Destroying Marriages to “Protect” Marriage

In all the hub-bub surrounding the start of same-sex marriages in California, it’s worth remembering that in November, there’s likely to be an initiative on the California ballot which would change the state constitution of California so that it specifically defines marriage as between a man and a woman, and recognizes as valid only those marriages between a man and a woman.

What this means is that if the initiative passes, then likely thousands of legal, actual, state-recognized and sanctioned marriages will disappear overnight. Thousands of loving couples will be forcibly removed from the legal state of marriage, not because they have chosen to do so, but because others have decided that they shouldn’t allowed to be recognized as having a marriage. I imagine it will be single largest forced annulment action between married couples in the history of the United States. This initiative will unambiguously, concretely and irrevocably destroy marriages. This initiative murders marriages.

Naturally, this initiative is called the “California Marriage Protection Act.”

I was married in California and lived part of my married life there, so I feel somewhat invested in this. First and foremost, the idea that marriage in general needs to be “protected” by denying it to same-sex couples is ridiculous, just as it was when people believed that marriage needed to be “protected” by denying it to interracial couples. Second and more specifically, the idea that my marriage needs to be protected by a bunch of hyperventilating ninnies in the midst of a queer panic makes me want to retch. Please do keep your clammy, quivering, homophobic fingers off my state of matrimony, if you please. My marriage has not once been threatened by same-sex marriage; heck, I’ve been to Massachusetts at least four times since same-sex marriage was made legal in that commonwealth. Roving bands of same-sex married couples did not trample my marriage rights while I was there.

But even more specifically, claiming to “protect” marriage when in fact you are intent of destroying potentially thousands of loving, legal marriages is an abomination. Every person who says they support the “California Marriage Protection Act” should be asked this question: “So, you’re willing to destroy legal marriages?” And when they try to wiggle out of answering, by, say, suggesting that “unelected judges” usurped the public will (which is incorrect, as California Supreme Court justices stand for election), or that same-sex couples shouldn’t have been married in the first place, or that their religious rights are somehow being trampled on, or that the federal government doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage anyway, they should be patiently and firmly asked the following yes or no questions:

1. Are there legally-married same-sex couples in California?

2. Will the “California Marriage Protection Act” destroy those legal same-sex marriages?

The answers to both: Yes. Which leads back to the first question, doesn’t it.

Make no mistake that supporters of the “California Marriage Protection Act” will be voting to destroy existing marriages. Every single person who says they support this initiative should be made to understand that is what they are going to do, and be made to acknowledge that fact. Every person who is on the fence about the initiative should be made to understand that this will be the consequence. Same-sex marriage is not some theoretical construct in California; it exists. And while no marriages will end if the “California Marriage Protection Act” fails, many marriages will end if it passes.

It does not profit anyone to ignore this reality, nor to ignore the shameful irony of claiming this act somehow “protects” marriage. It doesn’t. So don’t.

231 thoughts on “Destroying Marriages to “Protect” Marriage

  1. I was amused that it all those charming pictures of newlyweds, the one person who I knew to be guilty of undermining marriage was Mayor Gavin Newsom, given his, er, extracirricular activities.

  2. I never thought about it like that. You’re absolutely right, of course… I think I’ll direct some of my ‘One Man One Woman’ friends to this post and see what they think.

  3. Jon S:

    Yes, a lot of folks don’t think about it like that. It’s why I’m reminding people of that fact.

  4. It might be a good time for people to move away from state sponsored marriage and towards private contracts. You know, depend on a lawyer you payed for rather than one your neighbors voted for.

  5. Well, the same demographic actually used the same approach with our constitutional freedoms for the last seven years: protect them by destroying them. At least they’re consistent.

  6. Yeah, I just don’t get it. Being gay, lesbian, poly, or whatever affects my marriage about as much as eye color — e.g., it doesn’t.

    To my mind, it makes marriage *stronger* by allowing more people to make a commitment to one another, rather than reduce the numbers who can do so. But being a rational, thinking, tolerant human being has always been against the will of god. *sigh*

  7. Walt:

    Whether one believe this to be the case or not, it’s neither here nor there to the facts in front of us at the moment.

    Indeed, in a general sense, let’s not use this thread to discuss how we think government should handle marriage (or not) and let’s instead discuss the actual reality on the ground, as regards marriage in California.

  8. I live in California and all the talk I’ve been hearing is that if, god forbid, the constitutional amendment passes it should have no effect on any same sex marriages that were legally preformed prior to the amendment passing. Of course that would be contested but I’m hoping it won’t come to that.

    You can’t legislate love

  9. Walt It might be a good time for people to move away from state sponsored marriage and towards private contracts.

    Does a private contract enforce health care coverage by your employer for your spouse? Or allow you to become the legal parent of a child of your married partner, or all of the other rules that private contracts actually don’t cover?

    It might with some major changes to the legal code, but until getting all of these contracts covered in a package that’s as financially accessible as marriage happens, you’ve just made marriage the way it stands today accessible only to the wealthy.

    It’s not a good time for that. What an astoundingly dumb idea.

  10. There are some arguments that I don’t agree with but that I understand (e.g. Unborn babies are people.), and some arguments that I don’t understand but agree with (e.g. Guns are vital to our freedom).

    This, I can neither understand NOR agree with.

    Why the fuck do they care who gets married? Honestly, how can they care SO MUCH that they want to change the state constitution? Did a gay married couple kill their puppy?

    Or is it…could it be…jealousy? Cause you KNOW those wedding nights are going to be CRAZY HOT, and Mr. and Mrs. Evangelical ain’t got any booty in years.

  11. I don’t understand why we can’t have a system like the French. They apparently have a setup where marriage must be recognized by a civil authority then you can have whatever religious ceremony you wish afterwards to commemorate the occasion. Boom, no more “Same sex marriage is ruining the Christian institution of marriage” issue. The whole thing becomes a government contract issue or something that your local parish can decided to do nor not to do.

  12. The California Supreme Court rightly saw through the smoke and obfuscation raised by folks who fear what they don’t understand. Shame on those who will not see–ignorance is no excuse.

  13. NinjaSuperSpy,
    Isn’t that pretty much what we’ve got? I mean, all you need is a Justice of the Priest thingy, and you’re good to go. Or the insta-ordainment that lets Pagans or whatnot marry people.
    Or even Jews.
    Marriage isn’t a Christian institution, not even in Amurika.

  14. Just so you know, my “even Jews” statement was meant to emphasize that this isn’t a “Christian issue” and now looking back, I realize it was reealllly poorly worded.
    Sorry.

  15. Brilliant! Thank you. I’ve never understood how it is even remotely possible that allowing same-sex couples to marry could in any way affect the marriages of heterosexual couples. I will be referring people to your post here, as you’ve made the point far more eloquently than I have ever managed.

  16. Sorry. Spent too long typing my nonsense, didn’t see the “don’t talk about marriage theory” thing. For the actual reality of California, is there a way that it would work retroactively? I’ve been out of High School Civics for about ten years, but isn’t there something in the Constitution about not making things illegal after they’ve already happened? I would think that this would make it impossible to perform more same sex marriages, but wouldn’t change ones that were already done… right?

  17. Adam #8: I live in California and all the talk I’ve been hearing is that if, god forbid, the constitutional amendment passes it should have no effect on any same sex marriages that were legally preformed prior to the amendment passing.

    I also live in CA, and I haven’t heard that. The text I’ve read indicates that only different-sex marriages will be legal under the constitution, full stop. No grandfathering.

    And frankly, that’s fine with me — by which I mean that the prospect of annulling pre-existing marriages by passage of the amendment is the best argument against it. For strategic reasons, I don’t want grandfathering in the legislation. And I also think it’s too late to include it–all those people who signed the petitions signed them well before the Supreme Court ruling, before anyone knew there would be a grandfathering question.

    I strongly discourage anyone from reading the comments under the SF Chronicle or the LA Times articles about the LBGT weddings: there’s a lot of homophobes out there who are convinced California will fall into the sea as punishment for our hedonistic ways. Oh noes.

    Me, I’m just hoping to get an invitation to my former boss’ wedding: he’s been with his partner for about 30 years, and they’re marvelous people.

  18. If we declare those who were married in same-sex ceremonies illegal enemy combatants, we could combine two pressing issues.

  19. Scalzi, you owe me a new keyboard. I’ll never be able to clean out all the coffee that spewed through my nose and onto my keyboard after reading “hyperventilating ninnies in the midst of a queer panic”.

    Seriously, I don’t understand why anyone really cares about who marries who. It seems to be all about “ewww!”. Ewww! two guys kissing each other. Ewww!. I say the same logic should apply to ugly people getting married or fat people getting married. Ewwww! what kind of kids are they going to produce? (or course by both of my new standards of marriage, I’m eliminated).

    Let’s make marriage rights something that can be bought and sold. You get 1 right to get married per life. You can buy or sell this right. You don’t get it back when you get divorced. I’ll gladly sell my right to get married to any gay or straight couple that wants it. :)

  20. Bravo John!!!

    I couldn’t agree with you more, and when I say agree I mean every single word of what you said here. My wife and I have this argument on a semi-regular basis (she takes a position against same-sex a marriage, regardess of the fact that 80% of our friends are gay men and women.)

  21. As someone living in the Bay Area of California, this issue has always frustrated me. These “christian” types who are so quick to judge others as unfit, so quick to see threat where none exists. To cast the first stone, as it were.

    The (heterosexual) divorce rate is around 50%. Some enormous percentage of (hetero) married people have cheated on their spouses. The personals ads are full of unhappily married people looking for “discreet encounters”.

    So, uh, what’s so precious here that it needs to be protected from gay people?

    My long-term coupled gay friends, some of whom will be now getting married, have amazingly stable relationships. Not having the excuse of “we’re married, now we don’t have to keep working on our relationship”, they have built solid foundations of love, communication and respect.

    Gee, yeah, maybe we SHOULDN’T let gays get married! They might end up as cavalier about it as many straight people are, and all end up miserable too!

  22. I’m down with the same-sex marriage. Whatever works for them. It has no bearing on my marriage nor on my religion.

    But I’d imagine that if you asked the supporters this question, their response would be “those were never REAL marriages anyway. Recognized as legal? Yes. But not hetero, therefore not real marriages”. I’m sure that the thought wouldn’t trouble them at all.

  23. JimR @ 11:

    I know that was a totally supportive comment, but the jealousy point buys in to one of the more annoying stereotypes of being gay – that we’re all totally sex obsessed. Well, erm, we don’t. Even though I have a date with my boyfriend tonight I’m totally thinking more about getting my thesis finished right now. Honestly. Canadian administrative law is what I’m obsessed with at the moment.

    And as a relatively non-threatening, sports loving gay boy, I’m in the interesting position of being privy to both boy talk with the straight boys and girl talk with the straight girls. And trust me, the straight kids my age (mid 20s) are doing just as much (or just as little, as the case may be at the time) dirty stuff as any gay peeps. At the other end of the scale, my late-50s gay uncle and his partner are, I’m sure, just as boring and uninteresting as my early 60s parents. Actually, they’re more boring. Look I know I’m probably being a bit touchy here, but you’d be surprised by the number of people, some of whom know me quite well, who assume I’m participating in CRAZY HOT orgies every other day when I, you know, actually don’t. And have no real desire to do so.

    And as for your main point, John. I think the fact that there will be legal marriages will make it harder for the proponents of a constitutional amendment to sway the middle ground that they need to get a majority – its an awful lot easier to convince people that “marriage should be reserved for straight couples” than “we should un-marry thousands of legally united couples”. On a related note, it seems to me slightly bizarre that you can amend the state constitution on a simple popular vote majority? I mean Switzerland, home of direct democracy, doesn’t even make it that easy.

  24. “You do what I believe”, the end of humanity, and past the beginning of tyranny. I hope it doesn’t pass, and fear that it will.

  25. Excellent post, Scalzi, as usual.

    I was reading the news this morning and saw this article in the Mercury News. What I found interesting (In an appallingly ignorant way) was this comment below the article:

    This gay “marriage” thing is sooo wrong. It’s such a farce! Don’t get me wrong, I like gay people., but there are just some things that are not for them and marriage is one of them. We will wipe it all away come November.

    “I like gay people…” yeah, just as long as they know their place and don’t get all life, liberty, and happiness on us.

    Gah, the smug self righteousness of the Adam and Eve, Not Adam and Steve crowd turns my stomach. I have two questions for these idiots:
    1) How, exactly and no uncertain terms, does gay marriage in any way whatsoever affect my marriage? Specifics, please, and you’re not allowed to cite God, the Bible, or anything else dealing with your religion. I don’t subscribe to it, and as an American I refuse to be bound to your belief system. Justify your position in Constitutional terms only.

    2) If male/female marriage is sacred, how come religious people cheat on, beat up, and divorce their spouses at pretty much the same rate as everybody else? And doesn’t that denigrate the sanctity of marriage? Isn’t there something in the Bible about mote, eye, and not being a fucking hypocrite?

    Sorry for the rant, but this entire subject, and the fact that after two hundred and thirty something years, we’re still dealing with dickheads who just can’t seem to understand that the United States is supposed to be about equal rights for all.

  26. If marriage is sacred, then why do people treat it as if it were disposable? It’s ok for celebrities to be married for less than a week or have multiple divorces but it’s not ok for homosexuals to marry? Divorce rate is 50% currently but marriage is sacred?

    Right.

  27. I’ve often wondered why gay marriages are considered a threat to the institution of marriage when apparently adultery (well at least by men) isn’t. The reasoning behind this arguement escapes me.

  28. I’m not a constitutional scholar – does the prohibition in the US Constitution against the states passing ex post facto laws also apply to state Constitutions?

  29. My friend’s favorite comic showed a middle-aged man on a couch, reading the paper. The caption is “Gay Marriage! Haven’t those poor people suffered enough?!”

    I have a really hard time understanding how my marriage is at all threatened if gays are allowed to wed. I ought to feel sorry for the poor homophobes who get so upset about this subject, but really all I can summon up is a kind of tired-out annoyance.

  30. Regardless of how one feels on the matter the California Supreme Court has created this problem itself. They did what the should initially – use their own judgment to decide the merits of a case appealed from a lower court – but then reneged on their duty when the forced the implementation so quickly. Lower Courts routinely stay their own orders awaiting appeal – or have those orders forcibly stayed by higher Courts if they do not.

    It is arrogance in the extreme when, knowing that the ballot initiative was appearing in November – not some theoretical maybe but an actual question directly addressing their decision – the CSP decided that the people of the state were not a valid route of appeal that merited the same respect as a higher court.

    On a side note – currently the largest mass annulment occurred when the state of Utah joined the US and, contrary to the will of the majority of the people, inserted a politically motivated clause into their state constitution outlawing polygamy.

  31. John,

    In my opinion, the problem here is that the gay marriage proponents are attempting to change a long standing cultural taboo. Now you may think it needs to be changed and never should have been in place in the first place and you may be right but that is not the point. It is what it is and it does exist. The best way to effect a change like this in a democracy like ours is through the legislature and the ballot box. This takes time and can be messy but in the end it produces the most amiacable results. The other way of course is through the courts. The benefit here is that you only have to persuade a few well educated judges rather than a plurality of your neighbors. The down side is that your neighbors may resent having been cut out of the loop.

    In California the voters were very clear that they did not want to take this step at this time. They may have been wrong but that is their perogative. The judges stepped in and preempted the clear will of the voters. Moreover they also deliberately chose not to delay the implementation of their decision until the voters could weigh in again just to create the condition that you are highlighting in this post. Thus the judiciary not only vetoed the will of the voters but they are attempting to guilt them into acquiescing by putting the newly married gay couples at risk.

    One doesn’t have to be homophobic to resent the heavy handed manner in which this was carried out, and it could very well cause a backlash in November which would be a tradgedy for the gay couples who would then have their marriages annulled. However to put the blame for that on the voters is perverse. The voters of California have never been ambiguous about where they stand on this issue and if they vote for the measure in November it will be consistant with every other vote that they have ever participated in. In my mind the real culprits are the gay activists who tried to take a short cut past the voters instead of engaging them and winning them over and the Judges who set up the no-win scenario using the gay couples to cynically try to force the vote to go their direction.

    In my opinion the gay lobby was doing much better at moving into the mainstream and changing cultural attitudes before they turned to the courts on this issue. I think that their actions in Mass. and now California have set them back significantly vis-a-vis the larger population.

    The process is important.

  32. Well said, John. It makes me sick with despair to think of people being robbed of their marriage licenses after finally (finally!) being granted them.

  33. Drew wrote:
    In my opinion, the problem here is that the gay marriage proponents are attempting to change a long standing cultural taboo. Now you may think it needs to be changed and never should have been in place in the first place and you may be right but that is not the point. It is what it is and it does exist. The best way to effect a change like this in a democracy like ours is through the legislature and the ballot box. This takes time and can be messy but in the end it produces the most amiacable results.

    How’d that “take it easy, just wait, the world will come around” work out for interracial marriages?

    We HAVE to have activist judges who will do what is RIGHT instead of what is POPULAR because what is popular is bigotry and hatred and it disgusts me.

  34. Here’s another question you can ask those who support this bill:

    As a conservative, aren’t you generally opposed to the concept of “protected classes?”

    Make no mistake: that’s exactly what this bill does. It makes heterosexuals a protected class. I guess conservatives are OK with that, as long as they’re the ones being protected.

  35. If this thing passes, I’ll give money to someone to put an initiative on the next ballot to get rid of ALL marriages in the state of California.

    I know it wouldn’t pass, but I think it’d be worth a bit of money.

  36. Erm, Drew, the California legislature did pass gay marriage legislation. Twice. Arnie vetoed it and said he wanted the courts to decide. They did, and he’s ok with that. We now have ALL THREE branches of the Californian government – legislatiure, executive, and judiciary, in favour of gay marriage.

    Explain to me how that’s meaningfully undemocratic?

  37. Sadly, this was an entirely predictable negative consequence of the judicial activism that produced the the decision in the first place. The amendment went from ‘probably won’t pass’, to ‘probably will pass’, and will therefore make the process of undoing this much more difficult.

    And if it comes to pass, some blame needs to be placed on the judges who refused to stay implementation of their decision knowing this was on the ballot.

    It is going to be a mess, though, and one the courts will definitely get involved in.

  38. Several points:
    “If marriage is sacred, then why do people treat it as if it were disposable?” Using this as an argument against the ‘protect marriage’ crowd implies that they’re just fine with the disposable marriage culture we’ve got going here. That simply ain’t the case, and pretty obviously so. The ‘protect marriage’ crowd is the same crowd that thinks if a couple isn’t life or death serious about staying together till death do them part, they ought not to get married. Straw men…everywhere!

    Next, implying that folks who are against same-sex marriages are against it because they feel that their marriage, personally, would be threatened by it, is yet another straw man. No reasoning opponent to same-sex marriage that I know or have heard talk, claims that. Since no one is really making that claim why do we have to hear that claim pounded on all the time? It makes me tired.

    Next, Scalzi is right, the “Marriage Protection Act” does nothing of the sort. If it were to be named for what its proponents actually want it to protect, it would be named the “Society Protection Act” The reasoning people I know who are opposed to same-sex marriages are opposed to it because they think it will hurt our society, as in make it unstable or unsustainable. As in, even more people will see marriage as nothing more than a ‘gesture’ than already do. They think we’ll end up with more children born out of wedlock and being raised by single parents and that all the negative effects (single parents stressed out of their minds from holding down two jobs to pay for kids by themselves or on welfare, kids growing up without appropriate parental guidance and ending up criminals and/or on welfare, etc…) will be exacerbated to unacceptable levels. Whether that would actually be the effect of open marriage laws is subject to debate. Since there are very few societies that practice it there isn’t really any way to tell in advance. The proponents of same sex marriage think society would be better for it, the opponents think it would be worse for it. Essentially they are of the opinion that stable, reasoning, and contributing individuals are best produced from families that include a Mother and a Father (Mom and Dad each having different and important effects on the children, at least half of which would be missing in a same sex couple or a single parent situation)

    As for me personally, I don’t think we can really know what effect legalizing same-sex marriages will have on our society. I lean toward the opinion that it will lower the number of kids being raised by a mom and a dad and that a kid with both a mom and a dad is more likely to grow up into an outstanding citizen but I recognize that there isn’t any proof either way. I don’t know of any society where the experiment has been tried. I’d vote against legalizing same-sex marriage for that reason. However, I also recognize that we live in a democracy and if the proponents can get same-sex marriage legalized, more power to them. That’s how democracies work.

  39. drew @# 33:

    Rights are not subject to the will of the majority. They are not granted by election. If a cultural taboo – which is enshrined in law – violates civil rights, then seeking redress through the courts is the process to follow.

    Interracial marriage was a long standing cultural taboo. That doesn’t mean that Loving v. Virginia should not have been decided by the Supreme Court.

    That’s the whole point of the Bill of Rights. The majority doesn’t get to decide what rights are granted to the minority. The minority doesn’t have to depend on convincing people that they should be treated equally. The Fourteenth Amendment took care of that.

  40. I think the argument I hate more than “they don’t deserve to be married” is “they’re so uppity. Why can’t they wait patiently for their rights like they should?”

  41. Drew,

    See @41, where DG Lewis nicely says “If a cultural taboo – which is enshrined in law – violates civil rights, then seeking redress through the courts is the process to follow.”

    I define “right” as “not denying civil rights to a group because a particular subset of citizens finds them morally objectionable for no reason that I can see other than it’s what their pastor has told them to think.”

    Clearly, that definition is fast and loose, as it doesn’t apply when I’m right in a conversation, but I am, at least this time.

  42. The original proposition passed in California was a statute change, not a constitutional change, and thus was subject to the interpretation of the judiciary. That’s how our legal system works and I wonder why the backers of that measure didn’t take that seriously.

    Even if a constitutional amendment is passed, I don’t see how it wouldn’t create some cognitive dissonance with the equal protection clause. Colorado saw that with their anti-gay rights amendment.

    Unrelated: is there any non-religious based opposition to same-sex marriage?

  43. The one thing that pisses me off about this whole thing is that religious people think they have a monopoly on marriage. Marriage isn’t a religious institution. I don’t see why gay people can’t get married for religious reasons when I can get married by a judge without religion coming into it. If I can get married without stepping in a church, then clearly marriage is NOT a religious institution only. Not to mention that marriage has existed in some form or another in practically every single culture that has ever existed and a good chunk of them have had marriage not because it’s sanctioned by divine will or some crap like that, but because two people like one another or love one another or, probably more commonly, someone was sold for goats to someone else.
    And I agree with you, Mr. Scalzi, gay marriage has not harmed the sanctity of marriage one bit. Crazy religious people have. Or maybe the divorce rate or adultery? Just let gays marry and leave it be. Stop throwing a fit and accept it. You can fight it all you want now, but you know it’s going to stick eventually. Look at all the other ties religious folks have thrown a fit over something and tried to ban it…practically every single one of those things is now legal and/or common (or in some cases, things became illegal, such as slavery, but you get what I mean).

    Meh. Leave it be. It’s in the Bible to “love thy neighbor”, so a good stat would be to let your neighbor be happy by getting married to someone of the same sex because that is who they are. Meh!

  44. Drew:

    “The best way to effect a change like this in a democracy like ours is through the legislature and the ballot box.”

    Well, in point of fact the popularly-elected legislature twice voted to allow same-sex marriage in California (it was vetoed by the governor, who if memory serves wanted the courts to rule on the matter), so that sort of undercuts the argument.

    Beyond this: Bah. I think people find it convenient to retreat to a “will of the people” argument, but by and large it means they either don’t understand, or willfully chose to ignore, how the government actually works. Contrary to the meme pushed these days, the reason the judicial branches are typically “unelected” (or up for election rarely, as in the case of California) is so they can makes rulings insulated from the tides of public opinion in order to focus on what is just and correct. Every person who bitches about “unelected judges” in my mind shows either ignorance of or contempt for the design of government offered by our founders.

    So: I disagree that the best way to handle this is by a process in which a simple majority can strip other Californians of the rights they already have. I think the best way to handle it is through the long-standing and time-tested tri-partate, checks and balances system of government we have. As it happens, I think it did its job really well in this case. As it was designed to do.

  45. Skar wrote:
    I don’t think we can really know what effect legalizing same-sex marriages will have on our society. I lean toward the opinion that it will lower the number of kids being raised by a mom and a dad

    I don’t understand. If Jenny and Susie can’t get married, that means that their child will magically be raised by Jenny and Steve? What on earth are you talking about?

    I understand the philosophical implications, how we don’t know how this will affect society. Tough cookies. No fault divorce also affected how many marriages stayed together and I’m not crying very hard about that – to grant women the right to get out of a marriage that is abusive is more important than the fake hand-holding of “oh, gosh, we’re all so married and stable and isn’t it great?”

    We aren’t talking about philosophy, we’re talking about PEOPLE. We’re talking about children being denied to their parents because they both happen to have the same genitals. We’re talking about partners of decades not being permitted to see each other in the hospital, or pass property or wealth amongst themselves. The cat’s already out of the bag on gay relationships here. We need to support what is right, which is the protection of those citizens.

  46. Skip @ 39: See my response to Drew @38. This can in no way be described an undemocratic from the courts for the reasons I discuss.

    Skar @ 40:

    “I don’t know of any society where the experiment has been tried. I’d vote against legalizing same-sex marriage for that reason.”

    The Netherlands. Belgium. Spain. And, for civil unions with idential rights to marriage, see New Zealand and most of Scandinavia.

    The Netherlands has had it the longest, and their society has yet to collapse. Indeed, the social problem they seem most concerned with is not kids raised by gay couples but an influx of immigration by illiberal groups that disapprove of gay gouples!

  47. Sorry, but judges do not owe an answer nor an apology to “the clear will of the people.” The Jim Crow laws of the south, and the grandfathering of the vote were the “will of the people.” These laws would have kept my relatives apart, and, although popular, still would have been wrong. Wrong is wrong, and I applaud the judges who could see that so clearly.
    Oddly enough, the same people who blast these “activist judges” for subverting the will of the people often have no issue with the judges actions against the recently passed Medical Marijuana Initiative, which was also, clearly, the will of the people. Apparently “the will of the people” is only valid if it represents your own beliefs. Odd, because I happen to be one of “the people.” – and I won’t be voting for the initiative.

  48. Suppose a couple married in California and moved to New York. New York would recognize their marriage. That shouldn’t be affected by any later legislation in California, since they no longer live there.

  49. Eddie @49, don’t forget Canada. And, of course, Massachusetts. Neither has had any of their citizens turned into condiments, nor had large-scale destruction by natural forces, and — the last time I checked, anyway — children were still being produced, still being raised, still being educated, with no change in the percentage of them turning out evil.

  50. In regards to “the reality on the ground in CA”, keeping with John’s request, I’ll concur with Eddie – CA votes passed 2 marriage acts for same sex couples, and were not signed by the Governator. He wanted the courts to settle the issue. And they did.

    Skip, it’s only a negative consequence if you don’t like same sex marriage. I think it’s great. My newly married same sex couple friends in CA, many of whom have children also think it’s great. They get a whole raft of benefits, plus the potential to move their marriage and family across country while retaining those benefits.

    We had the same judicial activism in Loving v Virginia. It comes down to heterosexuals good, homosexuals bad, just like it did with anti miscegenation laws calling single race couples good, and biracial couples bad.

    For that matter, Brown v Board Of Ed was considered judicial activism in it’s time. Please feel free to complain about those decisions too.

    John – is that OK for “facts on the ground”? It’s hard to talk about all of this without referencing SCOTUS decisions.

    That said, one of my friends form CA just IM’d me to squee about FINALLY being able to get married.

    I’m all weepy. Tears of joy. Those are the “fact on the ground”.

    Just look at these photos

    Have some tissues on hand.

  51. Sean @ 52:

    D’oh! I forgot that and I’m living in Canada at the moment.! And yes, the main mental aberration with Canadians is their obsession with hockey, and that was around long before gay marriage.

    And, Jared, the non-religious arguments tend to be either related to tradition – across all cultures, marriage has always been one man and one woman (which is generally true but displays a gross ignorance of the fairly notable exceptions to this rule) – or child-related (kids should be raised not by 2 parents but specifically by a mother and a father). I don’t find either of these hugely convincing, but they’re there, and they’re not religious.

  52. I think the problem is that the term marriage has both civil and religious meaning. It is unfortunate that we can’t seperate the two. Civil law is not the same as Religious law. That is one of the many things I love about the USA. As an observant Jew, I am opposed to a religious Jewish marriage between a same sex couple (as I am opposed to any Jewish marriage that does not conform to Jewish law). I have no problem with civil marriages for same sex couples (even if both people are Jews). I would happily attend such a marriage of a relative or friend. I suspect there may be many believing Christians and Muslims (who you might think were “conservatives”) who would take the same approach.

  53. I think everyone here would benefit from hearing Louis CK’s arguments for and against gay marriage

    It really sums up the whole issue perfectly.

  54. Skar: “Straw men…everywhere!”

    Assuming it is a strawman argument, does that make the point wrong? I don’t think so. I don’t embrace logical fallacies, but whether it is a logical fallacy seems rather spectacularly irrelevant here. Scalzi is making his point rhetorically; it exposes the hypocrisy embraced by the anitmarriage crowd, and it succeeds at that rather well.

    And how can antimarriage types see themselves as protecting society, I wonder? They are the ones trying to coerce society into reflecting only their codes of conduct, which isn’t very neighborly or even reasonable. If you’re right, Skar, the only thing underlying their actions is fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Does that seem like reason to you?

  55. Emily @ 48:
    “I don’t understand. If Jenny and Susie can’t get married, that means that their child will magically be raised by Jenny and Steve? What on earth are you talking about?”
    Same-sex couples raising kids don’t constitute a mom and dad. Enshrining same-sex couples with the same rights as hetero couples would include, I assume, adoption rights for male couples and it would normalize artificial insemination for female couples. These result in kids being raised by same-sex couples, which I consider to be less than ideal. No meaningful proof, obviously, if you have proof in the other direction I’d be happy see it and maybe change my opinion.

    “We aren’t talking about philosophy, we’re talking about PEOPLE.”

    All law is philosophy. Laws based on the convenience, desires, rights of one person would be bad laws for everyone else. Laws need to be based on the “right” thing for the population as a whole. There will always be situations where good law has an unintended bad effect on a few people. It’s unavoidable.

    “We’re talking about children being denied to their parents because they both happen to have the same genitals.”
    How exactly would a couple who happen to have the same genitals be denied children, since they can’t HAVE children together? If you’re talking about adoption, yeah, it would. That would be the point. This just comes down to the fact that I think kids raised by a mom and a dad are better off than kids raised by a single parent or a same-sex couple, and you don’t. Again, show me evidence contradicting my opinion and I’ll probably change it.

    “We’re talking about partners of decades … protection of those citizens.”
    My opinion is simply that the protection of that small group of citizens, by legalizing same-sex marriages would have wider negative effects than not, which effects I’ve described. Some of the things you describe, like partners of decades not being able to see each other in the hospital and or pass property among themselves are remediable without legalizing same-sex marriage. I would not be opposed to those remedies at all since they wouldn’t impact the raising of children.

  56. FYI, Jonathan, there are plenty of Reform Rabbis as well as Episcopalian, and other Christian denominations who’re happy to marry same sex couples in a big married marriage of wedded married bliss.

    Those are not civil ceremonies. They’re religious ceremonies. The people conducting them sometimes say that a divine presence blesses the marriage.

    It’s just not your religion. And that’s cool. I don’t even believe in the supernatural at all. I’m happy to call religious marriage ceremonies marriages. I can call civil ceremonies marriages too.

  57. “The Netherlands. Belgium. Spain. And, for civil unions with idential rights to marriage, see New Zealand and most of Scandinavia.”

    I’d love to see some statistics on children being born out of wedlock, welfare recipients, crime rates, etc… from those places. If the experiment has been tried let’s see some figures!

  58. Skar, I’d like to see your proof that a man and a woman raising a child is the ideal. The onus of proof is on yourself. Proof that would stand up to science, please, because science currently says nothing of the sort.

  59. Eddie @ 52 – thanks. I had forgotten the bit about tradition (something Americans generally have little respect for, otherwise we’d still have a monarchy based on heredity, a national church, and a caste system) and the “collapse of society” argument that Skar mentioned.

    The more restrained thing to do would have been to wait for the ballot initiative in November, as others have said. So perhaps allowing the marriages to go ahead is activist and self-righteous. I don’t know what the motives behind that were: trying to create momentum to make the constitutional amendment harder to pass (and if that will backfire), a desire to spite the opposition, or if it was just old fashioned exuberance over finally being in a place to do the fair thing.

  60. Skar@61:

    “No meaningful proof, obviously, if you have proof in the other direction I’d be happy see it and maybe change my opinion.”

    Oct. 13, 2005 (Washington) — An analysis of multiple studies of 500 households shows that rearing children in a same-sex household does not affect the their self-esteem, gender identity, or emotional health, a Boston researcher reported.

    “Pediatricians need to recognize that there are variations in families and learn what kind of advice to give them to optimize the child’s development,” said Ellen Perrin, MD, professor of pediatrics at Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts.

    The researcher and colleagues looked at data from 15 studies evaluating possible stigma, teasing, social isolation, adjustment, sexual orientation, and strengths. The findings were presented here at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition.

    There you go, Skar.

  61. Skar @ 61:

    Wow, you must be the most risk-averse person in the world!

    Your arguments appears to go as follows: there is no evidence either way as to whether kids are worse off being raised by a gay couple (although I’d note that there is at least fairly solid evidence that kids raised in gay households are no more likely to be GAY than those raised in straight ones), so I won’t support it. Does that means you leave the house with a raincoat every mornign just in case it rains? Or never drive just in case you crash?

    Come on. If there’s no evidence either way, and you seem to admit there isn’t, your ‘hunch’ that gay couple are worse for children comes down to prejudice. Which is fine – everyone has prejudices, god knows I do. Just don’t pretend that its something at all resembling a reasoned argument.

  62. Skar, you seem to be under the mistaken impression that the only way for a lesbian couple to have a child is to go to a sperm bank and the only way for a gay male couple is for both of them to adopt. There are many, many gay couples who have children; the problem isn’t stopping them from doing this, which we clearly can’t do. The problem is protecting their rights and their children’s rights.

    You also seem to believe that “parents” means something legal over something familial, which seems to me to contradict your entire point.

    If Jenny gives birth to a baby, and she and Susie raise that child as their own, then little Beth has two mommies. For you to suggest that simply because Susie has no legal standing to be considered her parent means that Susie is NOT her parent is outrageous. My step-mother has no legal standing to be considered my parent, and I still consider her one of my parents.

    I don’t understand why you’re so concerned about the gender of the people doing the raising. I’d be much more concerned about whether or not the children are getting education and love and all those things that children sometimes don’t get, even in those mythical perfect one-man one-woman households. Being heterosexual doesn’t mean you want your kids, or will care for them, or won’t abuse them. It doesn’t make you a better parent by default, and you have absolutely no proof to show me that it does, so I’m putting that back on you to show to me.

    You’re the one saying that single-gender parents aren’t better; prove it.

  63. DG Lewis @41,

    You are correct in an academic sense but you are glossing over the roots of the current culture wars.

    What we are seeing now in my opinion is a battle over who gets to define morality in the public sphere. When our country was founded there was a near universal acceptance that morality was based in the judeo-christian tradition and most people were familiar with that tradition and accepted that position. Hence phrases like ” we hold these truths to be self evident”.

    Since then the post-moderns among others have divorced our public morality from the judeo-christian tradition. The recent emphasis has been on private morality and relativism. However this leaves open the important question of who gets to decide what is right or wrong in the public sphere. Currently there are two competing camps. The courts and the voters. Both are claiming the right to define public standards of morality for the country.

    This case is a classic example of that battle. Other examples include abortion, euthanasia, stem cells, war, taxes, etc…

    The issues become contentious because if you can’t point to a sacred text like the bible, or to popular opinion as expressed through the ballot, or to a cultural tradition, then what yard stick can we use to settle disputes? Are there universal values as implied in the 14th amendment that everyone can agree on or is there an ever evolving set of standards based on who is in power? And if it is the latter ( morality based on power) then popularity is a legitimate source as is control of the army, or access to large amounts of money. You simply can’t have morality in a vaccuum.

    Without an accepted “yardstick” for measuring morality our judiciary is truly just making it up as they go along. I am sure that the framers of the California Constitution did not consciously say anything about gay marriage in the text and if they had, I am sure that it would not have been favorable. The recent court ruling then is not based on a clear reading of a non-existent text but rather on an interpretation filtered by current opinion.

    The problem is that it is just that, “an opinion”. There is no universally agreed upon standard against which to measure it. You can’t say that they are right or wrong, you can only say that you agree or disagree based on your own personal feelings.

    In an earlier post Emily stated that she wanted activist judges who would do the “right” thing. But what does that mean?

    John Scalzi obviously feels very strongly about this subject, and seems to know that he is right and that the people on the other side of the question are wrong, but on what basis does he make that claim?

    One can only make a statement like that if one also believes in knowable Truth with a capital T. However anyone who makes that claim in today’s polite society is labled as a narrow minded bigot.

    What we are left with is a battle of feelings.

    On the one hand are gay couples who feel that they should be able to get married. On the other hand are social conservatives who feel that they shouldn’t.

    Someone is going to have their feelings hurt.

    Which would violate our constitutional right to be comfortable…

    God help us.

  64. I think this is a horrible idea, if only for the fact that YOU DON’T MESS WITH THE SULU.

    I’m sure that with an arm full of the marriage stuff, he’s not afraid of a supernova.

  65. Skar @ 61:

    “I’d love to see some statistics on children being born out of wedlock, welfare recipients, crime rates, etc… from those places. If the experiment has been tried let’s see some figures!”

    YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS. I mean come on. Now I know you’re just being wilfully prejudiced. Yes, gay marriage causes crime, and welfare reliance. And allowing more people to get married will INCREASE the rate of birth out of wedlock. I do know that all those countries cited have a lower murder rate and infant mortality rate than America. So maybe gay marriages decrease murders and increase child health. Which of course they don’t, but your argument is just as absurd as that.

    And if I sound pissed, I am. You try being told that the recognition of your relationships causes crime and social instability. I mean, really. This is an argument about real people with real emotions in real relationships. And some of them are posting on here. Have some bloody respect. If I didn’t think John would redact them, there’d be a HELL of a lot of swearing in this post. You’re being outrageously offensive.

  66. 61 Skar – Same-sex couples raising kids don’t constitute a mom and dad. Enshrining same-sex couples with the same rights as hetero couples would include, I assume, adoption rights for male couples and it would normalize artificial insemination for female couples. These result in kids being raised by same-sex couples, which I consider to be less than ideal. No meaningful proof, obviously, if you have proof in the other direction I’d be happy see it and maybe change my opinion.

    Not that googling for “same sex couples” and “children” is that hard, but if you’re lazy,

    here

    here

    here

    and here

    I’d also be happy to provide personal testimony that EVERY same sex couple I’ve seen with kids have been incredible parents. Why? Because these people have to want those kids. A lot. They make a commitment that people who just happen to get pregnant don’t. They have to work much harder, and be constantly aware of what benefits come across, and what benefits don’t. Insurance is a nightmare that could be solved by simply moving marriage laws to covert them. It would inconvenience no one at all in any meaningful way.

  67. I would take this moment to again remind people, incidentally, that arguing about whether same-sex marriage is good or correct or right as a concept is utterly immaterial to the fact it exists and that same-sex couples are now married in California.

    The question is not whether there is a reason not to make same-sex marriage legal. The question is what moral and legal right is there to take away a right Californians now enjoy, particularly a right that is as intimate and foundational as marriage.

    Drew:

    So, you’re willing to destroy existing, legal marriages? Presuming you’re in California, mind you.

  68. Skar, I think calling this an “experiment” shows a misunderstanding of the situation. No one’s saying, “Oh, let’s try it out and see how it works.” They’re saying, “It is unfair to allow opposite-sex committed couples to have legal rights that we deny to same-sex couples willing to make the same commitment.” The issue of children is somewhat disingenuous, as regardless of what the ideal family arrangement may be, children may be born to or adopted by single parents, same-sex couples, or opposite-sex couples*. Marriage is not a precondition for parenthood, and parenthood is not the only reason to get married. To name one other, if a person is seriously ill, the law (state and federal) gives the spouse power of attorney for medical decisions, followed by “immediate family.” If same-sex couples are not allowed to marry, then the life partner gets shut out of this decision-making process. A person can sign a power of attorney for such decisions, yes, but I do not believe powers of attorney survive past death, which goes right back to “who decides on funeral/memorial arrangements?” By all rights, it should be the chosen lifetime partner of the deceased, but under the law in most states, that person can be shut out by the deceased’s family.

    * I omit all flavors of polyamory here not because I disapprove, or think that they make poor parents, but because that’s not the current battle.

  69. Sorry, John, got a bit worked up. Will stay on topic. Or take some deep breaths, go out and watch some of the Euro championships football (in which the Dutch, with all their gay marriages, are looking VERY good :P).

  70. Tumbleweed: “I think this is a horrible idea, if only for the fact that YOU DON’T MESS WITH THE SULU.”

    Best. Comment. Ever.

  71. drew wrote:
    When our country was founded there was a near universal acceptance that morality was based in the judeo-christian tradition

    Whoa, what?

  72. Do you think that if the “Marriage Destruction Act” passes, there might be a gigantic lawsuit involving thousands of legally-married couples and various civil rights organizations vs. The State of California?

    I do. This is California, after all. We do a lot of suing around these parts. :)

    I’m a Californian, and I’ll be voting against the measure.

    “These result in kids being raised by same-sex couples, which I consider to be less than ideal. No meaningful proof, obviously,”

    Yes exactly. No meaningful proof. Your opinion is noted. If you’re a Californian, please feel free to vote according to it in November. If you’re not a Californian, well, thanks for weighing in, enjoy the show!

  73. “Assuming it is a strawman argument, does that make the point wrong … it succeeds at that rather well.”
    Nope, it just makes it irrelevant and attributes false motives to those it is aimed at. Since the hypocritical attitude being ‘exposed’ obviously doesn’t really exist it’s also less than honest. Damaging at worst, confusing at best.

    “And how can antimarriage types see themselves as protecting society, I wonder? They are the ones trying to coerce society into reflecting only their codes of conduct, which isn’t very neighborly or even reasonable.”
    Claiming that the anti-same-sex-marriage types are attempting to “coerce” society into ‘reflecting only their codes of conduct’ is extremely loaded. The anti-same-sex-marriage crowd is no more coercing all of society than the pro-same-sex-marriage crowd is. They’re both trying to get the system to reflect their personal beliefs. I would even go so far as to say they are both trying to get the system to reflect what they believe is best for the society as a whole. That they disagree with each other doesn’t make one side any more un-neighborly than the other.

    “If you’re right, Skar, the only thing underlying their actions is fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Does that seem like reason to you?”
    Actually, if I’m right, it would be a desire for the betterment of society as a whole underlying their decision. Whether THEY are right or not (‘they’ can stand in for both groups here) hasn’t been shown either way.

  74. Julia @ 64
    “Skar, I’d like to see your proof that a man and a woman raising a child is the ideal. *The onus of proof is on yourself.* Proof that would stand up to science, please, because science currently says nothing of the sort.”
    Bull. Not only does science say nothing of my sort, it also says nothing of your sort. The onus is not on me, nor is it on you. It’s an opinion based on life experience until sceince or observations says something one way or the other.

  75. I keep having “I Was Married” by Tegan and Sara pounding through my head while I read these comments. Interesting enough, and appropriate.

    And thank you, Josh Jasper, for pointing out the obvious–that gay couples cannot get pregnant/have children as easily as hetero couples. We don’t have “oopses”, guys. It doesn’t work like it does for a hetero couple. More children born out of wedlock? My word, we’d really have to TRY VERY HARD to make this happen. I’d be amused if it happened, though.

  76. Skar, read the comments. Scalzi linked you to a scientific study saying that you’re wrong.

  77. He sure did, Scalzi. But since your comments have an attention-getting margin around them, I would have thought he’d’ve noticed yours more easily. :)

  78. Skar:

    That may be true in most circumstances, but when you’re making serious, hurtful claims claims like “Gay marriage causes crime, children born out of wedlock, and welfare dependence” the onus is most definitely on you to support them. Unless you’re happy for statements like that to simply be classified as ignorant. In which case, please continue.

  79. Wisdom from unexpected places:
    Jesse Ventura “Love is bigger than government. Who the hell are we as a government to tell people who you can fall in love with?”

    Wanda Sykes (from a recent performance) “If you don’t believe in same sex marriage…don’t marry the same sex”.

    Civil contracts, religious weddings.

  80. (drew, #70) “Which would violate our constitutional right to be comfortable…”

    *opens US Constitution website*

    *reads Amendments carefully*

    Hmm, nope. Don’t see anything about right to be “comfortable” here.

    Also, don’t see anything about God either, really. How about that?

    I should also add that should folks vote to annul these legal marriages, they’ll be destroying a few marriages of people I know *personally.*

    This will make me rather annoyed. I’m not very nice when I’m annoyed.

  81. Why, I never would have known! You pixelated rascal, you!

    I have to say though, I love the outpouring of support for gay marriage I’m seeing here. It’s still illegal here for me in Florida, but I too would like the practical benefits that come from being married in the United States. The conservatives may keep their religious ceremonies–I only care about being married in the eyes of the government and the eyes of the one I love.

    And I am absolutely AGAINST destroying legal marriages, no matter WHO’S in them. I would say that borders on a human rights violation. Hopefully California, which I found a wonderful place to live some five years ago, will once again squish this and continue on as they have.

    *continues to hum I Was Married*

  82. Whoa! Slow down there folks. You’re getting ahead of me.

    John @ 66, Josh Jasper @ 73 : Yup, I am, apparently, really that lazy. Thanks for the links. I will read them with interest and, if history is any indicator of the quality of the information bandied about on this site, probably change my opinion.

    (Skar bowing out until he becomes a leetle better informed)

  83. Skar, my opinion of you just went up several notches for your message @91. Not that it probably matters to you, but I thought I’d put it out there.

  84. Jeff @ 89:

    This is what I find interesting. I doubt the people commenting here against gay marriage would say some of the stuff they’ve been saying to the face of married gay people. Or even their single gay friends, if they have them. Telling a friend his/her marriage is going to increase crime or undermine the fabric of society is just, well, not very nice. Its one of the odd things about online interaction. Its easy to forget that at the other end of each post there is another person.

    Its really nice to be in a place (Canada), where I can hang out with a big group of friends, gay and straight, and know that any of the couples there can get married if they want. Someone walking up to me in a bar and saying that a section of the group doesn’t deserve that option would be both tacky and hurtful.

    So, think of it this way. Would you feel comfortable telling a gay, married californian to their face that you wanted to anull their marriage because you have a hunch its a bad idea?

  85. Oh, it gets even better. My home county (Kern) made national headlines, which I always HATE because they never make it for anything good… Apparently one of the public officials there is refusing to marry ANYBODY, gay or straight, in protest of this ruling.

    The sad thing is, aside from the actual couples whose schedules she’s ruining, this is probably not going to affect her at all… It’s too in line with the values there.

    There’s a reason I’ve lived down in Orange County since turning 18.

  86. Aha… Great minds think alike, DavidK. At least in Kern’s case, though, that’s not breaking news. The bilious felch monkey responsible for that one pretty much issued her statement on the matter right on the heels of the ruling.

  87. John,

    you wrote:

    “unelected” (or up for election rarely, as in the case of California) is so they can makes rulings insulated from the tides of public opinion in order to focus on what is just and correct.

    And therin lies the rub. The definitions of “just and correct” are up for debate and there are many people who are uncomfortable with the idea of insulated judges deciding what “Just and Correct” means to them. ( I suspect you wouldn’t want Scalia to have the last word on this or any issue).

    When we were a more homogeneous society that believed in knowable truth, this approach to the judiciary made sense. However now that we have embraced diversity and relativism, this system is breaking down.

    It’s a problem.

    You can scoff at the fundamentalist christians and creationists ( and they do make it easy) but it is their world view that birthed our political system and it’s protections for minorities. Minority rights is not a darwinian concept.

    Having chased the christians from the public square, we now want to use their values to subvert their morality. Is it any wonder that they are less than enthusiastic?

  88. “And, in breaking news, three California counties (Butte, Kern and Calavaras) have decided to stop doing weddings altogether…”

    Them’s more of the “Red State California” counties, IMO. Fine, let ‘em sulk and pout.

    One thing about the US that some forget is that rather than “majority rules,” it’s supposed to be about “minorities receive equal rights and treatment even in the face of majority opinion.”

    Otherwise there might still be things like segregation and males-only plebiscite, for example.

    We change things here. It’s what we do. It’s what we’ve always done.

  89. For everyone who is arguing against same-sex marriages, please humor me and do a little experiment. Write out your comment and then go back replace any reference to “same-sex” in your argument with “inter-racial”. Now read your comment again. Does it still make sense to you?

    If it doesn’t then perhaps you may want to do a little more thinking on the subject. All the same arguments we are having now were made back when the SCOTUS made all inter-racial marriages legal. Including the ones about children being raised by inter-racial couples.

  90. Skar:
    “Nope, it just makes it irrelevant and attributes false motives to those it is aimed at.”

    One of the consequences of reason is that, sometimes, what we believe personally must occasionally give way to reality.

    To wit:

    “Since the hypocritical attitude being ‘exposed’ obviously doesn’t really exist it’s also less than honest.”

    Marriage is a legal right, granted in California. Antimarriage groups may say they have society’s best interests at heart, but who has asked them to take on the role of protecting that which does not need protecting?

    The only position without hypocrisy here is the one that supports same-sex marriage. If you destroy marriage, you cannot be pro-marriage, or pro-society, or pro-anything else that is irrelevant and there is no reason for any of the things you’ve said to be regarded as “right” since it all boils down to fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

    “Claiming that the anti-same-sex-marriage types are attempting to “coerce” society into ‘reflecting only their codes of conduct’ is extremely loaded.”

    So what if it is? Taking an existing right off the books is coercion.

    “Whether THEY are right or not (’they’ can stand in for both groups here) hasn’t been shown either way.”

    This is pure equivocation. You presume the case has not been made by pro-marriage proponents, and to any reasonable person, this is clearly false.

    That means the antimarriage position is not based on reason–regardless of how they view themselves, the reality is obviously very very different. It is evident to me that the only conservative position is the same as the liberal one: civil unions are legally acceptable, since they are not necessarily religious.

    To take away that right is not right.

  91. Drew @ # 97 –

    I’ve read up somewhat on the framers of the constitution. Very few of them were similar in attitude to today’s fundamentalists.

  92. What this means is that if the initiative passes, then likely thousands of legal, actual, state-recognized and sanctioned marriages will disappear overnight. Thousands of loving couples will be forcibly removed from the legal state of marriage, not because they have chosen to do so, but because others have decided that they shouldn’t allowed to be recognized as having a marriage

    Well, yeah. That’s Democracy in action.

    The Founders had good reason to be wary about giving too much ‘Democracy’ to the people; we have a representative Republic for a really good reason.

  93. skar–Enshrining same-sex couples with the same rights as hetero couples would include, I assume, adoption rights for male couples and it would normalize artificial insemination for female couples. These result in kids being raised by same-sex couples, which I consider to be less than ideal.

    Your assertion that children being raised by same-gender couples are being raised in less than ideal circumstances is groundless–but for giggles, let’s assume that A) it’s true and B) that’s sufficient reason not to allow gays to marry, to spare the children.

    Being raised by couples who don’t have lots of money and free time to devote to their children is also less than ideal. So wouldn’t it also be best to only allow wealthy couples to marry?

    Let’s say your religion teaches that anyone who doesn’t profess your faith is going to hell. Members of other faiths–or perhaps of no faith at all!–are clearly raising their children only to lead them in the wrong path, ultimately straight to hell. Less than ideal circumstances. So they should be forbidden marriage! Right?

    I could go on. Frankly, there are a few couples out there who I don’t think should be married to each other, just from knowing them personally. But the law rightly doesn’t take my opinion into account and I’d never be crazy enough to demand that it did. Why should same-sex couples be any different?

    And most kids brought up in “less than ideal” circumstances –same sex parents, single parents, family arrangements that squick someone out but work fine for a given household–do just fine, thank you.

  94. For what it is worth, I believe that the decision that maximizes freedom for the maximum number of people is the correct one, with the caveat that we (society) want to minimize harm to as many people as we can. You know, the old “My right to swing my fist stops where your face begins.” The line then has to be drawn as to what we think “harm” is. I’d like to think that the freedom to not be offended isn’t enshrined anywhere, but I could be wrong.

    I think that the California Judiciary’s decision is the correct one, though that is a personal opinion. I think the arbitrary distinctions between Civil Unions and Marriages are ridiculous.

    The question is how will prohibiting same sex couples from marrying actually help anybody? I can’t see a way that it would. Removing legal rights from a group that is peacefully using them in compliance with the goal of the right (in this case, create a lasting legally recognized pair bond) because some other people find their exercising of that right distasteful is shameful.

  95. Drew:

    “( I suspect you wouldn’t want Scalia to have the last word on this or any issue).”

    You suspect incorrectly, as I can think of a number of rulings in which he was in the majority, with which I agreed. The ruling noted at the top of the article here would be one of them.

    As for people being “uncomfortable” with the judicial system and how it works, well, you know. Cry me a river. Honestly, now, what kind of huggy-hippie rationale is this? People’s feelings will get hurt? Please. As for the system “breaking down,” outside of your assertion, I see no proof of it. The system seems to be working just fine.

    “You can scoff at the fundamentalist christians and creationists ( and they do make it easy) but it is their world view that birthed our political system and its protections for minorities.”

    Thomas Jefferson, deist, might disagree with you there. And even if it were true, their descendants aren’t living up to their forebears.

  96. Drew @97, the forefathers were overwhelmingly Deist. May I politely suggest you Google “Deism”?

  97. Maybe I have the only dissenting opinion here, but I don’t think this issue really has much to do with gay marriage at all – but education.

    I don’t think anything is really going to change until 70% of America decides to pull it’s head out of it’s ass, and realize that being gay isn’t a choice.

    Nobody simply wakes up one day and says “I’m going to be minority now”. And once gays are no longer treated as a minority, marriage won’t be much of an issue anymore.

    Just my 2 cents worth.

  98. drew #97: “You can scoff at the fundamentalist christians and creationists ( and they do make it easy) but it is their world view that birthed our political system and it’s protections for minorities.”

    No, it’s *not.* The people who birthed our political system were *not* fundamentalists (though many were Christians), and they were certainly *not* creationists as we understand the term today, since the US was founded well before Darwin’s book was published.

    Had they been fundamentalists, this country would be a theological dictatorship/committee oligarchy overlorded by some group of Puritanical charismatics, and this discussion – and many others – would never happen.

    People don’t remember that the Puritans left Europe, and specifically the Netherlands, to escape *religious persecution.* Think about that for a minute – Holland was one of the most enlightened and liberal nations in the world in the late 1500s and early 1600s, one of the very centers of the Renaissance. They let pretty much anyone live there if they were smart, talented, interesting and had some good ideas to offer.

    How much of a pain in the ass do you think have to be to get the DUTCH pissed off at you and persecuting you?? Seriously, man.

    The Puritans were *always* a minority in this country, from day one (when they were heavily outnumbered by the Natives, of course). And they were abrasive enough that even the super-liberal Dutch didn’t want them around.

    They did *not* found the United States of America, even if they were the earliest white people to create a permanent settlement here.

    A permanent settlement, I might add, that was the *first* to legalize same-sex marriage.

  99. John,

    No I didn’t say that I was in favor of destroying legal marriages.

    I did say that the california courts have intentionally created a situation where that is a likely outcome.

    I agree with you that annulling those marriages would be wrong, I differ with you on where the blame should be placed if that does occur.

    I think that the court is intentionally looking to create a group of sympathetic victims in order to bolster their position and I find that to be a disgusting abuse of their power. These couples do not deserve to be used as pawns in what is a much larger debate as I have tried to outline in other posts.

    That these people should be granted this right with the huge asteriks that it will likely be taken away in November is outrageous and should never have happened. The court had the authority and the opportunity to see that it didn’t happen and they chose to put these couples in this position knowing that the most likely outcome would be negative. I think that even you would pause at that kind of reckless action.

    Now that the courts have shown that they are willing to use innocent gay couples as leverage to advance their view of morality in the cultur war it is dishonest at best to accuse the other side of being mean and phobic and ignorant if they choose not to roll over. It’s the classic ” vote for X or we shoot this cute puppy”.

    —-

    Jeff @89 That was supposed to be a joke …

  100. Jeff Zugale@108:

    So you’re saying, in a sense, that we have the Puritans to thank for same-sex marriage in the US?

    Excellent.

  101. I’m a Chaplain for a local Fire Dept., ordained minister and been involved with ministry for over 13 years. I don’t think it is any mystery to what the party stance is regarding this issue. In a poll a few years ago when the average Joe was asked what the church felt about certain issues the number one response was “Hates gays”. This breaks my heart. I don’t hate gays, I know a lot of Christians that do, or at least appear to based on their political views. I personally believe that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. However, there are MANY, MANY, MANY other things that are more socially acceptable that are also incompatible with Christian teaching. People, people I call friends even, will argue that allowing gays to marry will destroy the sanctity of marriage. I have no idea how they reached that conclusion. If a gay couple gets married it has zero bearing on my wedding vows. It has no effect on the love I have for my wife. And it will surely NOT lead to men marrying dogs (the “slippery slope argument”). Personally, I think when the divorce rate for people claiming to be Christians surpassed that of nonreligious people, we lost the right to complain about the sanctity of marriage.

  102. Drew:

    “I did say that the california courts have intentionally created a situation where that is a likely outcome.

    I agree with you that annulling those marriages would be wrong, I differ with you on where the blame should be placed if that does occur.”

    Okay, thanks for the clarification.

    “Now that the courts have shown that they are willing to use innocent gay couples as leverage to advance their view of morality in the cultur war it is dishonest at best to accuse the other side of being mean and phobic and ignorant if they choose not to roll over.”

    The irony of this statement is that the court in this case has only one justice appointed by a Democrat; all the rest were appointed by Republican governors (and most then subsequently re-elected by the voting public). Nor is this particular court well known for its outrageous hippie rulings; if I remember correctly, it’s generally considered moderate to conservative. So trying to paint this court as a left-leaning front in the culture war doesn’t really fly.

    Nor, either independently or in association with the ruling of the court, is it dishonest to note that a group of people actively working to destroy the legal marriages of potentially thousands of Californians citizens are mean and phobic. They are indisputably homophobic, since they wish to introduce a law that specifically denies marriage to same-sex couples; people who are heterosexual, after all, seem very unlikely to marry someone of the same sex. As for mean, well, I invite you to use another word to describe someone who would destroy a marriage just because they don’t like it.

  103. Michael P @ 111 –

    One of the major problems in Christianity which has lead to incredible amounts of actual bloodshed, is disagreements over who has claim to the title of Christianity.

    There are Christian sects who’s members think that homosexual marriage, sex, hand holding in public, etc…is just fine with Christianity. Yours disagrees, but it’s not speaking for all of Christianity.

    When you say “incompatible with Christian teaching” you sound as if you were channeling Jesus himself. That’s not right.

  104. Josh Jasper:

    Well, hold up. Michael P did say in that this was in his opinion, which is fair enough. I didn’t read what he wrote as suggesting he (or his denomination) held a monopoly on Christian thought.

  105. Here in Massachusetts, when our Supreme Judicial Court made us the first same-sex marriage state, there were similar “OMG unelected judges” complaints and a similar campaign to amend the state constitution. However, in our Commonwealth, before a constitutional amendment is put to the voters, it must reach a certain threshold of support by the legislature in two successive years, and by the time it reached the second vote (by which point same-sex marriage had been legal for almost three years), it couldn’t even get 25% of the votes in the legislature.

    I think it’s much better for a state to have a slow and deliberative process to amend its constitution than to allow the voters to overturn a legal decision mere months after it’s handed down. But I guess I’m just a conservative kind of guy.

  106. I got married to my wife here in CA on 3/15. I don’t see how same-sex marriage impacts my new family in the slightest. At the reception, we did different cakes for each table. The one with some gay friends had two grooms on it, because those boys have been together for longer than I’ve even known my wife. The idea they can’t legally marry OFFENDS us. As for the ballot initiative? I can’t fucking wait until November, because I am so fired up to vote against it my skin is crawling.

    Really, this goes back to another beef I have with the so-called conservatives. They were all whining for states’ rights under Clinton, but they don’t bat an eye when their own run roughshod over the will of the states, be it regarding medical marijuana, same-sex marriage, or higher MPG standards.

    I know I’m the sucker for believing everything the Right said when they were pillorying Clinton, but the abuses of this Administration really get my goat as I voted for W. in 2000. I am such a dope…

  107. John,

    You are I think intentionally missing my point again. I will try one more time.

    Up until the latest court ruling there was a debate between two sides about the morality or rightness of same sex marriage. I think it would be wrong to say that everyone or even a majority on either side was operating entirely out of ignorance or animus. There are thoughtful and engaged people on both sides of this debate and they were working through a process of trying to reach a consensus.

    The debate was fundamentally altered when one side, represented by the court, unilaterally created a class of actual people whose emotional well being is now dependant on the outcome of the debate. There is no doubt that these people will suffer a real injury if the referendum goes against them in November. In my opinion that was a cheap shot that short circuited any attempts at real dialogue between the two sides. Your blog post makes that case very well I think. In fact you underline it every time you remind people here not to discuss the rightness or wrongness of the actual act, marriage, but to confine the discussion to the potential harm faced by the newly married couples.

    In my opinion there is little or no difference between ” vote for X or we shoot this puppy” and ” vote no on the referendum or these gay couples will lose their marriage license.” In both cases a sympathetic and innocent victim will suffer if the vote comes in wrong. That’s extortion; Or hostage taking.

    If the puppy ends up dead, whose fault is it?

    Apparently you and I disagree.

  108. Minor correction – California supreme court justices aren’t reelected by the populace, as they aren’t elected in the first place. They have to be reconfirmed by the populace every now and then, sort of a popular check and balance where we can remove someone from office if they become too far unpopular. But we don’t have a say in appointing them in the first place.

    With that minor factual correction on the record, I am going to bow out of this thread and go back to wondering if I will have the opportunity to perform a same-sex marriage ceremony this time around. I was horribly dissapointed when my next-door neighbors went and used a SF county clerk the *last* time this was being done here.

    (I need a T-shirt – “Married heterosexual supporting gay marriage.”)

  109. drew: So what?

    Two parties came into court with a dispute over what their rights were. The court made a decision on the matter. In the aftermath of the decision, some people became more happy and some people became less happy. This happens all the time in the legal system, because if everyone could settle their disputes amicably by coming to consensus, we wouldn’t need a legal system in the first place.

  110. Drew:

    That’s a really nice assessment of what happened in California which in fact has nothing to do with what actually happened.

    What happened (as far as I remember) was that San Francisco decided that the Californian consitution allowed same-sex marriages despite a law on the books saying otherwise, and started marrying people to test it. The state Supreme Court voided that, and sent lawsuits back to the lower courts for further adjucation. So the popularly-elected assembly voted (twice) to supersede the sitting law and allow same-sex marriage; each time it was vetoed by the governor, who said he wanted to wait to hear what the courts had to say. Then the courts said it was legal for same-sex couples to get married. So they were.

    Your pleasant fiction of everyone congenially and soberly sitting together and slowly working this stuff out is just that: A fiction. I get your point, it’s just that your point has no relation to what actually happened with all this stuff in the real world.

    Let’s also disabuse ourselves of the notion that the anti-same-sex marriage people were somehow caught flat-footed by all of this anyway. The entire reason they’re pushing a voter initiative is because they wanted to get around both a democratically elected assembly, which was inclined to offer marriage benefits to same-sex couples, and a judicial branch which they correctly assumed would judge that same-sex couples were having their access to equality under the law deprived under the current law.

    The anti-same-sex folks are not genially having a constructive discussion about this and hoping to meet in some middle ground. They want to outlaw same-sex marriage, period, end of story. Their objective just got harder, because it means destroying actual marriages. It’ll be more difficult to convince people of good will that the anti-same-sex marriage crew’s right not have their concept of marriage sullied by same-sex couples justifies destroying marriages that were legally established and currently exist.

  111. The debate was fundamentally altered when one side, represented by the court, unilaterally created a class of actual people whose emotional well being is now dependant on the outcome of the debate.

    The courts did not unilaterally create me, thank you very much. We’ve been here the whole time. The only difference now is that the debate is about whether to roll back our happiness, instead of prevent it.

  112. “How much of a pain in the ass do you think have to be to get the DUTCH pissed off at you and persecuting you?? Seriously, man.”

    I nominate this for best remark of the entire discussion.

  113. Nentuaby @ 121–Exactly what I was thinking. The fact that there will be marriages extant that would be destroyed by voting in that hate-filled initiative just makes clearer the fact that it’s hate-filled and bigoted. Drew’s whole argument seems to be that somehow it’s less hurtful to deny gay people civil rights and equal protection than to actually let us have them and then take them away again. No. Both of those are equally hurtful. Yeah, sure, the way things have gone, people who vote for revoking our civil rights will look like mean-spirited bigots. So what? That’s what they are, and they should have to live with that. Maybe if it makes them uncomfortable enough (or enough people are willing to shame them for it), homophobia will become as socially unacceptable as racism is. Or ought to be.

  114. Just a quick historical/theological note that is perhaps germane, but of necessity OT. Since the series of essays titled “The Fundamentals” weren’t published until 1909, calling someone a Fundamentalist who predated that publication by over a century would be a misnomer. Nobody was a ‘fundamentalist’ in the late 18th century. Fundamentalism as we know it today is not quite a century old yet, and was born out of conservative reaction to some of the social changes caused by the later stages of the industrial revolution. Biblical literalism didn’t used to be quite so common, either, for that matter.

    The Enlightenment ideals on which this country was founded weren’t really all that endorsed by what passed as conservative Christians at the time, which is why I’m always amused when the modern religious right calls on the founders as support for some claim.

  115. Scalzi @ 110:

    Speaking from Massachusetts here, the Puritans considered marriage a civil business because God oughtn’t be bothered with something so worldly; it’s crass.

    Meanwhile, given that The Fundamentals was published in, what, 1910, I’m pretty sure the only Founding Fathers who were fundamentalists were the ones in possession of a time machine.

    Yours for better basic history knowledge.

  116. Nice post, John. Put me down as another person delighted to see marriage equality taking this step forward. Marriage has been very good to me for almost 14 years and I’d like to see everybody able to participate. The pictures of happy couples coming out of California today have made me terribly sniffly.

  117. In regards to the question of whether this California constitutional amendment could abrogate previously legal marriages:

    There are two ex post facto provisions in the Constitution. One forbidding Congress from passing ex post facto laws (U.S. Const., Art. I, Sec. 9) and one forbidding state legislatures from passing ex post facto laws (U.S. Const., Art. I, Sec. 10). The second is the relevant provision here.

    In the United States, the prohibition against ex post facto laws is generally seen as applying primarily to the criminalization of previously legal acts, while abrogating previously existing legal rights don’t usually fall within the scope of the ex post facto clause.

    However, the 14th amendment requires some level of due process before a person is divested of a preexisting legal right. One such example might be that before a city or county changes the zoning classification of an area, they need to hold hearings and the like, as changing the zoning classification of an area may affect the legal rights of those owning property in the area (not to compare marriage to zoning ordinances, but the example was the clearest one that came to my mind).

    Unfortunately, it seems that the process of voting on the amendment itself should meet the threshold requirements of 14th amendment due process. I’d be willing to bet that the people of California will overwhelmingly reject the amendment and wouldn’t be too worried.

    I am sure that if the amendment passes there will be all sorts of litigation. I doubt that litigation in the California courts would be successful as the California courts wouldn’t be able to do much as against a validly enacted constitutional provision. The federal courts would be another matter, but I think there wouldn’t be much likelihood for success there either, for both substantive legal reasons and prudential reasons (it is quite likely that the federal courts would have to decline to hear the case under the political question doctrine or related prudential doctrines).

    Though this is all with the caveat that same-sex rights are a rapidly evolving area of the law (case in point in Lawrence v. Texas), and the relatively sympathetic position of the married couples here might raise a case for only prospective enforcement. But then, again the politics of same-sex anything are so radioactive, that who know what will happen.

    So the take home here should be that the amendment process does matter and people should turn out en mass to decisively vote the measure down. I’d imagine that the acquiesance of the three branches of government and the electorate should shut up a good number of critics babbling about unelected judges. But, then again I’ve been known to be repeatedly wrong when believing that things like logic or facts will sway polemicists and idiots.

  118. Oh excellent, K. Nicoll, & GVdub, I didn’t know about The Fundamentals. Sweet!

    I was conflating today’s fundamentalist types with the Puritans mostly because it seems like they themselves do so – when really they have very little in common with the Puritans apart from basic Christianity, not to mention the guys who wrote the Constitution.

  119. Catallarch:

    “But, then again I’ve been known to be repeatedly wrong when believing that things like logic or facts will sway polemicists and idiots.”

    You don’t argue with them to convince them, Catallarch. You argue with them so that everyone watching knows they are completely full of crap, and that they don’t want to be associated with them.

  120. I have no problem with gay marriage, civil union, whatever. Basically, these things affect friends of mine, and I want to see my friends happy, and it doesn’t directly affect me, as you point out.

    But I think it is perhaps naive to argue that a major social change happening in one generation will have absolutely zero affect on the larger society, especially no negative effects. The benefits of marriage are difficult to quantify, and most of us do it for cultural reasons, not economic or legal reasons. All of the economic benefits of marriage can be gained by cohabitation, and with legal marriage you pay a hefty tax penalty. So why do people want to do it? Specifically, why do gay people want to do it? Back in the 70’s and 80’s, the gay lifestyle was largely about rejecting societal values about relationships, especially marriage.

    What has changed? I think the thing we are not looking at here (those of us friendly to the issue) is that by seeking legal marriage licenses, gay people are seeking leverage to force everyone who otherwise would refuse to acknowledge their relationship to do so. If a couple has a legal marraige license, they have a powerful rebuttal to thousand of cruel and hurtful comments made by relatives, friends, pastors, etc. It is disingenuous to pretend that that is not what this is about, that legalizing gay marriage will have no affect on heterosexuals, and on those who by virtue of their religious beliefs oppose homosexuality because in hundreds of little ways, every day, they will have to acknowledge the relationship. In some ways, this will have a tangible positive effect on their families–such as in the area of medical information and child custody. But that is not the whole story.

    Likewise, it truly isn’t clear what affect this type of change will have on society and culture. When we were shopping for our house, our realtor mentioned that the value of the smallest homes in my town had been inflated by cohabitating couples, especially gay couples. This was possible because they are mostly childless, and as DINKs can afford to pay a lot more for a house than a young couple with children. Although this is unrelated to the legal status of the relationship, it shows how the lifestyle choices of one group can affect others. It is very tough for a young family to buy a starter home in my town. It will probably always be the case that gay couples will be less likely to have kids than straight couples, so that is going to impact housing. With legal gay marriage, will more gay couples be moving in together, once they have the sanction of an official marriage certificate, when previously they would have lived separately? I don’t know the answer to this. I don’t think anyone does. And what other social/economic effects might we see once gay couples are getting married in much larger numbers. The idea of “saving marriage” is not about keeping the largest number of couples married as humanly possible, so your argument above is unlikely to sway anyone who thinks those marriages were invalid to begin with. To achieve resolution requires both sides acknowedging that this is a very large change to ask 300 million people to make.

  121. All of the economic benefits of marriage can be gained by cohabitation

    This is 100% false. There are hundreds of state and more than 1,000 federal legal and economic rights and benefits that are automatically granted by marriage. Most of them cannot be gained through any other contract or legal procedure.

    There have also been numerous studies that clearly show “marriage offers dramatic emotional, financial and even health benefits over the single life and cohabitation.”

  122. Catherine @130: Substitute ‘mixed-race marriages’ for ‘same-sex marriages’ in your post and go back in time 40 years, and you’d see exactly the same arguments made. Many people were convinced that mixed-race marriages would mean the end of civilization. Many people had to “in hundreds of little ways, every day … acknowledge the relationship.”

    Let’s say that California decided, for some reason, to establish a constitutional amendment restricting marriage to “between a man and woman of the same race”. Which side of that would you come down on (since the same arguments you make would apply equally to that situation)? Would you be happy being on that side? If not, what, exactly, is the difference?

  123. Catherine Shaffer #130:
    “All of the economic benefits of marriage can be gained by cohabitation”

    This is not always true, even for hetero couples.

    “and with legal marriage you pay a hefty tax penalty.”

    This is also not always true. However it is often true that married people with children get a break on their taxes. Why shouldn’t LGBT people with children get the same tax break? You do know there are LGBT people who have had children before they came out, and are now living with a same-sex life partner, with both raising and supporting the children as a family, yes?

    “So why do people want to do it? Specifically, why do gay people want to do it?”

    How about “If I die unexpectedly, who gets the house, the kids and the life insurance?”

    Or stuff like you’ll find in this article?

    They want to do it for all the same reasons you do (assuming you do).

    “Back in the 70’s and 80’s, the gay lifestyle was largely about rejecting societal values about relationships, especially marriage.”

    Oh really? Where did you learn this from? Perhaps the national media? Do you think the media of that period was fair and balanced in their reporting about the “gay lifestyles?”

    And quite frankly, almost all gay people had to hide in the closet during that time period, how can you possibly know what the “gay lifestyle” was? You can’t make a blanket statement about it based on the media-reported behavior of the New York or SF gay club scene, any more than you can make a blanket statement about straight lifestyles based on the reported behavior of college students at frat parties.

    “When we were shopping for our house, our realtor mentioned that the value of the smallest homes in my town had been inflated by cohabitating couples, especially gay couples. This was possible because they are mostly childless, and as DINKs can afford to pay a lot more for a house than a young couple with children. Although this is unrelated to the legal status of the relationship, it shows how the lifestyle choices of one group can affect others.”

    Since only about 10-12% at most of the population is gay, I don’t think you really have much to worry about economically. And just as a general bit of advice, don’t give a realtor much creedence when they give you excuses about why the house you want will cost you more than you want to pay. They work on commission, remember? I’m sensing some personal resentment based on your house-buying experience, that you may be blaming on a convenient target.

    And speaking of how lifestyle choices of one group can affect others, perhaps you should ponder how having children, or living in the suburbs, or even driving a car all the time can affect everyone else, hm?

    I feel that you need to seriously rethink the basis of your opinions.

  124. Catherine Shaffer @ 130–As a lesbian (who celebrated 13 years of cohabitation on the 15th), I think that you probably have a point about marriage being desireable for legitimizing our relationships. My mom, who in many ways is very supportive, insists on believing that because I’m not married, I have social obligations only to my biological family, and should always spend holidays with them no matter what more-or-less equitable arrangement my partner and I have tried to hash out between the 3 sets of families that would all like us to be there. Yeah, being able to say, “Mom, I’m married, and I’m part of her family, too” would be nice.

    But that’s not the real heart of the reason, as far as we’re concerned. You mention the economic benefits of co-habiting (which can be substantial, but they do not include all the economic benefits of marriage) versus the tax penalties of marriage–but most gay and lesbian couples I know (including us) have a firsthand experience of the economic penalties of not being married.

    For example: when I had surgery last year, I had to spend a great deal of time and energy (not money, but only because my father happens to be an attorney) drawing up official documents giving my partner my power-of-attorney so that she could make healthcare decisions if I could not, and so no one could legally block her from being with me in the hospital. We’ve also been having to pay out-of-pocket for the entirety of my surgery, because my insurance is terrible and hers? Only extended to spouses and children of employees, and not to domestic partners.

    And sure, there’s a tax penalty for being married. But there’s also a whole slew of tax exemptions for spousal inheritance, so you don’t lose the house you just bought together if your partner dies. Also Social Security survivor’s benefits, so if one of us leaves the other “widowed,” she doesn’t also automatically plunge below the poverty line as she deals with the loss. Or bereavement leave or other FMLA time off–my partner couldn’t get it to accompany me to Kansas when my grandfather died last month–she had to use her vacation to go to the funeral. Fortunately, she had some to use.

    Not saying that the social recognition isn’t a factor, but from here in the trenches, I think I can safely say it’s not the strongest motivation. If it was just about what society thought, I couldn’t care less. But there are actual, tangible benefits (and I haven’t nearly covered them all (link to a pdf outlining the 1400+ legal benefits inherent in marriage)) to marriage. That’s what I want. That’s equality.

  125. And, more on topic, the last several polls I’ve seen show a thin majority (51%) of voters not wanting a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. If that holds up (and we here in California may have to work to make sure that it does), we’ll be cool.

    I’m hetero, but I’ve been in an inter-racial marriage for closing on 20 years now, and the issue kinda touches home for me on a number of different levels.

  126. While some county clerks took their marbles and went home, the Nevada City, California chamber of commerce voted to promote their city as a destination for same sex marriages. Don’t know if they are a bunch of bleeding heart liberals or just trying to cash in because times are tough, but good for them anyway.

    “…they don’t like it…” pretty much sums up what I think is the real argument of most opponents of same sex marriage. I don’t think they are sincere in their other arguments. Does anyone believe that if those arguments were proven wrong then they would not oppose same sex marriage? I certainly don’t buy it. They would then have to get back to talking about their real reason which is primarily religious belief.

  127. Catherine @ 130:

    First up, I want to say you’ve raised a point I think really is quite valid – I don’t agree with the direction you’ve taken it, but the general point is, I think, right. Saying that gay marriage doesn’t affect straight people at all is wrong. From a legal perspective, this is correct, but it ignores the fundamental social importance placed on marriage by both sides of the debate. After all, if the change in marriage was so inconsequential, why would we be fighting over it?

    Some people are invested heavily in the idea of marriage as a heterosexual institution, and will react to a change in definition with a sense of loss. Marriage ceases to become a confirmation of their world views and instead (by including gay couples) actively challenges it. I don’t think this is an argument against gay marriage per se, but it is an argument for being understanding when people have queasy feelings about gay marriage that they can’t quite explain rationally.

    Now a couple of quibbles:

    “Back in the 70’s and 80’s, the gay lifestyle was largely about rejecting societal values about relationships, especially marriage.”

    Back in the 70s and 80s, the most visible face of the gay community was the actvist, outrageous side of said community. And yes, a good part of that portion was (and to some extent still is) devoted to sexual liberation. But to argue that that reflects accurately on the gay community as a whole is inaccurate. More and more gay couples are becoming more and more visible because its, well, SAFER now. I can walk down the street and show affection to my boyfriend and not expect too many weird looks. My uncle 30 years ago could not.

    Oh and as an aside on the home prices thing… I don’t know about the specifics of your town, but in my home housing market realtors were trying to blame a price boom on no-kids couples with high incomes, but when research was done the culprit was actually…. baby boomers in their mid 50s onwards buying rental properties for retirement income, thus taking a lot of cheaper properties off the market.

  128. “It will be shown that such laws have been in effect in this country since before our national independence and in this state since our first legislative session. They have never been declared unconstitutional by any court in the land although frequently they have been under attack. It is difficult to see why such laws, valid when enacted and constitutionally enforceable in this state for nearly 100 years and elsewhere for a much longer period of time, are now unconstitutional under the same Constitution and with no change in the factual situation. It will also be shown that they have a valid legislative purpose even though they may not conform to the sociogenetic views of some people. When that legislative purpose appears it is entirely beyond judicial power, properly exercised, to nullify them.”

    “Moreover, the right of the state to exercise extensive control over the marriage contract has always been recognized. The institution of matrimony is the foundation of society, and the community at large has an interest in the maintenance of its integrity and purity.”

    Sound familiar? These quotes are from the dissent by California Supreme Court Justice Shenk in Perez v Sharp not from a present day same sex marriage opponent. If you don’t recognize Perez v Sharp, it was a decision made 60 years ago that ruled California’s anti-interracial laws were unconstitutional.

  129. Of the five articles linked to by Josh Jasper and Scalzi only one actually referenced a study of children in hetero-couple homes vs. same-sex-couple homes and the author of that study said:
    “But the report says there is still too little research, especially about gay male parents, to reach any final conclusions.”

    Three of the links led to the same article which talked about kids raised by divorced single moms (lesbian vs. hetero) It was found that the kids were very similar to each other.
    Another asked essentially, how same-sex couples felt about the same-sex marriage laws in Massachusettes and how the children felt about same-sex marriage laws (all were in agreement, hardly surprising)

    None of which really spoke to the central question of whether kids do better with both a Mom and a Dad or not.

    Finally sng @137 linked to an article excoriating someone named Rick Santorum for distorting same-sex marriage facts out of Norway. This one did present figures indicating that same-sex marriage laws had beneficial effects on marriage commitment in general in those countries, a good thing if causality is assumed. That one didn’t have anything to say about kids in same-sex homes vs. kids in hetero homes either though.

    I must say I was rather disappointed. Nothing actually touching on my concerns was in evidence so my opinion remains unchanged. However, I am still following the debate with interest.

  130. John,

    It is possible to spin the facts any way you want. I notice that you omit the fact that the law in question before the courts was prop 22 which was passed as direct legislation by the voters in 2000 with 61% of the vote. That’s not a small or trivial margin and was a clear signal of what the voters intended. Now that the court has decided that prop 22 is invalid, the voters are forced to actually amend the constitution to say the same thing. recent polls show that the amendment is polling around 54% in favor / 35% against.

    The mayor of San Fransico handed out licenses in clear contradiction of prop 22 as a political statement and was correctly slapped down. The legislature then tried to overturn the clear intent of the voters and the governor opted to side with the voters ( politicians tend to do that).

    You may also be interested to note that the initiative was lacking signatures and probably would not have made the ballot before the court decision.

    This indicates to me that the majority of people in california are not happy with how the process has been handled and don’t trust their elected officials to represent their wishes in this case, and with good reason. It also indicates that a lot of people who didn’t care before have been motivated to care now.

    That’s unfortunate and an own goal for the gay lobby in my opinion.

    The problem with your position in my opinion is that it is not an empirical position based on facts that can be demonstrated. It is a moral position based on your own personal beliefs and feelings and experience. As passionate as you are about the “rightness” of your position there are a fair number of people ( more actually) on the other side who are just as passionate. You won’t win this argument by calling them names or impugning their “morality” ( as satisfying as that might be). Under our current system they have as much right to their version as you do to yours ( although in Canada they are working on this). As a society we are currently lacking any agreed upon source of authority for resolving these kinds of disputes. It’s a problem. Lacking any universal moral authority we are forced to decide these things case by case at the ballot box. Attempts to circumvent this by appealing to the courts only serves to prolong the dispute not resolve it. See roe v. wade as an example.

    This thread is full of moral statements about right and wrong and fairness and justice which are all great sounding words but they don’t mean much these days. The relativists have spent years reducing these terms to matters of opinion and limiting them to individuals. The “tolerance” movement has succeeded in removing any concept of public morality from our political discourse. The post-moderns have stamped out any idea that there is anything resembling truth much less anything that we can actually know. That’s too bad because a little moral authority could come in handy here.

  131. That’s great, JD.

    “The institution of matrimony is the foundation of society, and the community at large has an interest in the maintenance of its integrity and purity.”

    Man, I’ve heard this sort of thing a million times, and I call bullshit.

    While matrimony can certainly be a part of the “foundation of society,” societies are founded on fairly large groups of people working in mutually supportive communities, which may or may not include marriages.

    Very few of what we’d call “nuclear families” could survive completely on their own. Society started out as tribal groups of tens, dozens or more. It really does take a village.

  132. “The “tolerance” movement has succeeded in removing any concept of public morality from our political discourse.”

    Ugh, the moral authority argument again. Sooooooo tired. Yawn.

    Anytime I see or hear people use the words “tolerance,” “moral authority” and “relativists” I just roll my eyes.

    Are you a militaristic libertarian, too?

    “That’s not a small or trivial margin and was a clear signal of what the voters intended.”

    Sometimes the majority is wrong, Drew. The majority supported slavery, denying women the vote, segregation, banning interracial marriage, and all sorts of other things like that. In fact, if you’d asked people all over the Colonies in 1775 whether they’d want to be an independent country or ruled by Britain, the majority would have chosen the King’s rule.

    You and your majority just don’t want what’s now a set of second-class citizens to be equal to you, all the blathering about morality and government process notwithstanding. You’re clinging to the concept of Majority Rule Over All which doesn’t actually apply here in the US. The USA has been doing away with that sort of thing for over 200 years now, with folks like you predicting damnation and ruin the whole time, and for some reason is still the most prosperous country in the world that millions of people want to live in.

    We give people rights here – ALL people. When we discover that some people are being screwed out of them, we do our best to fix that.

    Oh and so Drew: how is your marriage being affected by gay people getting married in CA?

  133. #57
    I think the problem is that the term marriage has both civil and religious meaning. It is unfortunate that we can’t seperate the two. Civil law is not the same as Religious law. That is one of the many things I love about the USA. As an observant Jew, I am opposed to a religious Jewish marriage between a same sex couple (as I am opposed to any Jewish marriage that does not conform to Jewish law).
    There’s that framing again, that marks pro-DOMA as religious and makes the hidden assumption that same-sex marriages haven’t been religious.

    I have a question: if “marriage” is a religious institution, then why aren’t same-sex couples married in synagogues or churches considered to be married? If being married there is key, then I know of same-sex couples in California who have been married for decades. The state didn’t recognize their marriage, but the church does.
    Everyone should watch out for this sneaky act of framing in upcoming months. Pro-DOMA actions go against the religious liberty of those religious groups which have done same-sex marriages.

  134. When talking about adopted kids and same-sex couples, the proper comparison is not with heterosexual couples but with foster care. There are more kids that need homes than there are homes, and my hat’s off to anyone willing to give an adopted child a loving home.

    I am skeptical of “think of the children” in general, but in this particular argument I find it particularly silly. There’s no requirement that a couple (gay or straight) marry to have kids, and there are any number of criteria that correlate negatively for child-raising but that don’t interfere with marriage rights. Felons can get married, alcoholics can get married… the list goes on. I’d bet there’s more evidence linking fundamentalism to child abuse than there is that being raised by same-sex couples is harmful.

    I also don’t think that history illustrates that rights gained through the courts are always controversial. Griswold v. Connecticut and Loving v. Virginia are still controversial in some circles, but they’re widely accepted these days. The courts are a co-equal part of government – civil rights can come from the Executive (desegregating the military), from the legislature (Civil Rights Act), and from the courts (Brown v. Board of Ed.) People aren’t going to like rules they don’t like, and it doesn’t really matter how those rules come about.

  135. mythago @ 146

    That’s where I go to.

    I fundamentally agree with the basic conservative position that marriage is a foundational human thing, of great importance.

    I then note the number of people I know who are anti-marriage primarily because it is framed heterosexually and thus discrimatorily, and see that lack of marriage access leads to the devaluation of the institution.

    I value the institution. I think it’s very important. Not for religious reasons — my religion does not have sacramental marriages for me to have religious reasons about — but from a basic social cohesion perspective. This is the word-concept for codified and witnessed long-term partnerships; denying it to certain long-term partnerships not only weakens it by driving relationships to form competing traditions and parallel societies rather than supporting the one that is pointlessly denying that support, but by actively creating this schism in which some people oppose marriage on principle, thereby undermining that social order.

    I am fundamentally conservative, in the sense of placing high value on tradition and continuity and mistrusting new things. “Civil union” is an untrustworthy new thing and its merit is utterly unproven; marriage is the classic old standby. Messing with a good thing by driving people — both in same-sex partnerships and not — away from it is not working with those tested and reliable tools.

  136. drew @ various places:

    It’s not a question of morality, relative or absolute. It’s a question of equal protection.

    Whether you, I, Governor Schwarzenegger, or the California Supreme Court believe it to be “right” (moral, proper, socially acceptable) for two people of the same sex to marry is irrelevant. The State of California extends to some of its citizens – those of opposite sexes – the “right” (the legal entitlement) to marry. For them to not extend to other citizens the same legal entitlement is a violation of the equal protection clause of the California State Constitution. (And the US Constitution, for that matter.)

    I don’t need to “point to a sacred text like the bible;” the only sacred text I need to point to is the Constitution, thank you very much.

  137. Skar, “kids growing up without appropriate parental guidance and ending up criminals and/or on welfare, etc” (concepts repeated through other posts)

    And while it only maybe anecdotal, some of us become elected officials who then are asked to be Chairman of the Safety Committee (Police and Fire) (me). Others are elected President who preside over a period marked by year-over-year reductions in violent crime (Bill Clinton).

    Please get your preconceptions out of the 70s.

  138. Y’know, this post is going to make it SO much harder for me to write a believable “I HATE SCALZI” post…

  139. Catherine@130

    My partner and I met in 1980.

    I was raised in a fairly conservative, orthodox Anglican Episcopal church. I could very easily find a priest willing to do the ceremony while the church looks the other way. Barring that, there are any number of UUC ministers, and priests and priestesses of other churches and faiths who would also do the ceremony, so my faith is not at issues here. However, marriage is about building a future, and my future and the future of my partner is being directly affected by the fact that my state and my country continue to deny me the right to marry my chosen life partner.

    This is the second house we have owned together. The first one we bought together. The second one only has my name on the mortgage because at the time we went looking she had just been laid off, and putting her on the mortgage would have decreased the amount of money we could spend on our home.

    By the same token, my previous job offered domestic partnership benefits. My current job does not, which means she has no insurance because cobra benefits do not automatically extend to non-married partners. Her current job offers no benefits at all, and we can’t get individual coverage because she has a preexisting condition they won’t cover.

    At some rather significant expense, I could refinance the mortgage (and probably lose the EXCELLENT interest rate I currently have) and possibly get her on the house note so that if I dropped dead tomorrow, she would not lose her home. However, given that we’re paying out of pocket for her current medical expenses, things are a little tight.

    We aren’t rushing to California, but we may well after November. We’ve talked about Massachusetts as well, as I have family there, but few job prospects and it would mean giving up the home we love and a job I adore.

    I am 48 years old and she is 50. It would be nice to be able to plan our retirement someplace where our 28 years of partnership and commitment would be recognized for what it is — a long abiding relationship of love and friendship.

    What other reason do I need to want marriage made available to me?

    Apologies, Scalzi, for veering a bit off topic — but as a potential future resident of California, I wanted to address the “why”.

  140. From a strictly legal point of view, it will be interesting to see how this plays out if the amendment passes. Not interesting in a particularly good way since the lives of real people are involved. The reason is that passage of this amendment seems to make the state constitution contradict itself by providing equal protection under the law while restricting the rights of homosexuals.

    Drew, you like the Supreme Court when it “correctly slapped down” the city of San Francisco, but dislike it when it “preempted the clear will of the voters” without seeming to understand that the court was functioning as it should in both instances. You may disagree with its decision, but to suggest that it was behaving improperly is incorrect. On the other hand, you don’t think it improper for the Court to allow an unconstitutional law to stand because the voters might pass an amendment in Nov. You aren’t actually proposing any legal arguments – just stating your own preference.

  141. Drew:

    “I notice that you omit the fact that the law in question before the courts was prop 22 which was passed as direct legislation by the voters in 2000 with 61% of the vote.”

    I didn’t omit it; I noted there was an existing law. As for the 61% of the voters voting for it, well, who gives a shit? It’s still an unconstitutional law regardless of how many people voted for it, it was challenged, and it was struck down, and now there are couples of the same sex who are married. All very legal and all very correctly done in regards to the constitution of California.

    Drew, what it boils down to is that you appear to wish to promote the idea that the “will of the voters” as expressed by an initiative should be the do all and be all of the political process. This is a massively unsophisticated view of things, and also (and not trivially) it’s wrong, since proposition 22 was declared unconstitutional, and since the “will of the voters” was overruled by the courts, in a completely legal and customary fashion.

    If the voters of California genuinely believe that they should be ruled by popular initiative solely, then of course they should put such an initiative on ballot, amending the California constitution to reflect that. As changing the California constitution is as simple as getting a simple majority on a ballot, I see no reason why they can’t do this. Since they have not, and until such time as they do, however, one may equally assume it is the “will of the voters” to allow for a tripartate political system that includes check and balances, including a judicial system in which a relative few, schooled in law, are able to strike down laws and initiatives that are patently unconstitutional. So please stop fronting this hand-wringing about the “will of the people,” if you please, Drew. Those who understand how the system works should not to have to have their rights held hostage by people who don’t. And they didn’t, in this case.

    If you want to talk about moral relativism, Drew, you might include the folks who whine and complain about how awful the established rule of law is when the rule of law doesn’t go their way. The people who supported same sex marriage challenged the existing law using the system that is in place, and won. To try to obfuscate that victory by attempting to chalk it up to moral relativism doesn’t fly.

    Indeed, the ruling, if anything, suggests that the petty moral relativism of “rights for me but not for thee” that those opposed same-sex marriage is not in line with either California values or its constitution. Expanding marriage rights so that they are afforded to all who want them makes those rights more absolute. Your apparent misapprehension of what constitutes “moral relativism” on this score doesn’t change this fact.

  142. Hi there neighbor,
    John, you do realize that you are not going to change some of these knot heads attitudes. Most of these arguments are from the emotions, not the head. Think about it, the time you use here trying to change closed minded assholes opinions is time you could use playing with your kid. (Mine is at Camp, what a sucky Fathers Day present) Anyway, a couple of things that I noticed here in all of these posts: The pictures from the L.A. Times that the one person linked to, those people were BEAUTIFUL. Any one says different is lying out their ass. Nothing glows like a newlywed. The second thing I noticed is that a lot of people (you too!) looked at this issue from an emotional view. Not to say it’s not an emotional issue, but, the one big exception was one young lady from Fla. who mentioned the Economic and Legal benefits of marriage. Being a cynical old ex-cop, I can’t help but wonder what the Insurance Lobby in CA is doing about this issue. Sure as shit not setting on the sidelines. I will guarantee that they are burning up the phones and calling in all kinds of favors on this one. Wonder if anyone in Hartford did a cost analysis after Massachusetts and fired off a report to the CA agencies.

    Whenever there is a lot of protest about an issue, my first reaction is to look for a motive. When you boil it all down, a lot of the opposition to this issue (after you wade through the bullshit) is “What will this cost me?” I have always believed that Greed is the worst of the Seven Deadly Sins. If some of those greedy assholes could quit thinking about their pocketbooks for once and look at those beautiful people in The Times, maybe this would be a non-issue for CA. I’m not holding my breath.

    As for here in Muncie, well, they don’t call it the Bible Belt for nothing. I don’t see anyone around here in the Mid-west reaching enlightenment any time soon.
    Wish them well on the Coast in Nov.
    Dave

  143. Do you mind if I quote your brilliant rant about the so-called “Marriage Protection Act” to a gay mailing list to which I belong? They would love it.

  144. David Huss:

    I don’t have any illusion that I will change of the mind of the people who hate the fact that same-sex couples can now get married. As I noted earlier, the point is to reinforce the idea to those on the fence (and are reading along at home) that those who hate that same-sex couples can now get married are petty, small-minded people who would strip other people of their rights just so they can feel comfortable, and that those folks aren’t necessarily the crowd one wants to be seen with.

    JJS:

    Share away.

  145. Your probably right, and I hope some of those fence sitters can see reason. I just wish we could give them a nice economic stimulus package in Nov. and a few pics from The Times.
    By the way, did you see that George Takei is getting married! At 71! Tell me that is not people aching for it with all of their souls.
    Dave

  146. Now that the court has decided that prop 22 is invalid

    No, drew. The court ruled that Proposition 22 is unconstitutional. It is the court’s job to decide the constitutionality of laws, whether those laws are passed by the legislative branch or by popular vote. If you don’t like that, I suggest you get right on a Constitutional amendment to overturn Marbury v. Madison.

    Checks and balances and all that. What’s with these ‘patriots’ who didn’t pass eighth grade civics?

  147. Sklar: I haven’t looked at all the earlier articles linked, but here is (pdf warning) a 2005 APA Study that found that:

    (pg 15) In summary, there is no evidence to suggest that lesbian women or gay men are unfit to be parents or that psychosocial development among children of lesbian women or gay men is compromised relative to that among offspring of heterosexual parents …. Indeed, the evidence to date suggests that home environments provided by lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those provided by heterosexual parents to support and enable children’s psychosocial growth.

    Yes, it notes that more work should be done, but I’m wondering – if you oppose lesbian and gay parenting because it’s unproven, how exactly is it going to be proven? The “It’s unproven, so it should be outlawed” prevents any chance of it being proven and is thus little different than simply dismissing it out of hand.

    Banning gay marriage is a clear violation of liberty; it needs to be justified. It has not been.

    Drew: The key founders were not orthodox christians, nor is the constitution based on orthodox christian principles. Washington didn’t take communion and referred to the Native American’s “Great Spirit” as the same god as the Christian god. Jefferson didn’t believe in the Trinity and cut out large portions of the bible. Adams had somewhat similar beliefs. Hamilton became orthodox later in life, but here’s a quote from a letter of his during the revolutionary war:

    He is just what I should like for a military parson except that he does not whore or drink. He will fight, and he will not insist upon your going to heaven whether you will or not. (reference)

    Jonathan Rowe (who blogs at the site above) has called it “theistic rationalism” – it doesn’t really match deism or early unitarianism, but it certainly wasn’t anything the modern religious right would consider Christianity.
    (See Also Gary North’s notes cited there.)

  148. For this specific California case, I don’t think overriding already held legal marriages is particularly meaningful or a reason to decide otherwise. I mean, if gay marriage is bad, you should be overriding existing ones. That’s partly the point.

    Also, that courts override the “will of the voters” as you use it is a good thing. While it’s hardly the only point of the courts, the entire point of rights is that there are some things we’ve agreed not to be subject to mere legislation. Thus they’re trying to figure out what the will of the voters – which passed both the constitution and the law passed – actually is. The only relevant question about the California decision is whether or not gay marriage is one of the items not subject to simple legislation; not whether it’s a good idea.

    And while I can understand what “strict scrutiny” is, and agree that when it’s applied to gay marriage laws against it fail, I don’t know if there’s a convincing argument that it’s required under the California Constitution in cases of sexual orientation discrimination related to marriage. I don’t mean I’m doubtful; I just have no idea.

    And, relatedly, the biggest question about the whole annulling already-existing marriages is what were the requirements of the court and legislature for if the remedies should have taken effect shortly or should have been postponed until after proposed and likely to be on the ballot (but not yet on the ballot) constitutional amendments. Because at the time of the court decision, the amendment was going to end up on the ballot but hadn’t yet.

    recent polls show that the amendment is polling around 54% in favor / 35% against.

    That was one poll. A more recent one showed A 51-42 vote in favor, and I think had better methodology.

    You may also be interested to note that the initiative was lacking signatures and probably would not have made the ballot before the court decision.

    Actually, I think it would have made it. And anyway, if the court decision went the other way, the amendment would have be entirely redundant; even if there was a big swing in support for it, it’s more attributable to people wanting to change the law rather than a giant offense at the evil court.

  149. The sad thing is that this has actually happened to same-sex married couples outside of California — it happened to a good friend of mine. When she was legally de-married, she complained that the state had cheerfully taken her money for the marriage license at the time. When later the state refunded the fee, she wondered if cashing the check would mean she agreed with their decision.

    If one needs one more argument against the proposed forced annulments, perhaps all these jurisdictions will begin to realize they will have to refund all those marriage license fees. It’s a dumb and gutless argument, but sense doesn’t seem to enter into the equation. Maybe the accounting could bankrupt them.

    Dr. Phil

  150. Not being allowed to marry isn’t going to make gays disappear. We will continue to live together as families, raising our children, whether we have the right to marry or not. It will be more of a struggle, as with all oppressed minorities, it makes it harder to live and flourish in society. We will keep living our lives as the human beings that we are, as outcasts of a society that brands our love as unrecognized, and unworthy of equal protection under the law. Our lives may be more difficult without marriage, but our love is worth the fight, and we will stand and take the abuse as best we can, knowing it will all be worth it in the end. To share our lives with the person who we absolutely love, and would die for is worth it. Love is worth it. It’s the only thing that’s worth it.

    Banning gay marriage will affect society. This is true. It will divide our communities, weakening society as a whole. That ‘piece of paper’ will not, however, affect the love we feel in our hearts, nor will it diminish our determination to live our lives together, as we have, as we are, and as we always will.

  151. Strech@159:
    Thanks for the link. I read it and, although in nearly every case it clearly stated that there either was no data or so little data as to be meaningless on gay male couples raising kids (most of the data was gleaned from lesbian couples), it’s pushed me over the line.

    Religions can do what they want internally, as always, but the state can only justify restricting the legal state of marriage to hetero couples if it can reasonably postulate that doing otherwise might harm the state as a whole. That is obviously not the case in light of the small but clearly adequate body of research described in that paper you linked to.

    When it comes down to the idea that God will punish a society that condones sinful behavior, well, that’s as may be. If he does he does. The LAW must not be based on a particular religious belief. Religious persons who think that they are saving the country from Godly smiting by legally opposing same-sex marriage are free to do so, more power to them. They must also grant the same privilege to those in favor of same-sex marriage or the whole idea of a democratic republic, government by and for the people, falls apart.

    If this topic comes up at my next family reunion, I am going to be extremely unpopular.

  152. Whoops, miswrote something; for:

    That was one poll. A more recent one showed A 51-42 vote in favor, and I think had better methodology.

    should have read

    That was one poll. A more recent one showed A 51-42 vote in favor of gay marriage, against the amendment, and I think had better methodology.

    I think I need to get to sleep soon.

  153. John: I love you (and in a not-threatening-your-marriage-kinda-way). :-D Great post, great comments, and as always, it’s fascinating to read what folks have to say here.

  154. Skar @ 164,
    Wow, good on you. It’s rare to see someone actually respond to and be swayed by real evidence on the internets.

  155. I wish the government would get out of the “marriage” licensing business. As far as I can tell, this dates back to feudal lords taxing their peasants for the right to marry. The whole thing conflates the state concept of “marriage” with the religious concept, which is why so many fundamentalists get their shorts in a knot about it. Or at least, it provides them with the excuse they need to mess with other people’s lives like this.

    This is the same type of crap that was used to derail the Equal Rights Amendment back in the 1980’s. The amendment used the word “sex” instead of “gender” and people claimed it would cause all sorts of “deviant” practices to be legalized.

    The role of the state in marriage licensing is to register people who have elected to enter into a legally binding relationship that happens to have the same name as a religious sacrament/ceremony. In the name of religious freedom, churches should be allowed to restrict the administration of their ceremonies and sacraments as they see fit, but calling the state license a “marriage” license is just providing a straw-man for the extremists.

    Remove the confusion. Instead of trying to get same-sex marriages legalized, activists should be working to get states out of the marriage business completely. Convert all state “marriages”, whether hetero- or homo- into “civil unions”, although we should have a naming contest to come up with a better name for that. Eternal covenant, anyone?

  156. At what point does it become too late to move to California specifically so I can vote against this measure?

  157. Being a member of a Quaker meeting where there was some debate over same-sex marriage a number of years back (and who, after struggling with the issue in the manner of Friends, eventually decided that the meeting would support such unions), I know for a fact that there are a number of churches and religious groups that are actively supporting their gay members in fully becoming part of the community. Any constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages would appear to be trouncing on the right of religious expression of those churches and their members.

    The false equality of state ‘civil unions’ vs. ‘church marriages’ would be elevating the beliefs of some religious groups to the fore, violating that ol’ establishment clause. Besides, there’s that whole ‘separate but equal is not equal’ thing that shouldn’t have to be redecided.

  158. Skar @ #63

    I’ve had a quick look at the child stats for Sweden (unfortunately, it’s a “live data extraction” and teh web page is probably next to useless unless you can read Swedish).

    Stas were available for 2005 and 2006. No breakdown in same/different-sex couples, but breakdown available between common-law couples and married couples.

    Result:
    Children aged 0, living at home, common-law couple
    2005: 47059
    2006: 47103

    Children aged 0, living at home, married couple:
    2005: 45651
    2006: 45964

    That should correspond quite well to “new births”.

    Looking at the stats for separation of the parents, it seems it’s more prevalent for common-law couples to separate in the first 5 years of children’s lves, with married couples becoming more prevalent later on.

    Main stats builder page here

    I could find breakdowns of separation between married and unmarried people, but as far as I could tell, there was no breakdown between different-sex and same-sex couples.

  159. The Rev. Susan Russell of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, CA has one of my favorite quotes about this. It goes something like:

    “In my years of counseling troubled marriages, never once has the problem been ‘that lesbian couple down the street’ ” :)

  160. David K @ 94 (and the followup commenters)

    Butte and Calaveras counties apparently stopped doing weddings because they couldn’t afford it any more. Budgetary problems.
    Kern county is the only one I’ve heard of with a court clerk who objects to doing her legal duties. Some of the others have employees who may object, but whether they’ll object enough to get noticed I don’t know.

    I was enjoying seeing all those smiling newlyweds.
    I don’t see any way that they can do more damage to marriage than Britney Spears and her two-and-a-half-day marriage, or some of the celebrity serially-much-married, or the political types with the second or third (usually much younger) wife, who tell us far too often that they’re members of the ‘party of family values’.

  161. Skar @ 141 –

    Of the five articles linked to by Josh Jasper and Scalzi only one actually referenced a study of children in hetero-couple homes vs. same-sex-couple homes and the author of that study said:
    “But the report says there is still too little research, especially about gay male parents, to reach any final conclusions.”

    Three of the links led to the same article which talked about kids raised by divorced single moms (lesbian vs. hetero) It was found that the kids were very similar to each other.
    Another asked essentially, how same-sex couples felt about the same-sex marriage laws in Massachusettes and how the children felt about same-sex marriage laws (all were in agreement, hardly surprising)

    None of which really spoke to the central question of whether kids do better with both a Mom and a Dad or not.

    And you’re still to lazy to do any research on your own. Sheesh.

    OK, so one of the articles focused on the children of same sex mothers. Here’s quote:

    On measures of psychosocial well-being, school functioning, and romantic relationships and behaviors, the teens with same-sex parents were as well adjusted as their peers with opposite-sex parents. The authors found very few differences between the two groups. A more important predictor of teens’ psychological and social adjustment, they found, is the quality of the relationships they have with their parents.

    And another quote (this one from the APA)

    So what do the studies find? Summarizing the research, the American Psychological Association concluded in its July 2004 “Resolution on Sexual Orientation, Parents, and Children,”

    There is no scientific basis for concluding that lesbian mothers or gay fathers are unfit parents on the basis of their sexual orientation. . . . On the contrary, results of research suggest that lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children. . . . Overall, results of research suggest that the development, adjustment, and well-being of children with lesbian and gay parents do not differ markedly from that of children with heterosexual parents.17

    As far as any research shows, there’s really no difference.

    But I happen to personally know several same sex couples with kids. Do you? Do you have anything at all to base your worry on? How do *I* know you’re not just recycling right wing talking points because of anti-gay bigotry?

    Did you know that much of the research by anti gay organizations, including what they use to try and stop adoption comes from The National Association For Reparative Therapy, who’s main data source was booted from the APA for faking statistics?

    So I’m calling you on your alleged concern for children. Prove you’re not some NARTH-talking-point using concern troll.

  162. Bozo @168:

    The involvement of Church and state in marriage in England went something like:

    Prior to 1200ish: people married themselves.
    1200ish: as part of a crackdown on moral issues like the celibacy of priesthood, the Church starts demanding the posting of the banns and religious witnesses to marriage.
    1753: only religious weddings (with exceptions for Quakers and Jews) allowed.
    1837: civil registry established.

    Various other English-speaking nations had their foundings at various points along this arc and with various perspectives on its signifiance. As I noted above, one of the bits of worldly ick that the Puritans were neurotic about was the notion that marriage is a religious matter; as a result, its treatment in Massachusetts has been strictly civil since the beginning.

    I think churches should get out of the marriage business. I’m not sure it’s possible even in a pipe dream to go back to the common law principles held prior to the organised-religious theft of marriage from the people, so if one den of thieves has got to have it, I’d far rather the state with its nominal obligation to the entire citizenry (even if it must be fought over) than a set of blatantly partisan organisations a number of which are demonstrated willing to lie to claim it as their property.

    The cries of complaint from religious organisations are “How dare you take what I have rightfully stolen!” If marriage is to be returned to someone, give it back to the people; it is a human thing, after all.

  163. Of course, the American Psychological Association wouldn’t have any bias, would they?

  164. “The false equality of state ‘civil unions’ vs. ‘church marriages’ would be elevating the beliefs of some religious groups to the fore, violating that ol’ establishment clause.”

    So then, we shouldn’t expect to see any lawsuits trying to force a particular church to marry a particular gay couple.

    “Banning gay marriage is a clear violation of liberty; it needs to be justified.”

    We are surrounded by many clear violations of liberty, so that in, and of itself is not an argument for gay marriage. We are talking about the preponderance of American history against it.

    As I said on another thread here, gay men, and gay women are free to marry anyone of the opposite sex that will have them, just like hetro men and women. So, in effect, we all have the same right.

    Currently, not everyone who gets “married” has their marriage recognized by the state. Some do it in “Gods eyes” alone, and are done with it. They don’t expect special benefits conferred onto their union by the state, or any other institution.

    So, what is desired from the gay community? Having the legal benefits of marriage from the state and other institutions (insurance companies and hospitals primarily,) or to be called “married.”

    I’m with bozo the clown, remove the word marriage, and have any benefits from being married transfered to all those who are engaged in civil unions.

    I really don’t have a problem with gays or gay couples, I’ve known a few, and they were as stable as any hetro couple I’ve known (meaning some of them broke up, and some have stayed together through the years.) Everyone is right in that you aren’t going to win over those who are against gays to begin with. That’s why the suggested solution may be the best course in terms of actually gaining what I think is desired.

    Churches who don’t want to perform gay marriages don’t have to, and don’t need to recognize them.

    Businesses and government agencies have to recognize and confer benefits to anyone who is in a civil-union, regardless of the gender of the 2 (or more?) in it.

  165. Keith_Indy:

    “As I said on another thread here, gay men, and gay women are free to marry anyone of the opposite sex that will have them, just like hetro men and women. So, in effect, we all have the same right.”

    And as luck would have it, in California and Massachusetts, straight men and women are free to marry anyone of the same sex, just like gay men and women. It’s really nice when anyone can marry any other person they choose. Which is the real issue.

  166. Britteny Spears has nothing on reality TV. Ont he day that same sex marriages finally started happening in CA, this show was on TV at the local pub where I was having a burger, which I nearly vomited up.

    There was a group of men competing to marry a young woman on a game show. One of those men HAD A CHILD.

    Remind me again about the negative impact same sex marriage might have on our culture. And please, by all means muster some concern about how you’re worried about how it might damage children.

    We have GAME SHOWS about heterosexuals getting married. It’s a freaking GAME. None of these idiots will ever have to worry about child support, health benefits for the game show wife or husband, getting a child tax credit, and so on.

    Go on. Remind me.

  167. Josh Jasper @ 174:
    Read the whole thread before you start spewing hatred dude. When I did my own search I came up with the same inconclusive and irrelevant studies you linked to. Strech was kind enough to link to a study that actually noted the same objections I had to the studies you linked to, and filled in the gaps.

    Now YOU prove you’re not just someone rude looking to vent.

  168. Well, Rocky, since it was proven that the NARTH researcher faked his statistics, I’d say that arguments claiming that the APA has a bias come from sources that really do have a proven bias against the truth.

    Hope that helps.

  169. Skar : When I did my own search I came up with the same inconclusive and irrelevant studies you linked to

    Just calling a study irrelevant does not make it so. Try again. Keep in mind that the major organizations that have been working for years on this subject, including government funded studies, disagree with you. So doe all of the data from countries where they’ve had same sex marriage for a long time.

    If I’m suspicious, it’s because you’re following a long established pattern of concern trolling in this sort of argument. One that well funded anti-gay organizations have been making for years, but the medical and psychological establishment disagrees with.

    Hatred? Not at all. I just don’t trust your motives. It’s fair with you not trusting that same sex couples are competent enough to get married and raise kids.

  170. “So then, we shouldn’t expect to see any lawsuits trying to force a particular church to marry a particular gay couple.”

    I doubt you would see that – most gay couples would just be happy to be married. And many of them are non-denominational, so they would probably be married in Unitarian churches and the like. Not all, mind you. There are many who are Jewish, Christian, etc, who will want to be married in their respective churches and may be denied – but I really think that not only will that be a small number, those gays who are turned away would find a “better” solution – like being married a garden like my wife and I or some other rentable public space.

    “We are surrounded by many clear violations of liberty, so that in, and of itself is not an argument for gay marriage. We are talking about the preponderance of American history against it.”

    As many people have pointed out, inter-racial marriages have/had the same preponderance of American history until the government changed the rules. And yes, that it is a violation of liberty is EXACTLY the argument for gay marriage. The whole point of the Constitution is to protect those in the minority – the majority does not need that type of protection.

    “As I said on another thread here, gay men, and gay women are free to marry anyone of the opposite sex that will have them, just like hetro men and women. So, in effect, we all have the same right.”

    You realize this is preposterous, right? This is not about just getting married, this is about being told WHO you can marry. You are completely missing the whole point if you think this is any sort of logical argument against gay marriage. This is like taking a vegetarian to a steak house and then telling them they can have anything on the menu – and then complaining when they just have a salad. And in case you weren’t paying attention – gays and lesbians now CAN be legally married in CA and MA. So really, now they ACTUALLY have the same rights as everyone else – no logical fallacies necessary.

    “Currently, not everyone who gets “married” has their marriage recognized by the state. Some do it in “Gods eyes” alone, and are done with it. They don’t expect special benefits conferred onto their union by the state, or any other institution.”

    This is not the point at all, so why even bring it up?

    “So, what is desired from the gay community? Having the legal benefits of marriage from the state and other institutions (insurance companies and hospitals primarily,) or to be called “married.” ”

    Both. A simple Google search would point this out.

    “I’m with bozo the clown, remove the word marriage, and have any benefits from being married transfered to all those who are engaged in civil unions.”

    Why? Why not leave everything how it is and stop legislating who can be married? It is simpler, cheaper, and requires nothing else be done, since gays and lesbians can now legally be married in CA and MA – which is the point of this thread.

    “I really don’t have a problem with gays or gay couples, I’ve known a few, and they were as stable as any hetro couple I’ve known (meaning some of them broke up, and some have stayed together through the years.) Everyone is right in that you aren’t going to win over those who are against gays to begin with. That’s why the suggested solution may be the best course in terms of actually gaining what I think is desired.”

    The suggested solution is moot. The gauntlet has been dropped. Why do you, as an apparently hetero person as per your post, have the right to tell other people how you will make their lives easier – by not listening to what they want and giving them something else? What you THINK the LBGT community wants is irrelevant to what they actually want, and what they want they just got. And I, for one (but apparently not the only one), am very happy indeed that they have.

    “Churches who don’t want to perform gay marriages don’t have to, and don’t need to recognize them.”

    Well, they don’t have to perform them, but they do have to recognize them because, well, they are legal. I don’t have to recognize the existence of cars, but that won’t stop them from running me over if I walk into the street.

    “Businesses and government agencies have to recognize and confer benefits to anyone who is in a civil-union, regardless of the gender of the 2 (or more?) in it.”

    There can only be 2 people in a civil union – I suspect you already know that but were just being glib. But no, businesses and gov agencies are not recognizing civil unions as marriages because they either are not entirely sure what the rights of a civil union are or they do not see the word marriage so they just decide not to. There are plenty of examples – specifically partners not being allowed to see their “civilly unioned” spouse.

    Of course, all of this is beside the point – according your post you would apparently destroy all the gay marriages in CA to satisfy your own version of the staus quo, correct? A simple yes or no will suffice.

  171. Josh @ 182:
    “Just calling a study irrelevant does not make it so.”
    Correct, the study not being focused on the subject it’s being used to illuminate does. That was the problem with the studies you linked to and the APA study agreed with me.

    “Try again. Keep in mind that the major organizations that have been working for years on this subject, including government funded studies, disagree with you.”
    Actually that’s an out and out falsehood and the APA study YOU referenced, says so and then explained how it was going to fill in the gaps I pointed out. Did you read it or just skim it for points you agreed with?

    You’re making it plain that you’re lashing out at those who disagreed with you and that it’s only a coincidence that your view happens to coincide with what science is just now observing.

    I’m not reconsidering the opinion I expressed @ 164 but you are starting to look like the guys John described. You know, the ones reasonable people don’t want to be seen with.

  172. keith@177 – While you might see a lawsuit attempting to force a church to do something, I don’t think you’ll see any successful ones, precisely because of those same 1st amendment rights already referred to. After all, anybody can sue anybody over anything. It only costs a few bucks to file the paperwork and you don’t even need a lawyer to do that. Just because somebody files a suit doesn’t really mean anything. Most of the stupid lawsuits you hear about people filing never get past an initial review before being thrown out (knowledge gleaned from a multitude of friends in the business of law).

    The ‘religious sanctity’ of marriage doesn’t really hold water, anyway. Wasn’t it St. Paul who was the one who grudgingly admitted that marriage should be tolerated among Christians, saying “It’s better to marry than to burn.” Marriage was not considered the purview of the church until 1200 years or so after the Council of Nicea. So the predominance of history says that it’s not a religious function.

  173. Ooof. You’re right Skar. I really apologize. I totally misread what you were saying in 164 as being pushed over the line against, as opposed to for. I’m really sorry.

    Mea culpa. It’s an emotional issue for me, and I tend to get heated about it. For me, the kids you reference are real people, as are the parents. There are a lot of painful details about not having marriage rights that they’re fought for, including some harships involving insurance, and deciding on new clothes versus medication for a sick child that would have been affordable if they’d been legally marries

    That doesn’t excuse my behavior, but I hope it explains why it’s so hard to watch people object over issues of children in the abstract.

  174. Keith Indy #177:

    So then, we shouldn’t expect to see any lawsuits trying to force a particular church to marry a particular gay couple.

    Well, we don’t currently see lawsuits when divorcees want to get married in a Catholic church, or atheists in a synagogue, so I would imagine that we won’t see any attempts to force churches to marry same-sex couples against their will.

    As it stands, churches can refuse to perform a wedding ceremony for any reason, or for none at all, and I’m not aware of anyone who wants to change this. Feel free to provide links if you think I’m wrong.

  175. Some years ago I was at a local legislature hearing covering issues including same-sex marriage rights.

    One of the legislators, a Catholic, was Very Concerned about whether the Catholic church would be somehow required to marry same-sex couples.

    I wanted to ask him if he had similar concerns over the legalisation of civil divorce.

  176. The state Boston is in (sorry, no spell check) is very unlikely to reverse same sex marriages. The votes just aren’t there.

    I think a whole lot of people were really startled to discover that, yes, they DO know gay people, and the world didn’t end when those gay people started getting married.

  177. More human faces my very dear friends Toby and Jean, and their incredible daughter Kalen (not pictured, but mentioned)

    I’ve watched them raise Kalen since she was born. They are superlative parents.

    They’re the ones who’ve been in the media. I know of other same sex couples who’d probably prefer to remain out of the spotlight, but are raising children.

    There are still more I know who’d like to have children. Marriage is incredibly helpful for that in terms of rights and responsibilities. It’s easy to say that same sex couples want to force people to accept them. I’ve always felt that that argument was nonsense.

    It has nothing to do with forcing acceptance. It’s always been about equal legal rights and protections. Who cares if the Catholic Church has differnt rules for marriage or divorce?

  178. I suspect that if the November vote were somehow magically put off for a year or more, the issue would cease to be in doubt. The longer SSM exists in real life, the fewer people seem to object to it – it becomes part of what is. Married homosexuals become part of the landscape while society notably fails to fall apart and suddenly it’s hard to work up all that social outrage that’s so easy to come by when it’s all new and different.

  179. Keith Indy @177

    Have you read Perez v. Sharp, the California Supreme Court Case (1948) that stopped bans on interracial marriages?

    Even those guys, writing under the assumption that ‘separate but equal’ was a workable set of laws, said something about how while train cars and law schools could be interchangeable, people aren’t:

    “A holding that such segregation does not impair the right of an individual to ride on trains or to enjoy a legal education is clearly inapplicable to the right of an individual to marry. Since the essence of the right to marry is freedom to join in marriage with the person of one’s choice, a segregation statute for marriage necessarily impairs the right to marry.

    A member of any of these races may find himself barred by law from marrying the person of his choice and that person to him may be irreplaceable. Human beings are bereft of worth and dignity by a doctrine that would make them as interchangeable as trains.

  180. Interesting posts. I for one would have a hard time voting to deny a right that has already been given. I also took a look at the pictures mentioned/linked in an earlier post. After showing them I would question the humanity of anyone who could vote “yes”.

    All the pictures are wonderful but:
    #2 (that is FUN),
    #6 (the couple is wonderful but look at the ladies in the background – that’s LOVE & SUPPORT),
    #8 (classical composition – stunningly beautiful picture),
    #17 (I love that the boy is playing a handheld video game – I can just hear the discussion before they left the house, “let him take it, we might be there awhile”),
    #21 (that is JOY) and
    #25 (I don’t care what anyone says that IS MARRIAGE!).

  181. Luckily I live in California, so I get to vote against this lame brain amendment.

    I think it’s important to remember that, unless you have read and evaluated a study, you are relying on someone else’s judgment. Having said that, if you’re interested in this subject here’s the blog of Dr. Gregory Herek who does have the expertise http://www.beyondhomophobia.com/blog/

  182. “What this means is that if the initiative passes, then likely thousands of legal, actual, state-recognized and sanctioned marriages will disappear overnight.”

    I think this begs the question of whether proponents of the initiative consider those to be marriages in the conventional sense, hence their effort to re-match California legal definition of marriage with the conventional one.

  183. Whether they consider them marriages is immaterial; legally those marriages exist under California law. If the initiative passes, those marriages will be destroyed. The fiction they hold in may hold in their head that they weren’t “real” marriages is just that, a fiction.

  184. As I said on another thread here, gay men, and gay women are free to marry anyone of the opposite sex that will have them, just like hetro men and women. So, in effect, we all have the same right.

    As a non-gay man, I feel I should be able to marry another man if I want to.

  185. And as luck would have it, in California and Massachusetts, straight men and women are free to marry anyone of the same sex, just like gay men and women. It’s really nice when anyone can marry any other person they choose. Which is the real issue.

    For the record, that isn’t me trying to make a valid legal argument, it’s a throw away line to try and bring levity to the debate.

    Just think of me as a devils advocate here. I don’t know much about the situation in CA. Don’t really care about the situation that much, other then the fact that it’s creating yet another rift in society. For the record, I’m not against “gay marriage,” I just understand the concerns of both sides of the issue. I’m trying to explore what sort of consensus position would be more acceptable to both sides. Currently it looks like the activists of both sides are entrenched and unwilling to budge. Personally I think government shouldn’t be involved in social issues where no one is harmed.

    As far as the initiative is concerned, correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the initiative pre-date the court decision? So, at the time of proposal, there wasn’t such a thing as same-sex marriages in CA, and those are now a creation of the court.

    And no, I meant to put that parenthetical “(or more)” in there. If same sex marriage is allowable, why shouldn’t polygamy be allowed? What arguments are there against it?

  186. Keith_Indy:

    “If same sex marriage is allowable, why shouldn’t polygamy be allowed? What arguments are there against it?”

    Interestingly, this was discussed here not too long ago.

  187. Vicki @ 193: Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune had what I think is a rather nice column on Lyon and Martin yesterday. Here’s the link, I hope: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/chi-zorn-thurjun19,0,4956939.column

    Just in case that doesn’t work, here’s a clip:

    “Does knowing that octogenarian lesbians Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon had a legal wedding this week in San Francisco diminish, in retrospect, your legal wedding? Does their bond profane yours?

    Not at our house it doesn’t. My wife and I simply feel inspired. Martin and Lyon have been a couple for 56 years–twice as long as we’ve been together–and we see them as role models, not harbingers of the decline of the family.

    We celebrate their lifelong commitment and lasting love. We think the family could use a lot more of that and a lot less puritanical fretting about what name we put on the hopeful union of souls.

    We’re honored, even a little humbled, to share this institution with Martin and Lyon.”

  188. And for the record, I’m not against polygamy either. I’m just not going to be an advocate for it.

    I’m one of those “live and let live” (small r) republican/libertarian/classic liberal sort of guys…

    I’m an advocate for less governmental control, and more personal responsibility, in the “just ’cause it’s legal doesn’t make it right” vein. If people don’t like gay marriage, they are free not to engage in one.

    If only politicians would get out of the way of society and just concentrate on protecting people from each other and the government and stop worrying about protecting us from ourselves.

  189. to add my own two cents (though they’re canadian pennies, therefore not quite the same…):
    I am a Christian (and somewhat conservative).. but the people who would try to repeal this decision? What are they threatened by? I cheered the day that gay marriage was made legal here at home! Good for them! How on earth does it threaten those of us who are hetero (regardless of religious affiliation) if others who don’t share our views get the same rights we do? To echo B.Dewhirst @ 68 (excuse the paraphrase) “A right that is extended only to some is a privelidge. Marriage is a right, not a privelidge.” Hurrah!!! Exactly how I feel. As far as parenting goes, at least a gay couple has to choose, and therefore work towards becoming parents… I’ve often thought there oughta be a licence/course/test to become a parent – I know far too many stupid people who have, and are hurting their children. It ought to be a choice. Not an accident.
    Anyway, like I said – my 2 cents!

  190. In msg #176, “Rocky Mountain” snarked “Of course, the American Psychological Association wouldn’t have any bias, would they?”

    As a one-time graduate student in psychology, and former member of the student chapter of that organization, I can state without reservation that yes, the APA has a definite bias.

    A bias towards proper research techniques, rigorous statistical analysis, with results published in peer-reviewed journals. You know… all the stuff that goes into making good science.

    If the outcome doesn’t jibe with your notion of how things ought to be, well…tough. Welcome to the Real World®

  191. Amen, John. For those who are concerned about the possible effects on kids raised by same-sex couples, it might behoove them to read this article from the Sunday New York Times magazine, 2004, which explicitly focussed on kids who had been raised by gay couples as they entered their late teens & early twenties.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/24/magazine/24KIDS.html

    (You may need to log in to the Times to read it.)
    What the article found, by and large, is that the kids are fine and normal.

    So, your concern for the kids is appreciated, but it doesn’t seem to be warranted in this case.

    Next argument.

  192. Legality of Constitutional Ban on same Sex Marriage Questioned
    The recent California Constitutional Right to Marry case calls into question the currently proposed “Limit to Marry” Voter Initiative Constitutional Initiative. If Secretary of State Debra Bowen places it on the ballot, she would be wise to have the Legislative Analysts’ opinion consider the following cited cases and also discuss the issue with Attorney General Jerry Brown to inquire whether or not the proposed initiative can even be legally placed on the ballot. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Assembly member Mark Leno, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome, and Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors, and one of the main attorneys on the winning side of the marriage case, David Codell would be wise to immediately contact Bowen and Brown to raise the issue of the legality of the proposed initiative so that the voters of California are properly informed that there may be a potential problem in enacting the initiative if it passes this November (assuming it qualifies for the ballot). As noted in McFadden v. Jordan (1948) 32 Cal.2d 330, 333: “The initiative power reserved by the people by amendment to the Constitution in 1911 (art. IV, s 1) applies only to the proposing and the adopting or rejecting of ‘laws and amendments to the Constitution’ and does not purport to extend to a constitutional revision.” The proposed initiative appears to now attempt to revise the California Constitution to remove the fundamental right to marry and equal protection that gays and lesbians are now afforded under the California Constitution.With that in mind, the Secretary of State must be aware of the following case: Rippon v. Bowen (2008) 160 Cal.App.4th 1308, 1313: Article XVIII of the California Constitution allows for amendment of the Constitution by the Legislature, or initiative and revision of the Constitution by the Legislature, or a constitutional convention. There is no other method for revising or amending the Constitution. (Livermore v. Waite (1894) 102 Cal. 113, 117, 36 P. 424 (Livermore).)

  193. The “what about the kids” argument against same sex marriage is just a distraction. It doesn’t amount to much legally or logically. Legally it’s discriminatory because it seeks to create a standard not applied to opposite sex couples, and it would deny individuals the right to marry based on statistics about a group. A group to which they may or may not want to belong. I’m sure someone else has pointed this out, but if you want to create standards for restricting who can marry based on studies of how well the children do then how do you think the poor are going to fare? Perhaps there are many groups out there that we could prevent from marrying with this standard.

    Logically it’s fallacious for more or less the same reason in that it applies group characteristics to individuals with no regard for what could be vast differences within that group.

  194. Scalzi writes:

    I imagine it will be single largest forced annulment action between married couples in the history of the United States.

    Um – what about the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act of 1862? Or the Edmunds Act of 1882?

  195. “Let’s say that California decided, for some reason, to establish a constitutional amendment restricting marriage to “between a man and woman of the same race”. Which side of that would you come down on (since the same arguments you make would apply equally to that situation)? Would you be happy being on that side? If not, what, exactly, is the difference?”

    I stated my position in the very first line of my comment. Some people need to read more carefully, and I do not repeat myself for their benefit.

    I want to clarify that in the context of my real estate anecdote, I was not shopping for a starter home at the time, I was selling one, and I have no reason to doubt realtor’s word, who was, by the way, a contracted buyer’s agent and a pony-tail wearing liberal kind of guy. Whether the existence of DINKs or, specifically, gay DINKs has an effect on the housing market is open for debate, and I am sure future research. The point is that such a change can make a real social and economic difference, and yes, marginal changes, even those affecting a small percentage of the population do add up to big numbers really fast when your population is large.

  196. See most people get it wrong. It’s not that people are against same sex people sharing their lives. It’s about redefining a millennium old term called marriage. Marriage a union between a man and a woman. Gays are able to get all their “constitutional civil rights” under a domestic partnership. They ALL have the rights and privileges of married individuals. What it comes down to is children. The right to adopt and have artificial means of having children.

  197. People who whine about “millenia of tradition” are clearly advocating for undoing the very modern reforms we’ve recently instituted…..like allowing married women to hold property in their own names, or permitting divorce without having to prove adultery, abuse or abandonment.

    I mean, they DO want traditional marriage and not just the non-traditional changes that just so happen to benefit heterosexuals. Right?

  198. The True Issues as stake –

    1. California school children will be taught that same-sex marriage is interchangeable, acceptable, and condoned starting in Kindergarten, unless Prop 8 passes.
    a. Evidence – please view the video below.

    http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1815820715/bctid1822459319

    Grade school children in Massachusetts are taught that a boy can marry a boy and a girl can marry a girl. The courts ruled that parents cannot object to these teachings.
    b. Evidence – October 11: In the same week that the “No on 8” campaign launched an ad that labeled as “lies” claims that same-sex marriage would be taught in schools to young children, a first grade class took a school-sponsored trip to a gay wedding. Eighteen first graders traveled to San Francisco City Hall Friday for the wedding of their teacher and her lesbian partner, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The school sponsored the trip for the students, ages 5 and 6, taking them away from their studies for the same-sex wedding. The San Francisco Chronicle reporter said she did not know if the school had ever sponsored a field trip for students to a traditional wedding.

    2. Faith or religious bases groups will be forced to accept same-sex marriages or face multiple lawsuits and potentially loose tax-exempt status.
    a. Evidence – Catholic charities in Massachusetts abandoned their adoption service for hard-to-place children when it was ordered to place children in same-sex households.
    b. Evidence – The multiple lawsuits against The Boy Scouts of America, for refusing to accept gay troop leaders. All federal support of this long time American association was revoked. The plaintiffs tried also to revoke the tax-exempt status of the BSA, claiming that it is equivalent to federal aid.
    c. Evidence – Christian secondary schools like Cole Valley Christian and Nampa Christian have been sued for expelling lesbian students.
    d. Evidence – A same-sex couple was turned down by a Methodist retreat center, the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association in New Jersey, when they sought to rent it for a same-sex ceremony. The center declined to allow the site to be rented for that purpose, on the grounds that the center had a “strongly held religious belief that marriage is between a man and a woman,” according to the center’s director. The lesbian couple filed a complaint with New Jersey’s Division of Civil Rights, and won, no matter that the center is a religiously-based operation with First Amendment rights to the free exercise of religion and association with possessed private property rights as well.
    e. Evidence – A Jewish university was ordered to allow same-sex couples into its married dormitory

    3. Individuals will be forced by law to accept and condone same-sex marriages despite their religious beliefs.
    a. Evidence – A psychologist in Mississippi lost her case when she was sued for refusing to counsel a lesbian who was not interested in reparative therapy, and a California doctor is about to lose his case for declining to provide in-vitro fertilization services to a lesbian.
    b. Evidence – A wedding photographer in New Mexico has been fined almost $6,700, for declining to photograph a same-sex ceremony on the basis of religious belief.

    The state of California has been very tolerant of people with same-sex attraction. Such individuals can obtain a civil union which grants all of the advantages that a married couple has to same-sex couples. Proposition 8 is not anti-gay and would not remove and of the advantages or rights enjoyed by same-sex couples under the law. A yes vote on proposition 8 is being called intolerant, however tolerance works both ways. Those who do not agree with gay and lesbian lifestyles should never harass or ridicule those with same-sex attractions. Likewise, gay and lesbian individuals should never seek to force other people to act against their religious beliefs through judicial activism.

  199. I didn’t realize so much progress had been made! By the way, y dt, New Jersey doesn’t have legal same-sex marriage.

  200. LH @ 218
    Regarding the cases you site–great, the laws against discrimination were upheld. This is a GOOD THING.

    If you provide a service to the public or receive federal money, you can not discriminate.

    To paraphrase another cause’s slogan:
    If you don’t believe in same sex marriage, don’t be a partner in one.

    Otherwise, if you have a business open to the public, don’t discriminate, or you may find yourself in court.

  201. LH:

    “California school children will be taught that same-sex marriage is interchangeable, acceptable, and condoned starting in Kindergarten, unless Prop 8 passes.”

    No. The Superintendent of Schools for the State of California actually cut a commercial explaining why this is a lie. I didn’t bother reading the rest of your most recent comment because when you lead with a lie like this, it suggests the rest of what you might have to say will be equally full of shit, and, well, life is short.

    LH, the fact you appear to think I and everyone else here is so ignorant that you can lie to us offends me. Alternately, the fact you are so ignorant that you actually believe this crap offends me as well, and that you’d be willing to spread it without doing basic research on the matter offends me even more.

    So, which are you, LH: Ignorant, or a liar? It’s one or the other. You’re not allowed to comment here further until you answer this question first.

  202. @218, 3a: “…reparative therapy…”

    Forgive me my ignorance, is that what I think it sounds like (Hey! you got some Mengele in my Orwell!)? If so, good. The shrink should have been sued and I hope she lost her license. Disgusting.

  203. Definitely liar, John, based on this: “a first grade class took a school-sponsored trip to a gay wedding”.

    Actually, the first-grade class’s teacher took the day off to get married. One of the *parents* of her students thought it would be a nice surprise for those students who wanted to attend to show up and see their teacher get married.

    All parents were informed ahead of time and permitted to opt out. Two students did not attend.

    So, again, Yes on 8 liars are not only lying, but they want the government to interfere with child-rearing by people who support same-sex marriage.

  204. [Deleted because LH doesn’t seem to understand that “voluntary” doesn’t actually mean “required,” and didn’t answer the question “ignorant or liar?” as required by me. That said, the deleted answer establishes that LH is a liar rather than merely ignorant. LH, you don’t actually need to bother to comment on this thread anymore — JS]

  205. I suppose LH also thinks that schools should not teach that it is legal or appropriate for a black man to marry a white woman, since some parents do not agree that is acceptable.

  206. But John, I want LH to keep posting so that your bracketed messages can become increasingly whimsical:

    [Deleted because it really irritates the almighty bejeezus out of LH.]

    [Deleted because that was the next item on today’s Gay Agenda, right after getting a cucumber-mango-tarragon facial mask treatment at Jacque’s Salon for Men.]

    [Deleted because I am all out of jelly donuts.]

    [Deleted because OMG A BUTTERFLY!]

  207. HAHAHAhahahaheheheh *** breath*** hehehehehehehe

    Whew.

    Good stuff, John.

    While I generally enjoy your deleted brackets, those were the best yet.

    LH, please keep posting. Your FAIL makes me laugh.

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