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Overturning Prop. 8
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maryskl



Joined: 25 Apr 2009
Posts: 354
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
Three points:
1) We make distinctions between things all the time. We do not want to confuse apples with oranges or bicycles with automobiles or cats with dogs. Our language couldn't function well without making those distinctions. In my opinion, the same is true of marriage and same-sex partnerships. They are both unions, just as apples and oranges are both fruits, but they are different kinds of unions; just as cats and dogs are both animals but different kinds of animals. Again, I don't see why, if the same rights as those accorded to married couples are what gays want, they are unwilling to accept civil unions.

2) The rule of law is in a great many ways, a tyranny of the majority. Not everybody agrees with criminalizing use of some drugs, but, because the lawmakers, elected by voters (usually a majority of them) make using those drugs a criminal act, it becomes so. Further, if Prop 8 goes to the Supreme Court and is tossed out, the Constitution itself can be changed to reflect what the populace of at least 34 states have decreed--marriage is a union between a man and a woman. That would be, of course, tyranny of the majority, but it would nonetheless be perfectly legal, as it is in those states.

3) There are a couple of interesting opinion pieces on the Yahoo news page. One of them suggests that marriage as a union between a man and a woman is primarily a protection for women. I'm not sure I quite agree with the stance the piece takes, but it's well worth taking a gander at.


I believe part of the debate about this issue is just semantics. Currently what we call a "legal marriage" IS a civil union. It is a civil contract conferred upon people by the government. Anyone who can legally get married can go in front of a justice of the peace and seal the deal. Currently I could not get married in the Catholic Church because I am not Catholic (plus I am already married, so that would be bigamy <g>). Each religious institution is free to set the standards by which they will sanctify a religious marriage. A law legalizing gay marriage would not change that. But, if you were to ONLY marry in a church without an license and approval of the government, your marriage would not stand up in a court of law unless you also met the requirements for a common law marriage. Legally, the only "marriage" that is binding is the civil union. So we use the term "marriage" as a catch-all phrase for both the civil contract and the religious one.

It was not that long ago that blacks and white could not get married in this country. This country finally came to its senses and did away with that discriminatory practice. It is time to end the prohibition nationwide against same sex couple unions. There is no legal obstacle to this idea. Both parties would be consenting adults. There is no genetic reason to prohibit these unions. The only obstacle standing in the way is the personal religious beliefs of certain members of society.
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1401

PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The recent ruling is from a Federal court; not a state court, so it is based on the U.S. Constitution.

The problem with saying the name (marriage vs. civil union) is just wording is that specific rights, privileges and obligations are tied to the wording. There are hundreds (maybe thousands) of laws the specifically refer to MARRIAGE. Civil unions do NOT get the same rights.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4225
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
The problem with saying the name (marriage vs. civil union) is just wording is that specific rights, privileges and obligations are tied to the wording. There are hundreds (maybe thousands) of laws the specifically refer to MARRIAGE. Civil unions do NOT get the same rights.

Then the work should be centered, for now, on making sure civil unions have the very same benefits, since that is what the gay community claims they're asking for. And from what I understand, that can be accomplished. I would think there would be more support for that at this point from the population in general than a change in the word marriage and what it means to a large segment of the population.

However, that may not be all that is really being requested and that's where the line has been drawn. When lines are drawn, forget dialogue, forget cooperation, forget logic. Acceptance of each small victory should bring them closer to their ultimate goal, which is equal rights and benefits of marriage. But if the goal really is to change the time-worn meaning of what the word marriage means to most people, that may not happen until the next generation.

As with any sensitive topic, minds can be changed. The process can determine how quickly this will be done. Pushing and shoving change at people can build roadblocks. Educating them over a span of time can produce results far beyond expectations. If certain goals can be met by small victories, then they should be celebrated and accepted for now, with the resolve to continue on, if necessary, with trying for more reforms. However, at this time, there are still at least two sides to this saga, which won't go away easily and soon.
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Lee



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 215

PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just so we're all on the same page here, the US Constitution is the law of the land. No state can make laws that abrogate rights given to us as citizens of the US. For instance, no matter how much they want it, no state can outlaw marriages between people of different races because according to the US Constitution as determined by the US Supreme Court, that would be racial discrimination. Nor could a state outlaw the building of Buddhist shrines, Muslim mosques or Christian churches, because that is an infringement of the US Constitution's guarantee of freedom of religion. Federal law always trumps state law. This is why any attempt to ban same sex marriages is doomed to fail when brought on appeal to the federal level. Sooner or later there will be same sex marriage in the US. It may take many decades, but it will happen. And from here in MA, there have been no problems, no attack on heterosexual marriages by gays, no decrease of heterosexual marriages, no disrespect of traditional, heterosexual marriage. It's really a non-issue. Change is scary, but not necessarily bad.
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2510

PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All discussions eventually come back to the semantics and logic of classes. Even though heterosexual marriages fall within the class "civil contract," they are a specific kind of civil contract, just as an apple is a specific kind of fruit. Nobody wants to keep those with an alternative (which does mean a different) life-style from having civil contracts; they just don't want those contracts to be called marriages. We can all say, of course, that what something is called is relatively unimportant, but if that is so, why are both sides so intransigent? If both heterosexual and homosexual unions are civil contracts, why do gays insist that their civil contracts be called marriages, even though they're living an "alternative" life-style? Obviously, the word "marriage" has a considerable amount of semantic power.
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maryskl



Joined: 25 Apr 2009
Posts: 354
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
All discussions eventually come back to the semantics and logic of classes. Even though heterosexual marriages fall within the class "civil contract," they are a specific kind of civil contract, just as an apple is a specific kind of fruit. Nobody wants to keep those with an alternative (which does mean a different) life-style from having civil contracts; they just don't want those contracts to be called marriages. We can all say, of course, that what something is called is relatively unimportant, but if that is so, why are both sides so intransigent? If both heterosexual and homosexual unions are civil contracts, why do gays insist that their civil contracts be called marriages, even though they're living an "alternative" life-style? Obviously, the word "marriage" has a considerable amount of semantic power.


They want the term marriage used for the same reason that people who wanted interracial marriages recognized had - to make them equal. Those who do not want the term "marriage" used take that stance because they see using a different terminology as making the union something different or "less" than what they have. People who want the term marriage used see it as full equality under the law. The term "gay marriage" is already in the public lexicon. Whether the laws on the books call it a marriage or not, the public will continue to do so. People marry for many reasons and some of them though they be male and female have "alternative lifestyles" to mine. They might have an open marriage where other couples are invited in. They might have a chaste marriage for some type of expediency sake. There might be an 80 year old impotent male marrying a girl young enough to be his granddaughter. Yet neither do we deny or invalidate these unions. Why would those unconventional marriages be any more acceptable than same sex ones? For religious people, sex without the possibility of procreation goes against the Bible. Adultery is condemned. What is it about the supposed "sin" of homosexuality that places it so much higher than other "sins?"

In the grand scheme of things, why do you CARE? They are not hurting you. They are not taking something from you. But by denying them equal protection under the law, society is very much hurting them.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4225
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although you raise some excellent points that are difficult to disagree with, maryskl, there are some in which I do not agree. However, I am not even going to begin tackling or responding to them here, which, because of the kind of forum this is, I am sure statements and words will become easily misconstrued. But you do make some very valid points, causing me to stop and think--which is actually a good thing. Laughing
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maryskl



Joined: 25 Apr 2009
Posts: 354
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tee wrote:
Although you raise some excellent points that are difficult to disagree with, maryskl, there are some in which I do not agree. However, I am not even going to begin tackling or responding to them here, which, because of the kind of forum this is, I am sure statements and words will become easily misconstrued. But you do make some very valid points, causing me to stop and think--which is actually a good thing. Laughing


If we all agreed, the world would be a boring place indeed <G>. I don't like the idea of an 80 year old with an 18 year old. It creeps me out. But...they have the right to enter into marriage if they want. Homosexual unions creep a lot of people out. However one cannot dictate how another feels. If we look at the romance community we get a microcosm of society as a whole: many find any kind of S/M relationships distasteful. Others might be drawn to that type of relationship (I personally have never understood the attraction, but that is just me). While our own personal preferences might enter into what we read, we would never deny others the right to read what they want. Just saying that someone has the RIGHT to read whatever they want does not necessarily mean we approve of their choice. I think some people who are caught up in the gay marriage debate feel that by supporting their right to marry who they want it amounts to tacit approval. I can recognize the right of people to spew racism, label women as inferior and worship satan. That does not mean I either like or approve of it. The Bill of Rights was established to prevent government intrusion into personal civil liberties. If we want the government to protect our own rights, we must also allow others that same right.
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2510

PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@marylski:

But the fundamental question remains, for an interracial marriage is still a union of a man and a woman whereas unions of two of the same sex are not. Using interracial marriages as the analog for unions between two of the same sex shifts the question away from that basic difference.
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maryskl



Joined: 25 Apr 2009
Posts: 354
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
@marylski:

But the fundamental question remains, for an interracial marriage is still a union of a man and a woman whereas unions of two of the same sex are not. Using interracial marriages as the analog for unions between two of the same sex shifts the question away from that basic difference.


Why? What if one of the parties to the marriage were a hermaphrodite? At one point in society blacks were not really even considered human. Therefore a marriage in that light might have been seen as an inter-species marriage. There was also a time when religious leaders were not sure that women had souls and without souls would they have been fully human? Yet they were "allowed" to marry (sometimes even forced). The Declaration of Independence stated the goal of forming a more perfect union. In the journey toward that perfect union we have seen women given the right to vote, slavery abolished, rights and protection given to children. At the time each of these events were accomplished, women as chattel, slavery and children working long hours in horrible conditions were the norm. The time became ripe to change these institutionalized ideas. What other justification do you have for denying gay people the right to marry other than religion or tradition? It was both religiously sanctioned and traditional to enslave human beings, deny women their humanity and allow the abuse of children at certain points in our history. That was wrong and denying an entire segment of our society the right to choose love freely with consenting partners is wrong now. I have yet to hear any persuasive argument against gay marriage other than they are of different sexes and frankly that is just not a persuasive argument. It is a hedge IMO. How does allowing it harm society, individuals, etc.? What compelling reason is there for the government to deny gay couples the same civil rights afforded to other couples? If you can give me a compelling reason, I might see this in a different light, but I have yet to hear one.
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Look up Polygamy or look up Marriage in Wikipedia to get a perspective on how much of history (including the Bible) and how much of the present world viewed/views marriage as other than just one man and one woman.
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Sterling_95



Joined: 04 Oct 2008
Posts: 212

PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Those who do not want the term "marriage" used take that stance because they see using a different terminology as making the union something different or "less" than what they have.


With all due respect, isn't that a case of simply borrowing trouble where there is none? There is nothing that says that a civil union is inferior to a "marriage". Take this example, my uncle decides that he no longer wants to be his son's father, he wants to be his mother instead. He could probably draw up a very long list of the negative connotations associated with the word "father" and positive ones associated with "mother" and it makes no difference to me whether he declares himself "mother", "father" or "emperor of Peru", but if he goes before a judge, demanding that he legally be recognized as his child's mother, I doubt that he would be taken seriously.

Here's a valid objection to marriages versus civil unions that I have. Custodial laws will be different for same sex parents than they will for heterosexual parents, simply due to the fact that any children will only be able to share the DNA of one parent and honestly, I'd much rather they draw up specific laws safeguarding the rights of the non-biological parent for civil unions. Admittedly, there are laws dealing with the custody of non-biologically related children in hetero divorce, but anyone with a background in family law will tell you that the law heavily favors biology and if homosexual couples choose to abide by the existing marriage laws, they mind find themselves in a quandary. I believe other countries may recognize this, which is why although same-sex unions are fairly widespread, several of the countries that accepted them rejected same-sex marriage and only a handful are debating legalizing actual same sex marriage. Either 95% of the world happens to be bigoted meanies, or there are other issues at hand.


Mark wrote:
Look up Polygamy or look up Marriage in Wikipedia to get a perspective on how much of history (including the Bible) and how much of the present world viewed/views marriage as other than just one man and one woman.


I can't help but wonder though if that isn't the reason why gay marriage chaps the hides of so many people who are otherwise pro-civil union and gay rights, because the US very specifically stuck its nose into defining marriage as between 2 people (See Reynold vs United States) in clear violation of that pesky church and state separation. Multiple marriages are only valid if they were performed outside of the US. Several of my Muslim and Hindu friends have some not so kind words to say about how willing the US is to give other people rights in marriage.
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@marylski:

Because a union between two people of the same sex is not the same as a union between a man and a woman. No matter what other issues are drawn into the discussion, that fundamental difference, and all the concomitant differences, remains. One can decide to call an apple an orange, but noone can make the apple into an orange--because they are simply different. The apple and the orange share characteristics--tartness, edibility, skins, etc.--but no one would mistake one for the other.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4225
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
Because a union between two people of the same sex is not the same as a union between a man and a woman. No matter what other issues are drawn into the discussion, that fundamental difference, and all the concomitant differences, remains.

And that, I believe, is the #1 concern that most people have with this issue now. After everything has been debated, we know that the majority do not deny how one (or two) persons want to live their choices. They just don't want it to be called marriage if they're of the same sex, because marriage (for years on down) designates a union between a man and a woman. And we can't unequivocally say that's a wrong definition either, yet. Will the thoughts ever change? Maybe, maybe not. But feelings on both sides of this matter need to be respected as the steps are worked thru because they're both very strong.
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Cora



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
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Location: Bremen, Germany

PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why are Americans so adamant about defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman anyway? Is there some kind of nursery rhyme you have to learn by heart in kindergarten that defines marriage as between one man and woman or what? And if suddenly two men or two women can call themselves married, everyone gets confused?

Because I normally no more think about the definition of "marriage" than I think about the definition of "sausage". And if you would ask me to define "marriage", I would define it as "union between two people who love each other". And if you had asked me at the age of eight, I would have given you the exact same definition.

You see, when I was a little girl, there was a wonderful children's TV program called Die Märchenbraut (The fairy tale bride). Towards the climax of the series, the wedding between the hero and heroine is thwarted by an evil wizard, who transforms the hero into a grandfather clock and the heroine into a goat. Of course, the registry official refuses to marry them, because goats and grandfather clocks cannot be legally married. But the best man, who is the French pulp villain Fantomas, pulls a gun, points it at the registry official and says, "If they love each other, what does it matter what they look like? And now marry them." Which the registry official does.

And if a goat and a grandfather clock can love each other and get married, then why should two men or two women be a problem?

BTW, Germany has had same sex marriages for several years now and the world did not stop turning and the sky did not fall. The approval rating for legalizing same sex marriage was over 60 percent and only a few conservative Catholics objected, including a high-profile politician who likened legalizing same sex marriage to legalizing devil worship. Which just goes to show what an idiot he is, because Germany has freedom of religion and so worshipping the devil is already legal, though sacrificing virgins isn't.
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