny than if they were denied access based on sexuality. Because of the nature of the discrimination based on sex, gays are denied equal access to the institution. So while the discrimination is legally based on sex, it is de facto discrimination based on sexuality.
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NobleHunter
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The problem is that while gays and straights have access to the institution, the functional difference is immense. Straight people get access to the contract as an expression of truth reflecting a reality of a relationship that is about sex and romance as much as companionship.

For gays, the contract they currently have access to in much of the US does not reflect that reality. They can only use it as a mockery of the values of companionship and romance which are bound up in it. What good is an institution that permits a gay man to be at the bedside of his faux-wife fag hag while his lover dies alone?

An institution such as marriage only has meaning by its effects, legal, cultural, social and personal. To argue that gays and straights have the same access to marriage is to neglect that meaning.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Woman are fundamentally different from men.
Yes, and garlic is fundamentally different from onions. Yet you can saute garlic with garlic, onions with onions, and garlic with onions. The act of sauteeing does not change.

-----

quote:
Irish and Italian citizens have the same rights under the law, but we recognize the difference between the two by using the terms "Irish" and "Italian".
That is because there is a difference between a citizen of Ireland and a citizen of Italy. There is no difference between a couple in a same-sex marriage versus a couple in an opposite-sex marriage.

[ May 03, 2009, 03:00 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Viking_Longship
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I think the most fair solution would be to change the marriage certificate to a certificate of union and let the religous, spiritual and personal aspects be handled by the individuals.

That won't happen but I think any two adults who share a household and a longterm comitment should be allowed to enter into the legal rights and responisibilities of a legal union even if they aren't romantic. (i.e. Bert could put Ernie on his family health care plan. [Smile] )

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scifibum
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Does anyone fear that because they are so similar, calling them the same thing will make them indistinguishable?

The argument for using the same term might be the same as the argument against: they are almost identical.

If they are different enough to matter, then individuals, religions, families, and other subcultures should have no difficulty maintaining a distinction between same sex marriages and other marriages. Just like some doctors are physicians and some are physicists: they're all doctors. We get by with the vague label.

To the extent that it does prove difficult to maintain a distinction, it tends to prove that the differences aren't important enough to matter. It's mildly difficult to distinguish between flavors of mathematician, but nobody gives a damn.

To be clear, I think it will be easy to maintain a distinction but unnecessary; the sky won't fall if kids grow up with an open mind about which sex they will marry. I'm pretty sure heterosexuality will continue to prevail as it always has. [Sorry, "prevail" inappropriately suggests conflict, but I couldn't think of a better word.]

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Sky
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Welcome, Edgmatt, and you are indeed wrong.

Your 'tradition' also used to execute or imprison those seeking inclusion under 'marriage rights'. Now that there's no appreciable difference between those who've always had marital rights and those who were denied it, we're down to the last straw. You've got to demonstrate why recognizing ssm would do irreparable harm. I don't think you have.

I too am opposed to ssm, but I couldn't in good conscience vote against it. If you put osm to a vote, I could vote to ban it with a clear conscience!

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Does anyone fear that because they are so similar, calling them the same thing will make them indistinguishable?
I believe that's exactly what Pete@Home has said he's afraid of.
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edgmatt
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quote:
There is no difference between a couple in a same-sex marriage versus a couple in an opposite-sex marriage.
If there wasn't a difference, why did you use the terms "same-sex marriage" and "opposite-sex marriage"?

Everything scifi just posted made sense to me. He may even have convinced me entirely.

I very much dislike the attack on 'tradition' by pointing to all the negative 'traditions' that have occurred. I can point to just as many positive things, so that argument goes nowhere.

JoshD and PSRT are getting into the legal stuff, on which I have very little knowledge, so I'll let them duke it out.

One question. "The sky wont fall if kids grow up with an open mind about which sex they will marry." Will the sky fall if same sex unions are called "homoharmonized" and opposite sex unions are called "married"? Assume no legal differences whatsoever.

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edgmatt
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quote:
Does anyone fear that because they are so similar, calling them the same thing will make them indistinguishable?

Yea I think that's the concern. I don't know if fear is the right word, but maybe it is. I know for sure that when I tell someone I'm married, I don't want to be questioned on what kind of marriage. I want it to be clear when I say it the first time.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
I know for sure that when I tell someone I'm married, I don't want to be questioned on what kind of marriage.
Why do you think someone would question you on this? Besides, f it were really a concern for you that they not think you were married to a man, you could always say "I'm married to a lovely woman" instead of whatever other opener you imagined.

I mean, when I say, "I like to read," I'm not automatically afraid that people are going to think I like to read Harlequin romances.

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PSRT
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quote:
I very much dislike the attack on 'tradition' by pointing to all the negative 'traditions' that have occurred.
You're missing the point. Saying something is a tradition is simply saying its old. An idea being traditional doesn't mean its bad or good, that it has positive or negative value, that its practical, impractical, moral or immoral, constitutional or unconstitutional. Some traditions are good traditions to hold onto, and some aren't. But in either case, "tradition," doesn't explain why its good to hold onto or good to get rid of.

All "tradition," means is "been done for a time." In a discussion about how society should operate, on moral, social, or legal grounds, the argument from tradition should carry no weight.

[ May 03, 2009, 05:36 PM: Message edited by: PSRT ]

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edgmatt
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quote:
One question. "The sky wont fall if kids grow up with an open mind about which sex they will marry." Will the sky fall if same sex unions are called "homoharmonized" and opposite sex unions are called "married"? Assume no legal differences whatsoever.
I ask this in the same tone that is applied when I am asked "Will the sky fall if same-sex-unions are called marriage?"

Anybody want to take this one instead of changing subjects?

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