Gay Marriage

Let’s get one thing straight about gay marriage.

“It’s thrilling today,” Barbara Levine-Ritterman said. “We are all in one line for one form. Love is love, and the state recognizes it.”

That isn’t true. The state recognizes nothing about love. That isn’t its job. What the state of Connecticut does is recognize that two people who enter into a legal contract cannot be discriminated against based upon gender when gender is not relevant to said contract. Take a driver’s license. What is relevant is ability to drive. The state can discriminate against 10 year olds and those with DUI’s because they are unproven as safe drivers. It cannot discriminate against Asians or people named Bill. That isn’t relevant to the contract. Precisely equal, the state cannot discriminate against a contract which confers legal rights (i.e. a marriage contract) based upon something arbitrary such as gender. A secular marriage contract and the rights therein are not based upon genitalia or the ability which does or does not come with genitalia, complimentary or not. From a legal stand point, it is a very simply issue.

17 Responses

  1. Well if all homosexual advocates are seeking is a contractual relationship between mutually consenting parties, then why seek the state recognition of ‘marriage’ at all, since all states already allow adults to make contracts with one another?

  2. Marriage has legal relevancy: inheritance, visitation rights, tax purposes, etc.

  3. Marriage has legal relevancy: inheritance, visitation rights, tax purposes, etc.,/i>

    All of which can be acquired contractually by any two individuals.

  4. “You can get the same rights. You just have to do it a different way. Separate is okay if it is equal.”

  5. “You can get the same rights. You just have to do it a different way. Separate is okay if it is equal.”

    Well, in the case of marriage, it’s really not a matter of rights, but a matter of what (or why) marriage is.

    The reason the state recognizes marriages between a man and a woman is because it is in the best interest of the state to have parents be in a long term committed relationship for the purpose of raising children, which is demonstrably the best situation in which to raise children.

    Such a thing is quite unnecessary for homosexuals, and the state has no interest in sanctioning such relationships, which explains why for most of human history the state almost never has.

  6. Children are irrelevant in deciding who is issued a marriage license. Convicted baby killers are allowed to wed as often as they like.

  7. Children are irrelevant in deciding who is issued a marriage license. Convicted baby killers are allowed to wed as often as they like.

    That doesn’t make children ‘irrelevant’ to marriage, (indeed, if the act of procreation were not an aspect of marriage, the state wouldn’t be involved with marriage at all) that is simply a product of the fact that the state is unwilling at this time to use sterilization as a punishment.

  8. There is no law which forces procreation or makes it a requirement of marriage. At no point as any state ever been as, frankly, blatantly stupid are you are being right now. Infertile couples can marry as many times as they please. Couples who do not want children are not barred from marriage. There is no question concerning intent or ability to have children when one obtains a state-sanctioned, secular marriage license.

  9. There is no law which forces procreation or makes it a requirement of marriage. At no point as any state ever been as, frankly, blatantly stupid are you are being right now. Infertile couples can marry as many times as they please. Couples who do not want children are not barred from marriage. There is no question concerning intent or ability to have children when one obtains a state-sanctioned, secular marriage license.

    The problem with your argument is that it is, so to speak, arse backwards.

    Marriage is an institution that is at least as old as human civilization; the ‘state’ didn’t invent it, the state doesn’t ‘allow’ it to happen, the state merely recognizes it and sanctions its best practices. In the case of the United States, those best practices have been established in Western culture over the course of the last 1000 years or so.

    Were it not for the necessity of human offspring needing the stability of both biological parents involved in their upbringing over the course of decades, marriage would be unnecessary. Marriage is a biological, sociological, cultural, and in many cases, religious and moral phenomenon.

    So that is why marriage exists. This also explains why humans are the only organisms that ‘marry’, and why this practice is ubiquitous across human history and throughout human cultures. The fact that in the early 21st century a group of activist homosexuals want to glom onto a practice that really has nothing to do with them is really a aberration in history and has nothing to do with the reality of what marriage is.

    So having established why marriage exists, we can understand why it is in the best interest of the state to sanction it – it is because procreation apart from marriage is for the most part detrimental to the good health of families, generations, societies, and ultimately the state. Indeed, within this understanding of the ‘why ‘ of marriage, even infertile and elderly couples fit the purpose because they can play an important role in the health and ongoing stability of biological families – as grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. The primary purpose of the marriage institution doesn’t exclude such people; rather it makes them a potentially valuable part of it. And so it’s in the interest of the state to sanction such relationships as well.

    No such interest resides in sanctioning homosexual relationships though. There is no biological imperative, no sociological longevity, and no real benefit to the society. While certainly for freedom sake such people are allowed to form physical relationships, and free to organize their property any way they see fit, the state bears no obligation to sanction the relationship, which is why when given the choice, majorities, often significant majorities, have denied homosexuals the sanction of the state through formally recognized marriages.

    Let them form lifelong relationships if they desire, but it really isn’t in the interest of the state to recognize such relationships, which ultimately have no useful purpose beyond the immediate satisfaction of those involved.

  10. The fact that infertile homeless people can get married and then never come into contact again undermines your argument. Unless you want to advocate that it is in the best interest of the state to ban these people from marriage I don’t see how you think you presented anything remotely intelligent or relevant to the principles of marriage insofar as a secular state is concerned.

    But if you wish to make a traditionalist argument, then you need to ask yourself why that argument is irrelevant to all the other laws and constitutions that have evolved over the past 400 years of American colonial and American national history. You also need to look up some Roman history: gay marriages occurred in Rome until Emperor Constantius II made them illegal, “reflecting the growing [bigotry] of Christianity.”

    http://wildcatintl.com/pnw.cfm?view=editorials&pageAction=article&article=57

  11. The fact that infertile homeless people can get married and then never come into contact again undermines your argument. Unless you want to advocate that it is in the best interest of the state to ban these people from marriage I don’t see how you think you presented anything remotely intelligent or relevant to the principles of marriage insofar as a secular state is concerned.

    It’s not that it isn’t in the best interest of the state; it’s just that these people by happenstance qualify for an institution that exists for the purpose of what is in the best interest of the state – insuring that biological families, which originate with a man and a woman, are as stable as possible.

    In so much as the minimum of a biological family is a man and a woman, then men and women qualify; men and men do not. The fact that some men and some women are disabled with respect to their ability to produce children is irrelevant; the state recognizes the biological origin and sociological imperative despite the inevitable exceptions that exist as a result of living in an imperfect world.

    But if you wish to make a traditionalist argument, then you need to ask yourself why that argument is irrelevant to all the other laws and constitutions that have evolved over the past 400 years of American colonial and American national history. You also need to look up some Roman history: gay marriages occurred in Rome until Emperor Constantius II made them illegal, “reflecting the growing [bigotry] of Christianity.”

    I am not sure the Romans, who had no qualms about keeping eunuchs for slaves, having relationships with what we would now consider minors, and who openly practiced infanticide are particularly helpful in demonstrating that gay marriage was ever a ‘norm’. And as marriage existed long before Rome, that culture it is hardly the basis for evaluating the purpose of marriage.

  12. You’ve explicitly defined marriage as being for procreation. That definition is wrong, and it is wrong by example.

    Marriage has a history of being for inheritence, bartering between families, and the pleasure and choice of men and men alone. It evolved over time, especially in Rome. This traditionalist argument fails just by virtue of marriage already being a markedly different and more liberal engagement than it was at the beginning of civilization (yes, dating far prior to Rome).

  13. You’ve explicitly defined marriage as being for procreation. That definition is wrong, and it is wrong by example.

    Actually, not – I said marriage exists as a product of human procreation – in other words, it began for a reason, and that reason is a product of huma biology, sociology, and ultimately culture and religion.

    Marriage has a history of being for inheritence, bartering between families, and the pleasure and choice of men and men alone. It evolved over time, especially in Rome. This traditionalist argument fails just by virtue of marriage already being a markedly different and more liberal engagement than it was at the beginning of civilization (yes, dating far prior to Rome).

    No, not ‘especially in Rome’ – it existed before Rome in Greece, in Egypt, in China, and among Native Americans as well as many other societies.

    The fact is you are really begging the question; men were willing to ‘barter’ for wives, share property and provide for wives, and make themselves exclusive to their wives not as a result of ‘tradition’, which as you note varies from society to society, but because exclusiveness between men and women as parents is best for their offspring.

    You have no basis to argue for marriage to exist at all except that it benefits human families – which incidentally have existed as long as human civilization .

  14. Michael said on the 14th:
    “You can get the same rights. You just have to do it a different way. Separate is okay if it is equal.”

    I find it hilarious that you can write that with a straight face (pun intended). Any familiarity with the civil rights movement would make a person unable to make that statement. Amazing.

    Matt

  15. I was being facetious.

  16. Recently, a 10 year old boy from Florida made headlines when he flatly refused to utter the words of the Pledge of Allegiance because he was disgusted by the injustice that he witnessed in terms of gay couples not being permitted to marry on the same terms as are available to heterosexual couples as a matter of course. I saw the full interview with this kid and his father, and far from seeing a kid who had been “indoctrinated” by one or both parents, or by any other outside influence, I saw a smart and intelligent young man who questioned the appropriateness of uttering the words to an oath when the venerated principles attested to by that oath have not been squared with reality. This young boy stated that he was “analyzing the meaning” of the words “liberty and justice for all” and that he was struck by the appalling disconnect between the wording of that aspiration and cold, hard reality.

    I read a recent conservative column in which the columnist asserted that a marriage contract is “…a contract between two people, their chosen deity and the people of the state”. Yes, insofar as those words go, that is indeed correct – if one assumes that “their chosen deity” also allows for a lack of belief in a deity altogether. But marriage is more than that – marriage is a fundamental right in the eyes of the law, described as “one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival” (see Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967)). The Loving Court went further, asserting that “[t]he freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men”. In Zablocki v. Redhail, 434 U.S. 374 (1978), the Court reaffirmed this holding, citing from Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190 (1888) that marriage is “the most important relation in life”. I need hardly point out that this holding was reiterated in Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1967) and in subsequent decisions.

    As Chief Judge Judith Kaye, of the New York Court of Appeals (the highest state court in New York) observed in her brilliant dissent in Hernandez v. Robles, 855 N.E.2d 1 (N.Y. 2006): “Simply put, fundamental rights are fundamental rights. They are not defined in terms of who is entitled to exercise them.” (Hernandez was the New York gay marriage case, in which a narrow majority of the Judges held that the New York state constitution did not compel the recognition of gay marriage in that state; Judge Kaye’s dissent was acknowledged, even by those opposed to gay marriage, as one of the finest pieces of analysis on point ever handed down by a court of equity in a Western nation.)

    So far from being the creature of “judicial fiat”, gay marriage is the entirely logical result of constitutional analysis in which the Judges or Justices concerned take their oaths seriously, notwithstanding the abuse and the torrents of name-calling that follow their handing down of decisions in accordance with their understanding of their constitutional mandates. When the New Jersey Supreme Court held, unanimously, in Lewis v. Harris, 908 A.2d 196 (N.J. 2006), that the New Jersey Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process (which are substantially more generous than their federal, US Constitutional counterparts in the form of the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (and the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause (see Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497 (1954))) mandated that the state extend to gay couples all of the benefits, rights, and privileges of marriage, without actually using the name “marriage” to describe this statutory creature, two of the Justices were haunted by death threats and were forced to serve under the constant, around the clock protection of state troopers and marshals. (Note that three of the seven Justices went further than their colleagues in the majority; whereas the four-Justice majority did not wish to force the state to recognize gay marriage in name (but did believe that the state constitution compelled the extension of equal rights, privileges, and benefits to gay couples on equal terms with heterosexual couples), the three-Justice minority wished to force full recognition of gay marriage in both name and substance. In a rare C-SPAN interview, one of the Justices noted that this was not what he had signed up for; he had not signed up to interpret the state constitution as best as he could, only to be rewarded with death threats made against him and against members of his family; this brave man nevertheless remained unwavering in his belief, which was implemented into law with the creation of “civil unions” in the Garden State.

    The gay community is in a bit of a funk at the moment, following the loss of gay marriage in both Maine and California. However, any actuary looking at the current state of play would not recommend that the anti-gay marriage forces place any bets on the outcome being in their favour. In less than a decade, five states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire) have enacted full and comprehensive gay marriage statutes. An additional five states (California, Washington, Nevada, and New Jersey) have granted to their gay citizens all of the substantive legal rights, privileges, and benefits of marriage without using the name. An additional four states (Wisconsin, Colorado, Hawaii, and Maryland) have granted to their gay citizens limited subsets of the substantive legal rights, privileges, and benefits of marriage. The District of Columbia has just signed into law a measure to recognize gay marriage in the District (and Congress is highly unlikely to intervene to disturb this new law). The State of New York recognizes gay marriages performed in jurisdictions where such marriages are legal.

    Looking at the demographics of this situation, and it is clear that justice lies not far ahead. Young persons are much more likely to accept gay marriage than are older persons (and this is not an issue that shifts within these subgroups with the passage of time).

    Where will Maggie Gallagher and her friends be a mere 30 years from now?

    PHILIP CHANDLER

  17. I especially appreciate the quote from Chief Judge Judith Kaye, Philip. Thanks.

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