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LLB



Joined: 21 Mar 2007
Posts: 869
Location: Dallas, Texas

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 1:40 pm    Post subject: This just in... Reply with quote

My niece must texted me from her lunch in L.A. The California Supreme Court just legalized gay marriage in California. Here is the info, from an article in the San Jose Mercury News:
Quote:

A sharply divided California Supreme Court today legalized same-sex marriage, a historic ruling that will allow gay and lesbian couples across the state to wed as soon as next month and inflame the social, political and moral debate over gay unions.

In a 4-3 ruling written by Chief Justice Ronald George, the Supreme Court struck down California laws that restrict marriage to heterosexual couples, finding that it is unconstitutional to deprive gays and lesbians of the equal right to walk down the aisle with a marriage license in hand.

The California and Massachusetts Supreme Courts are now the only top courts in the country to uphold the right of gay couples to marry.

"The California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples," the court observed in a 121-page decision.

The reaction was immediate.

A spokesman for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom sent a simple e-mail to his press staff: "We won."

The ruling marks a watershed moment in the conflict over gay marriage, with the most influential state Supreme Court in the nation, dominated by Republican appointees, ruling in favor of gay rights advocates in the state with the largest gay population. California was considered a crucial battleground for civil rights groups, which have lost a number of major legal challenges in recent years in other states such as New York, Washington and New Jersey.

The decision is sure to spark a furor that could spill into the ballot box in November, when there is a strong chance voters will be weighing a ballot initiative to change the state Constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger previously announced his opposition to the ballot initiative, and reiterated his opposition today.

"I respect the court's decision and as governor, I will uphold its ruling," Schwarzenegger said within minutes of the ruling. "Also, as I have said in the past, I will not support an amendment to the constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling."


What do you think? We're all going to hell now, neutral, or about time (or anything in-between)?
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Gwen G



Joined: 24 Mar 2007
Posts: 381
Location: Brooklyn, New York

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it is a step in the right direction and I would say I am cautiously optimistic. The acceleration of real progress on this issue feels at the same time too slow and incredibly swift. Does that make sense? There was a time in the 80's and 90's when I really remember thinking that something like this could never happen in my lifetime. In some ways Change has happened faster than anyone could have imagined. I think some of it has to do with a new generation coming up and an older generation losing some of its power. As is natural. One of the reasons I was disappointed with the Clintons was his signing of "The Defense of Marriage Act" during his administration and until very recently they both continued to defend this. I just heard today on CNN that she now favors a "partial" change in the Act.
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Kelly B



Joined: 19 Apr 2007
Posts: 136

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with Gwen. About time. As Mildred Loving said about her own situation in the 60s, "We are not marrying the state. The law should allow a person to marry anyone he wants." Prohibiting gay marriage is a civil rights issue and saying that gay people can't get married violates the equal protection clause just as much as those charming bans on interracial marriages did.

I really just don't understand why people care so much. Nobody is going to force you to get gay married. The number of gay people getting married isn't going to have any effect on your marriage or the way you raise your kids, so why on earth does it matter to you? Your church isn't all of the sudden going to be forced to start performing gay marriages. The state isn't here to advance your religious views. Protect your right to hold them, sure, but not advance them. And calling it the "Defense of Marriage Act" is so ridiculous. You don't defend marriage by preventing people from being able to get married. Honestly.
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1365

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a bachelor I naturally feel free to pontificate about marriage. To me it is a really simple matter: keep church separate from state. A church is perfectly free to forbid its clergy to perform gay marriages, but as far as the civil institution of marriage all churches must BUTT OUT! This ruling is a sign of incremental progress in our society.
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Yulie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1149
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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
To me it is a really simple matter: keep church separate from state. A church is perfectly free to forbid its clergy to perform gay marriages, but as far as the civil institution of marriage all churches must BUTT OUT! This ruling is a sign of incremental progress in our society.

This may be naive, but I fail to see how anyone can argue that two people in a loving relationship wanting to commit to each other is a bad thing. And Mark is right - there's no problem with religious institutions not marrying gay people, but civil marriages should be for everyone.

(Unfortunately, if I wanted a civil wedding I wouldn't be able to marry in my own country, where it's either a religious wedding or marriage abroad. This sucks.)
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just call me the resident curdmudgeonly stick in the mud. Although I have no really strong objections to gays having some kind of official recognition of their couple-ness, I don't think those unions should be called marriages, an institution society has always tried to control in some way because it's so basic to society's existence and to the existence of nearly every member of that society as well. That society recognizes and strives to keep its basic element as a reproducer of itself shouldn't surprise. And, since the term civil rights has little meaning without society, I'm not completely certain that marriage can be viewed as a civil right.
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Yulie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1149
Location: Elsewhere

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
Although I have no really strong objections to gays having some kind of official recognition of their couple-ness, I don't think those unions should be called marriages, an institution society has always tried to control in some way because it's so basic to society's existence and to the existence of nearly every member of that society as well. That society recognizes and strives to keep its basic element as a reproducer of itself shouldn't surprise.

If I read this correctly, Dick, you're saying that marriage has been and should remain about reproduction. My problem with this line of thinking is that it doesn't even apply to all heterosexual couples. What about people who want to marry and are past child-bearing age? Those who cannot have children or choose not to? It just seems to me that there are many valid reasons for choosing to marry, regardless of what reasons for marriage where in the past. As society continues to change and evlove, I don't see why same-sex couples should not be given the same opportunity to formalize a lifetime commitment and consequently be afforded the same benefits and protections as married heterosexual couples. Not to mention that plenty of same-sex couples have children, too.
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Laura V



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 302
Location: UK

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:

That society recognizes and strives to keep its basic element as a reproducer of itself shouldn't surprise. And, since the term civil rights has little meaning without society, I'm not completely certain that marriage can be viewed as a civil right.


According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted on December 10, 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations:

Quote:
Article 16.

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

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KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a Marriage Amendment on the ballot in Florida for the November election. It's pretty bad and will affect heterosexual couples but it's there anyway. The proponents were able to collect enough signatures for it to make the ballot. The main reason it's on the ballot is to get out the Christian vote hoping while they are voting for it they will also remember to vote a straight Republican ticket. So this is politics pure and simple. Even if it passes, it most likely will be struck down by the Courts but that's ok. The goal is to turn out the troops on Election Day.

My son's college Government professor told his class that even if it passes it still has to recognize any marriage from any other state regardless of sexual orientation. So any gblt couple who chooses to marry can fly to a state that recognizes gay marriage such as California, marry, then return to Florida and their marriage must be recognized as valid.

The sad thing about this is that the Republican Party again is using the Christian voting block to vote for them even when most of the Republican economic platform harms them. They are willing to vote against their economic self-interest when gay marriage and abortion is on the ballot.
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Kelly B



Joined: 19 Apr 2007
Posts: 136

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
And, since the term civil rights has little meaning without society, I'm not completely certain that marriage can be viewed as a civil right.


But the right to marry has been deemed a civil right and was done so by the Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia. If marriage, as you say, is not a civil right, do you then think it is okay for states to say that interracial couples cannot get married, but can only have civil unions or some other terminology?
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rlynn



Joined: 27 Sep 2007
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, since the religious pov tends to gets tainted as homophobic, I'll step into the fray with a slightly different take.

I oppose gay marriage on religious grounds. I could get into the theological reasons why but suffice to say that I really do view marriage as a religious institution. For the government to be defining the terms and scope of marriage is comparable for me to the government defining the terms and scope of getting baptized or getting communion. Its simply an appalling prospect.

BUT... I do understand that marriage, unlike say baptisms, is intertwined with civic society. It has more social repercussions for couples (like taxes, death rights, inheritance, etc...) and because of that I'm torn. I absolutely believe gay couples should have all the same rights and protections as any other couple, I just wish there was a way to do it that I felt demonstrated respect for faith groups that view things differently.

So I'm conflicted over the CA decision. I'm happy for gay/lesbian couples. I'm happy they get to share in a basic human right. I'm also sad. I'm sad that the boundary between church and state feels a little more blurry. Because in my ideal world, the government would *only* grant civil unions and leave churches, synagogues, and temples to do with marriage as they chose. And yes I realize the difference between civil unions and marriage may just be semantic but its a distinction that matters to me.
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

to Yulie: I wrote that I have no objections to same-sex unions. But I don't think they are marriages in the most widely accepted meaning of the word. And I think the distinction ought to be maintained.

That some couples cannot reproduce does not invalidate the idea that marriage is society's means of perpetuating itself and the reason for that probably is because reproduction--the means of perpetuation--is assumed to follow it, for without that reproduction, society would cease to exist.
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

to Kelly B: As I wrote, I'm not certain that marriage is a civil right. It seems to me that marriage is a social institution permitting individuals to co-habit, reproduce, and so on--legally. Individuals have no actual need for it. Individuals can couple with one another any time they choose, can co-habit, can reproduce. The individuals might, if they are committed enough, reproduce, care for their children, and be productive members of society. They might as readily not. It's society that insists that all those activities need some kind of regulation and protection. But, if individuals don't need society's sanction, how can marriage be a civil right?

You might respond that it's a civil right because noone should be allowed to prevent two people from marrying. But aren't there already rights which keep that from happening very often? And if individuals have no need of the sanction, what's the point?
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Gwen G



Joined: 24 Mar 2007
Posts: 381
Location: Brooklyn, New York

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
Just call me the resident curdmudgeonly stick in the mud. Although I have no really strong objections to gays having some kind of official recognition of their couple-ness, I don't think those unions should be called marriages, an institution society has always tried to control in some way because it's so basic to society's existence and to the existence of nearly every member of that society as well..


Dick, if Gay people are given an alternative kind of status for their unions but not the full rights and status of Marriage - THAT will harm the institution of heterosexual marriage. In the countries where they have done this - many heterosexuals are now opting out of full marriage and entering into alternative civil unions instead. How does this preserve marriage? It weakens it. It seems to me, in order to protect tradtional marriage - Gays should be given the right to marry. Spain is one of the countries that has already done this.
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Gwen G



Joined: 24 Mar 2007
Posts: 381
Location: Brooklyn, New York

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
But, if individuals don't need society's sanction, how can marriage be a civil right?
You might respond that it's a civil right because noone should be allowed to prevent two people from marrying. But aren't there already rights which keep that from happening very often? And if individuals have no need of the sanction, what's the point?


Dick, It is a civil right because both civil unions and full fledged marriage come with legal rights, protections and benefits conferred by the state.
Civil Unions provide 350 of these rights while full marriage grants 1,400 of these rights. Thats quite a difference. Actually this whole discussion is fruitless because "The Defense of Marriage Act" is the law of the land and defines marriage as a union of a man and a woman. So, even in Massachutes or California - Marriage would actually afford no protection.

From About.com:


According to Lambda Legal Defense, more than 1,400 legal rights are conferred upon heterosexual married couples in the United States. By not being allowed to marry, gays and lesbians are denied these rights. Even in the state of Massachusetts, the only US state with legalized gay marriage, most of the benefits of marriage do not apply, because the Defense of Marriage Act states that the federal government only recognizes marriage as "a legal union of one man and one woman as husband and wife".
Here are some of the legal rights that married couples have and gays and lesbians are denied:

Joint parental rights of children
Joint adoption
Status as "next-of-kin" for hospital visits and medical decisions
Right to make a decision about the disposal of loved ones remains
Immigration and residency for partners from other countries
Crime victims recovery benefits
Domestic violence protection orders
Judicial protections and immunity
Automatic inheritance in the absence of a will
Public safety officers death benefits
Spousal veterans benefits
Social Security
Medicare
Joint filing of tax returns
Wrongful death benefits for surviving partner and children
Bereavement or sick leave to care for partner or children
Child support
Joint Insurance Plans
Tax credits including: Child tax credit, Hope and lifetime learning credits
Deferred Compensation for pension and IRAs
Estate and gift tax benefits
Welfare and public assistance
Joint housing for elderly
Credit protection
Medical care for survivors and dependents of certain veterans

These are just a few of the 1400 state and federal benefits that gays and lesbians are denied by not being able to marry.


Last edited by Gwen G on Sun May 18, 2008 11:55 am; edited 2 times in total
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