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Ivhon
08-04-2010, 05:05 PM
Linky (http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/08/04/california.same.sex.ruling/index.html?hpt=T1&iref=BN1)

Remains to see how activist appeals courts will rule.

Sinistrum
08-04-2010, 06:29 PM
Wow that was an extremely far reaching opinion. It will probably come back to bite that judge in the ass. I could see a ruling of unconstitutionality based upon the state constitution being upheld, but this is the federal one, which means that this ruling impacts all states and the federal government, not just Cali. I could see the 9th Circuit upholding this, but definitely not the SCOTUS.

Frenzy
08-04-2010, 07:57 PM
I could see the 9th Circuit upholding this, but definitely not the SCOTUS.
Why not?

Sinistrum
08-04-2010, 08:02 PM
Just based upon the composition of the court and those members uncomfortableness with radical changes in equal protection and due process clause law.

Ivhon
08-04-2010, 08:48 PM
Why not?

Because SCOTUS is extremely politicized and the 5-4 right wing majority will overturn this particular ruling if it makes it that far.

Unless one of them dies, in which case it would get really really interesting.

GonzoTheGreat
08-05-2010, 05:15 AM
Just based upon the composition of the court and those members uncomfortableness with radical changes in equal protection and due process clause law.So you think they won't uphold it, even though it might be Constitutional, but instead will strike it down out of bigotry and right wing attitude. I think you're probably right in this. Yet another case where I dislike agreeing with you.

Davian93
08-05-2010, 08:21 AM
Because SCOTUS is extremely politicized and the 5-4 right wing majority will overturn this particular ruling if it makes it that far.

Unless one of them dies, in which case it would get really really interesting.

Sadly Scalia is the only obvious possibility on the Right side of the court (older, probable health issues from being out of shape) but I like (well, respect) him too much to wish that on him. I dont agree with most of the man's opinions but he is a brilliant legal mind.

I think Ginsburg is up next for retirement (despite her recent denial of that happening)...and that just keeps the status quo/moves the Court further to the Right when Obama chickens out again and nominates yet another moderate. Obama has had 2 nominees now and he's pushed the court to the Right both times.

Davian93
08-05-2010, 08:22 AM
Just based upon the composition of the court and those members uncomfortableness with radical changes in equal protection and due process clause law.

And they will end up being on the wrong side of history...much like Plessy v. Ferguson


FWIW, I agree completely with your opinion on what will happen when it hits SCOTUS.

Ivhon
08-05-2010, 08:51 AM
Sadly Scalia is the only obvious possibility on the Right side of the court (older, probable health issues from being out of shape) but I like (well, respect) him too much to wish that on him. I dont agree with most of the man's opinions but he is a brilliant legal mind.

I think Ginsburg is up next for retirement (despite her recent denial of that happening)...and that just keeps the status quo/moves the Court further to the Right when Obama chickens out again and nominates yet another moderate. Obama has had 2 nominees now and he's pushed the court to the Right both times.

Not wishing death on Scalia. Didn't wish death on Bush (plead the 5th on Cheney).

Yeah...absolutely amazing how the most liberal and socialistic president in US history keeps pushing the court to the right and pursuing such centrist agendae.

Davian93
08-05-2010, 09:00 AM
Not wishing death on Scalia. Didn't wish death on Bush (plead the 5th on Cheney).

Yeah...absolutely amazing how the most liberal and socialistic president in US history keeps pushing the court to the right and pursuing such centrist agendae.

Yeah, pretty funny when Stevens (nominated by a Republican and considered center right at the time) was the Liberal Icon of the Court when he retired. It just shows how far to the Right we've come as a country in the last 40 years.

Sei'taer
08-05-2010, 09:09 AM
This will probably be very unpopular, and I haven't really looked at the opinion other than a quick scan yet, but here goes.

I think that if the people of CA vote on something and it passes, then a judge comes and changes the ruling based on what appears to be shady grounds, then you should call him an activist judge. He changed a law duly passed by the people of CA...and passed by a huge margin.

If CA wants to change it, then they need to educate people about the proposed law on gay marriage, put it back on the agenda and pass it the correct way. I hear people scream and screech about the SCOTUS being activist, yet on this, you are silent about the activism of the judge. I don't agree at all with the decisions the citizens of CA made in regards to gay marriage, but I don't agree with the judges decision to go against the will of the people, basically telling them they are too fucking stupid to make a decision on this and it'll be fixed for them. That just really pisses me off, just like activism in the SCOTUS really pisses me off. I guess since it went the way you wanted it to then it's not activism though. It went the way I believe, but I stil call foul and call it activism because it is working against the will of the people. It shouldn't have happened this way.

Ivhon
08-05-2010, 09:46 AM
It passed by a fairly narrow margin - 52%-48% - not huge.

As I said on FB, my use of the term "Activist Judge" is to counter the BS talking point from the right that all liberal judges are activist and no conservative judge is. The Roberts is the most activist court in history going by the amount of precedent they are overturning. "Activist Judge" - as you say - is simply someone who rules against your stance.

I happen to think that denying rights to gay people is flat out discriminatory and unconstitutional and therefore the courts are OBLIGATED to overturn the "will of the people" - that is the purpose of the high courts. "The will of the people" does not necessarily = constitutional. "The will of the people" in many parts of the country would support segregation (maybe not quite at the state level anymore, but certainly certain counties and municipalities), if not slavery - I don't think you would consider that constitutional.

Ishara
08-05-2010, 10:00 AM
I feel like I'm at a tennis match. At first I agreed with Sei (that I agree with the ruling, but the legality of it all...), but I think Ivhon makes an excellent point. the will of the people is exactly why we have government (which is a point I think Sei will hate) - the people, collectively, are generally petty and stupid. Prop 8 was WRONG, and while I can't speak to whether it was unconstitutional or not, I can't be sad that this changes it back. Hypocritical, I know.

Davian93
08-05-2010, 11:31 AM
I think that if the people of CA vote on something and it passes, then a judge comes and changes the ruling based on what appears to be shady grounds, then you should call him an activist judge. He changed a law duly passed by the people of CA...and passed by a huge margin.

Without "judicial activism", segregation would still be legal. The will of the people is moot when it unjustly affects the rights of a minority group.

All the arguments used against Gay Marriage are the same used against Segegration, Interracial marriage, etc. It was BS then and its BS now.

Sei'taer
08-05-2010, 11:42 AM
I feel like I'm at a tennis match. At first I agreed with Sei (that I agree with the ruling, but the legality of it all...), but I think Ivhon makes an excellent point. the will of the people is exactly why we have government (which is a point I think Sei will hate) - the people, collectively, are generally petty and stupid. Prop 8 was WRONG, and while I can't speak to whether it was unconstitutional or not, I can't be sad that this changes it back. Hypocritical, I know.

I'm hypocritical too then. I don't think that the courts should overrule. The court should say that it is unconstitutional and then let the congress make the law. That's their job, it's not the job of the courts.

I feel bad for the gay community. I think they deserve the same rights as everyone else and marriage is something they deserve, regardless of who they marry. I heard a comedian last night that made a great point. Back during the segregation period, people were told you couldn't marry outside of your group. Mixed marriages were bad, marry in you group. Now we're telling people who want to marry in their group to marry...who exactly? He was much funnier about it than I am, but it was a good point.

ETA: I just found a reference to the decision where the judge is deciding if he should suspend his order while appeals are being made.

And just for funzies, I found this:

The ruling puts Judge Walker at the forefront of the gay marriage debate and marks the latest in a long line of high-profile legal decisions for the longtime federal judge.

He was appointed by Ronald Reagan, but his nomination was held up for two years in part because of opposition from gay rights activists. As a lawyer, he helped the U.S. Olympic Committee sue a gay ex-Olympian who had created an athletic competition called the Gay Olympics.

Walker is a Republican. He said he joined the party while at Stanford University during the Vietnam War protests, and spent two years clerking for a judge appointed by Richard Nixon.

I guess I've changed my mind...he was right after all. I mean, since he's a republican and all I have to agree with him, right?

GonzoTheGreat
08-05-2010, 12:00 PM
I'm hypocritical too then. I don't think that the courts should overrule. The court should say that it is unconstitutional and then let the congress make the law. That's their job, it's not the job of the courts.Suppose there is a state law against letting women vote (there undoubtedly was one in one of the US states in the beginning of the previous century). Suppose further that the Constitution is changed, so that women can legally vote. Suppose then that some officials decide to use that state law to prevent women from voting. Suppose this is challenged in court, and the court rules that it is unconstitutional. Should all women in that state then wait with voting until the (male) voters have taken this law off the book?

In the California case: if the prohibition against gay marriage is illegal, then, until and unless a not illegal prohibition is made into law, gay marriage should not be illegal.

Davian93
08-05-2010, 12:13 PM
Suppose there is a state law against letting women vote (there undoubtedly was one in one of the US states in the beginning of the previous century). Suppose further that the Constitution is changed, so that women can legally vote. Suppose then that some officials decide to use that state law to prevent women from voting. Suppose this is challenged in court, and the court rules that it is unconstitutional. Should all women in that state then wait with voting until the (male) voters have taken this law off the book?

In the California case: if the prohibition against gay marriage is illegal, then, until and unless a not illegal prohibition is made into law, gay marriage should not be illegal.


Vote on what exactly? Do you mean being able to vote on what type of sandwich they're gonna make me or is it more like what type of dinner they're making in the kitchen and what type of socks they can wear in lieu of being barefoot?

~confused~

GonzoTheGreat
08-05-2010, 12:27 PM
For starters: vote on who would be president, on which Senators and Representatives would be send to Washington, and who should be the local sheriff.

My question is pretty simple, really: if there happened to be a law on the book taking away the vote from women, could an activist judge then overturn that law and let the women vote anyway, or is all he would be allowed to do refer the matter back to the legislature?
I'm hypocritical too then. I don't think that the courts should overrule. The court should say that it is unconstitutional and then let the congress make the law. That's their job, it's not the job of the courts.In this case: the judge has ruled that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, thus not valid.
Does that mean that Proposition 8 remains the law of the land until the voters have voted in another law (which may be just as unconstititional)?
Or should P8 now be scrapped, and gay marriage be considered legal once again?

Those are the options. If a law is ruled unconstitutional, does that ruling have any repercussions?

Sinistrum
08-05-2010, 01:46 PM
Here's the thing though that is the primary judicial problem with the ruling. It expands the force of the equal protection clause far beyond what current precedent allows. Furthermore, in doing so as well as the more traditional due process clause justification for civil rights rulings such as this, I think it damages the strength of the first amendment free exercise of religion guarantees. Judges really aren't allowed to gut one constitutional right in order to bolster another. They kind of have to honor them all.

As much as I don't like Obama, I think he is dead on with this issue. Just reduce the government involvement in marriage to civil unions and let individuals and religions sort out amongst themselves who is married and who is not.

reTaardad
08-05-2010, 02:38 PM
I think that if the people of CA vote on something and it passes, then a judge comes and changes the ruling based on what appears to be shady grounds, then you should call him an activist judge. He changed a law duly passed by the people of CA...and passed by a huge margin.

I don't understand this opinion. The law was ruled unconstitutional because it violated the Constitution, not for political reasons despite the probability of those existing. Prop 8 directly violated the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment and had to be struck down. For example, a law mandating Christianity as the national religion would be outrageously popular in America (especially the South), but it would be in direct violation of the 1st Amendment, so it's illegal. The judge did exactly what he was appointed to do.

Support gay marriage or not, the issue affects nobody except homosexuals. People that oppose gay marriage have absolutely no rational basis to support their opinion, it will in no way affect them at all.

Sinistrum
08-05-2010, 02:53 PM
Prop 8 directly violated the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment and had to be struck down. For example, a law mandating Christianity as the national religion would be outrageously popular in America (especially the South), but it would be in direct violation of the 1st Amendment, so it's illegal. The judge did exactly what he was appointed to do.

Support gay marriage or not, the issue affects nobody except homosexuals. People that oppose gay marriage have absolutely no rational basis to support their opinion, it will in no way affect them at all.

Except government mandating what the definition of marriage is directly violates the free exercise clause too and that does directly impact straight people. As I said before, you cannot remedy one constitutional violation by engaging in another.

Ishara
08-05-2010, 03:06 PM
Okay, I may be missing something here, but why can't a marriage be a civil union? Are you using the word marriage to define the difference between a religious union and a civil union?

Cause I'm getting married in a civil ceremony, and I'll still be married, not ... I don't know.. unionized?

Marriage isn't a term that should be applied exclusively to religious unions, imo. It sematicizes the issue. Yes, Ijust made up that word.

So, then, how does freedom to marry whoever you want impinge on freedom of religion?

Sinistrum
08-05-2010, 03:36 PM
Because in a lot of religions, marriage is more than just a legally binding agreement that confers certain reciprocal rights between two people. The term marriage, in of itself, has religious significance outside of the legal consequences of it. For example, it is one of the Catholic sacriments. When the government starts mucking around with the definition of said term, it therefore is mucking around with the definition of a religious sacriment, thus violating a religious person's right to define that religious practice how they choose.

This problem didn't just start with the gay marriage issue though. It was religion itself that created it by insisting that the legal rights that go alone with what we traditionally consider "marriage" went hand in hand with the religious aspects of it. However, this judge's solution to gay marriage just ends up compounding the problem, not making it better.

Kimon
08-05-2010, 04:32 PM
Because in a lot of religions, marriage is more than just a legally binding agreement that confers certain reciprocal rights between two people. The term marriage, in of itself, has religious significance outside of the legal consequences of it. For example, it is one of the Catholic sacriments. When the government starts mucking around with the definition of said term, it therefore is mucking around with the definition of a religious sacriment, thus violating a religious person's right to define that religious practice how they choose.

This problem didn't just start with the gay marriage issue though. It was religion itself that created it by insisting that the legal rights that go alone with what we traditionally consider "marriage" went hand in hand with the religious aspects of it. However, this judge's solution to gay marriage just ends up compounding the problem, not making it better.

Our government, however, has already applied its hand in defining parameters regarding marriage, and in ways that have restricted religious practises involving marriage. The obvious example of this is Mormon polygamy. Along with the restriction on how many women (or men) someone is allowed to marry, there is, of course, also the issue of age, as restrictions have been placed upon the age at which one can legally marry. Albeit in this latter case, states can place different marriage-threshold ages, whereas Utah cannot independently decide that it alone should have the right to issue polygamous marriage licenses.

One might ask however, if these examples should be used as precedents for the government's right to restrict and define marriage, and thus to assert a right to restrict marriage to mixed gender only, or if these should be seen as precedents of government seeking to restrict the right of religions (a Muslim man after all cannot claim a religious precendent so as to circumvent age restrictions and marry a 9 year old, nor can Mormons with polygamy) from issuing, and imposing upon all of us, their own quirky ideas of what marriage should be.

Churches need not recognize these marriages, but government must hold itself to a higher standard than does the church.

Sei'taer
08-05-2010, 04:44 PM
Okay, I may be missing something here, but why can't a marriage be a civil union? Are you using the word marriage to define the difference between a religious union and a civil union?

Cause I'm getting married in a civil ceremony, and I'll still be married, not ... I don't know.. unionized?

Marriage isn't a term that should be applied exclusively to religious unions, imo. It sematicizes the issue. Yes, Ijust made up that word.

So, then, how does freedom to marry whoever you want impinge on freedom of religion?

In answer to your question, here's a pretty good explanation.



A Short History

Marriage has a long history in the religious world. It has become so ingrained in the social fabric of the people of the nation, and indeed of the world, that the benefits of marriage to society at large became apparent. Because this religious rite had so many secular benefits, it became recognized by the secular world, and became subject to governmental definition and regulation.

In the religious world, marriage is almost exclusively the committed union between a single man and a single woman. Generally, the union is blessed or consecrated by a representative of the religion. An example is the presiding priest in a wedding ceremony. Marriage is found in all societies and religions, including the major religions of the West like Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as those of the East like Buddhism and Hinduism.

In modern Christianity, marriage, and the love and sex that accompanies it, is seen as a blessing from God. Children are a prime goal of marriage, and continued marriage is of importance to the continuation of the faith as children are raised by devout parents.

Islam sees marriage as so important that it does not recognize the need for clerics to be celibate as in some Christian sects, such as Catholicism. The purpose of marriage in Islam is to provide company, to encourage love, to procreate, and to live in peace under the commands of Allah.

As one final example, Hindu marriage is also found in sacred texts. It is one of the sixteen essential rituals of a person's life. Married people have responsibilities to their parents, children, to guests, the community, and to the dead. Marriage is seen as a sacred duty.

Civil Marriage

With so many disparate religions seeing marriage as a crucial part of the religious life of their adherents, with so many benefits, it was inevitable that government would also see these same benefits. In the end, the goal of good government is maintaining order and providing for its members. Secular marriage is seen in this light.

The benefits of marriage to society, apart from any religious concern or duty, include the following:

Procreation
Known, or at least presumed, paternity
Child and spousal support
Stability in family life
Survivor's rights

Not all of these require marriage. There is no secular need for marriage to have procreation, for example. But without marriage, paternity could be difficult to discern, making child support difficult to manage. Note that this list is not exhaustive, and the list shows only the benefits of marriage to society, not the benefits of marriage to the individual. The benefits the individual feels can be quite subjective.

These two segments of society, religion and government, have common reasons for encouraging marriage. This creates two kinds of marriage: secular and religious. Generally speaking, in the United States, when one is married in a religious setting, the civil marriage also begins. A church is not required, however, for civil marriage. The stereotypical visit to a justice of the peace, marriage license in hand, joins two people in civil marriage. The ability to be both religiously and civilly married at the same time is a convenience.

One other form of marriage has existed and continues to exist in some states. Common law marriage recognizes a de facto state of marriage when there has been no actual ceremony in a religious or civil setting. Common law marriage is marriage for all civil purposes, but it has a "waiting period." In a common law marriage, a couple is assumed to be married if they have lived together for a certain period of time. The concept of common law marriage is mostly historical - most states no longer recognize new common law marriages, and the number of those that do is dwindling.

The Controversy

Married couples enjoy many secular privileges and benefits. These privileges and benefits are not always exclusively available to married couples, but some are. For those for whom marriage is not an option, these privileges and benefits might be unobtainable. This is of particular concern to homosexual couples. Same-sex couples can feel the same level of personal commitment that traditional couples feel. It is this sense of commitment, of love, that leads a couple to decide to marry. Because society has long seen homosexual relations as abnormal, there has never been a way for these couples to enjoy the benefits of marriage. As attitudes about homosexuality have changed, homosexuals have become more bold in their assertion of their rights. Since traditional couples can marry, the argument is that homosexual couples should also be able to marry.

Homosexual advocates seek not to redefine what marriage is for religion. Instead, they seek to modify civil marriage to include them. There is resistance to this from many religious groups who see marriage as based on sacred practice, and for government to change its definition of marriage is to reduce the sacred value of marriage. Advocates counter that civil marriage is available to many people that any one particular religion would not permit gay marriage, in this case, is just another of those groups.

Opponents also see marriage having a shaky foundation in its current state, with the loosening of social morals chipping away at marriage bit by bit. They see promiscuity as damaging to children, child support, and to spousal support. They see divorce as a major problem with marriage. The addition of gay marriage to the mix would weaken it even further, perhaps to the point of collapse. Advocates say that marriage would be strengthened by the committed relationships of the gay couples. Problems with child support, spousal support, and divorce would be no worse with gay couples than with traditional couples.

Vermont and Comity

In 1999, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that homosexuals as a class were being discriminated against by their inability to marry. Under the Vermont Constitution, such discrimination was not permitted. The Court directed the state legislature to create an institution with all the same rights and privileges of marriage. Civil union was born. The Vermont legislature made a new institution that resembled marriage in all ways except in name. For all intents and purposes, when a couple joined in civil union is in Vermont, they are to be treated as though married. Marriage, however, is still reserved for traditional couples only.

The national fear at the time was that other courts would force other states to recognize the joined couples from Vermont in some way. No other state had a civil union law, so the couples seemed limited in where they could bring their civil unions with them. Under the Comity Clause of the Constitution, the public acts of one state must be recognized by other states. However, this clause has been allowed its own limitations by the courts. Significantly, a couple that cannot be married in a state cannot go to another state, get married there, and come back to continue in marriage. For example, if a state has a minimum age of 16 to be married in the state, a pair of 15-year-olds cannot travel to another state that allows them to be married, get married, and return married. This principle has long been established in U.S. law.

Regardless, and because most marriage restrictions that exist today are based on age (older restrictions, based on race for example, have been ruled unconstitutional), states feared courts would require them to recognize civil unions in some way. The federal Defense of Marriage Act attempted to remove this fear by allowing any state to ignore any same-sex union that was legal in another state.

Massachusetts and Amendment

In 2004, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court made a ruling similar to that of the 1999 Vermont Supreme Court. However, the Massachusetts court said that civil union was not enough the legislature had to allow for marriage. It ruled that even if marriage and some other tailored institution, like civil union, were exactly the same, the difference would create a separate-but-equal situation, and experience has shown that separate is inherently unequal. With this ruling coming from a relatively large state, national debate once again opened up.

Opponents called for a constitutional amendment specifically defining that marriage is a union of a man and a woman. Some versions of the amendment allowed states to create separate institutions for same-sex couples, and some prohibited them specifically.

This version of the amendment was introduced during the 108th Congress in the Senate as SJ 16 and in the House as HJ 56:

Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the Constitution of any State, nor State or Federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.

Conclusion

As of this writing, the issue remains unresolved.

In early 2004, mayors in California and New York were performing or authorizing the performance of same-sex marriages, in defiance of state law. The legality of these marriages is unknown. In Massachusetts, the legislature tried in vain to craft a constitutional amendment to reverse the decision of the Supreme Judicial Court; even if one had been created, the amendment process in Massachusetts would have required a several-year process to complete before the Court could be overruled.

In 2008, the California Supreme Court overturned a state ban on same-sex marriages, and in June, it directed that such marriages must be allowed to proceed. In November, however, the voters of California approved a constitutional amendment that defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. The amendment took effect as soon as the results were certified, but the status of marriages performed between June and November is unresolved. Many in California, including the governor, have called for the state Supreme Court to overturn the amendment, but there is question of the legality of such an action. There is also question of whether a constitutional amendment can take away a right that had been granted, at least for those married before the amendment was enacted.

What I don't get, is why someone who has been turned away by religion, unlike a lot of us who turned away from religion, wants to impose themselves into a religion. I'm the kind of person that if you don't want me around, then I don't worry with it. Unless I feel like being a dick when I have to be around you and making you acknowledge me and talk to me and shake my hand and all the fun stuff that comes with being an inspector and having people have to put up with me. (y'know, sometimes I look at the things I do and think I'm a little bit of an ass!)

Either way the argument comes out, I think this judge was wrong in his opinion...in my opinion.

Davian93
08-05-2010, 05:34 PM
Vermont and Comity

In 1999, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that homosexuals as a class were being discriminated against by their inability to marry. Under the Vermont Constitution, such discrimination was not permitted. The Court directed the state legislature to create an institution with all the same rights and privileges of marriage. Civil union was born. The Vermont legislature made a new institution that resembled marriage in all ways except in name. For all intents and purposes, when a couple joined in civil union is in Vermont, they are to be treated as though married. Marriage, however, is still reserved for traditional couples only.

The national fear at the time was that other courts would force other states to recognize the joined couples from Vermont in some way. No other state had a civil union law, so the couples seemed limited in where they could bring their civil unions with them. Under the Comity Clause of the Constitution, the public acts of one state must be recognized by other states. However, this clause has been allowed its own limitations by the courts. Significantly, a couple that cannot be married in a state cannot go to another state, get married there, and come back to continue in marriage. For example, if a state has a minimum age of 16 to be married in the state, a pair of 15-year-olds cannot travel to another state that allows them to be married, get married, and return married. This principle has long been established in U.S. law.

Regardless, and because most marriage restrictions that exist today are based on age (older restrictions, based on race for example, have been ruled unconstitutional), states feared courts would require them to recognize civil unions in some way. The federal Defense of Marriage Act attempted to remove this fear by allowing any state to ignore any same-sex union that was legal in another state.

I'll be honest with you. Since Gay Marriage became legal last year, the entire state has been plunged into anarchy. It was the worst decision we ever made.


Oh wait, nothing at all changed. The only difference is that the two lesbians at my work who were already in long-term relationships and wore rings on their ring fingers went out and got married to their partners. They now have that scary piece of paper issued by the state and they now are able to give their partners the same rights as any other married couple as well have them on their healthcare plans.

nameless
08-05-2010, 08:01 PM
This will probably be very unpopular, and I haven't really looked at the opinion other than a quick scan yet, but here goes.

I think that if the people of CA vote on something and it passes, then a judge comes and changes the ruling based on what appears to be shady grounds, then you should call him an activist judge. He changed a law duly passed by the people of CA...and passed by a huge margin.

I'd be interested to know where you heard prop 8 passed by a huge margin... as someone else has already posted, the reality was a very narrow margin, roughly 52% to 48%.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proposition_8#Results

Are news sources outside CA representing this differently?

Sei'taer
08-05-2010, 10:26 PM
I'd be interested to know where you heard prop 8 passed by a huge margin... as someone else has already posted, the reality was a very narrow margin, roughly 52% to 48%.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proposition_8#Results

Are news sources outside CA representing this differently?

That was my fault. Meant to clear it up earlier. I was reading about the missouri vote on the health care stuff while I was replying to the post and got the numbers screwed up.

bowlwoman
08-06-2010, 01:03 AM
That was my fault. Meant to clear it up earlier. I was reading about the missouri vote on the health care stuff while I was replying to the post and got the numbers screwed up.

Yeah the Prop C stuff is insane. It passed 81% here in Stoddard County, but I'm not sure what it was in the state overall.

My brother was in a local county race for judge, and even though he didn't win, he got 41% of the vote, which is outstanding for a first-time, unknown candidate running against a sitting judge in his own political party. The judge is running unopposed in November, though, but next time might be a different story.

This primary election was the first time in a LLLLOOOONNNGGGG time (and possibly ever) that the majority of primary votes cast in Missouri were Republican. Granted, it wasn't by a huge margin, but the state's ALWAYS had more overall Democratic votes cast.

I find it interesting just how much the tide is turning here politically. I grew up here in SEMO, lived in the Bay Area for three years, and now I'm in the Austin metro area (but I live in Williamson County which swings heavily Republican). I've been around politics all my life, and I've lived in different regions with their own political flair, so I feel fairly educated on how things work on the political front. But the times, they are a'changin'.

I am personally glad that Prop 8 got overturned in California, mainly because I don't like the idea of legislating bigotry. And, I also agree with whomever said that civil rights, women's sufferage, etc. would have never happened in the court of public opinion. But then again, we didn't have cable news spewing 24/7 (Fox, CNN, MSNBC are all culpable) or the Interwebz around to constantly shape, reinforce, or belittle a person's political thought process fifty to a hundred years ago. Who knows how those fights would have been different if the information, suppositions, debates, and commentaries had been disseminated immediately like they are today.

GonzoTheGreat
08-06-2010, 05:34 AM
Here's the thing though that is the primary judicial problem with the ruling. It expands the force of the equal protection clause far beyond what current precedent allows. Furthermore, in doing so as well as the more traditional due process clause justification for civil rights rulings such as this, I think it damages the strength of the first amendment free exercise of religion guarantees.How so?
Some religions are opposed to gay marriage. Other religions are in favor of it. This judge did what the government is supposed to do: he ignored all religious arguments, and looked at secular reasons (the law, in this case) only.

Should he have asked an orthodox rabbi, a Roman Catholic priest, and an Iranian Ayatollah how the US Constitution was supposed to be interpreted, and if so, why that specific combo and not a trio that would have given a different verdict?
By ignoring religion in this case he did what he had to do.

I just plain do not see why you believe that he should have taken religious objections into account. On what law do you base that view?

Sinistrum
08-06-2010, 10:25 AM
Some religions are opposed to gay marriage. Other religions are in favor of it. This judge did what the government is supposed to do: he ignored all religious arguments, and looked at secular reasons (the law, in this case) only.

I don't see how it is possible that he did this Gonzo. The very nature of marriage, as an inherently religious practice, prevents him from making any ruling that is not influenced by religious belief. He simply choose to side with those religions and spiritual beliefs that allow gay marriage to the detriment of those who don't.

Should he have asked an orthodox rabbi, a Roman Catholic priest, and an Iranian Ayatollah how the US Constitution was supposed to be interpreted, and if so, why that specific combo and not a trio that would have given a different verdict?

No, what he should have done is said that government has no business defining what marriage is at all, and thereby ruled Prop. 8 unconstitutional.

I just plain do not see why you believe that he should have taken religious objections into account. On what law do you base that view?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Establishment_Clause_of_the_First_Amendment

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Exercise_Clause_of_the_First_Amendment

GonzoTheGreat
08-06-2010, 10:58 AM
I don't see how it is possible that he did this Gonzo. The very nature of marriage, as an inherently religious practice, prevents him from making any ruling that is not influenced by religious belief.Perhaps we should consult a qualified lawyer on this. As far as I am aware, marriage, as far as the state is concerned, is a matter regulated by law. And, as far as I know, those laws do not contain any explicitly religious tests at all.

At least, they don't in the USA. In Israel, for instance, there is no secular marriage. There it would be correct to say that marriage is a matter for religions primarily, and if they had separation of church (all right, synagogue) and state, then the law would not bother with recognising marriage at all.

But from what I know of it, in both my country and yours, the law on marriage does not define it as an inherently religious practice.


No, what he should have done is said that government has no business defining what marriage is at all, and thereby ruled Prop. 8 unconstitutional.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Establishment_Clause_of_the_First_Amendment

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Exercise_Clause_of_the_First_AmendmentI wonder: why didn't this ever get any of those Mormon bigamists off the hook?
All they would have needed to do was say that the state had no right to decide what was and wasn't marriage, that according to their religion they were married to a number of women, and the US government would have had to accept that argument.

Assuming, of course, that your interpretation that in the case of marriage church law trumps state law and federal law is correct. If it isn't, if the secular laws are used to settle this after all, then the whole "the Roman Catholic Church is the ultimate arbiter on marriage" argument falls by the wayside.

Edited to add:
Sinistrum, what your argument seems to boil down to is that because of the First Amendment, Terez could decide on religious grounds who Frenzy was or wasn't allowed to marry. The only reason why Terez apparently does not have this legal authority is that she doesn't have a religion. As soon as she remedies this deficiency, though, she can start laying down the law on others.
Assuming, of course, that the argument of "the religion of one person can override the marriage wishes of others" holds water.

Kimon
08-06-2010, 11:43 AM
No, what he should have done is said that government has no business defining what marriage is at all, and thereby ruled Prop. 8 unconstitutional.



Unless you are of the opinion that laws involving the banning of polygamy and laws defining marriagable age also are both unconstitutional, then this statement is obviously invalid. That leaves however the quandary that if the federal government can define marriage as regards these matters, and make such a definition clearly upon moral grounds, why should not the government be allowed to do the same in this circumstance and issue a ban on gay marriage? The problem here is of course that marriage comes with certain governmental incentives, so this is not just an issue of morality, but also a question of civil liberties, and moreover, of the government infringing upon the civil liberties of certain citizens on the basis of religious ideas concerning morality. The government has a justifiable reason in becoming involved in defining marriage in such a way as to safeguard children against sexual exploitation, but who, pray tell, is the government protecting by banning gay marriage?

Ivhon
08-06-2010, 12:11 PM
Unless you are of the opinion that laws involving the banning of polygamy and laws defining marriagable age also are both unconstitutional, then this statement is obviously invalid. That leaves however the quandary that if the federal government can define marriage as regards these matters, and make such a definition clearly upon moral grounds, why should not the government be allowed to do the same in this circumstance and issue a ban on gay marriage? The problem here is of course that marriage comes with certain governmental incentives, so this is not just an issue of morality, but also a question of civil liberties, and moreover, of the government infringing upon the civil liberties of certain citizens on the basis of religious ideas concerning morality. The government has a justifiable reason in becoming involved in defining marriage in such a way as to safeguard children against sexual exploitation, but who, pray tell, is the government protecting by banning gay marriage?

The CHILDREN!!! Everybody knows gay marriage hurts children. Thats why it needs to be banned...to protect the future of this great country!

Lord knows I hate to think what it would be like to raise MY kids in an America where gays could get married. Not like parenting isnt hard enough without having to worry about THAT.

Oh...and make sure you get a good set of Michelin's, too....for the children.

Davian93
08-06-2010, 12:31 PM
The CHILDREN!!! Everybody knows gay marriage hurts children. Thats why it needs to be banned...to protect the future of this great country!

I'm more worried about the turtles myself.

http://media.photobucket.com/image/gay%20marriage%20formula/nordolio/GayMarriageFormula.jpg

Sinistrum
08-06-2010, 12:32 PM
I wonder: why didn't this ever get any of those Mormon bigamists off the hook?

Unless you are of the opinion that laws involving the banning of polygamy and laws defining marriagable age also are both unconstitutional, then this statement is obviously invalid.

Um this completely ignores the fact that the 1st amendment is not as far reaching as your argument seems to imply and that it trumps everything else. It does not. There are plenty of restrictions on religion that are constitutionally permissible that have nothing to do with either equal protection or due process. The ban on human and animal sacrifice comes to mind. ;) So yeah, restrictions on the religious practice of marriage with regards to age of consent could easily be upheld under my interpretation. Bigamy too, though I'm not sure precisely why it is such a big deal to outlaw that as long as consenting adults are involved.


But from what I know of it, in both my country and yours, the law on marriage does not define it as an inherently religious practice.

Of course they don't. Why would a law incorporate into itself something that would make it inherently invalid under another law? But just because the law doesn't recognize the inherent religious nature of marriage doesn't mean that its a non-religious practice. Unless of course you are arguing that what a law says is the final arbiter of what is true, in which case I'm surprised to see you against Prop. 8. After all, it says that gay marriage is harmful.

Sinistrum, what your argument seems to boil down to is that because of the First Amendment, Terez could decide on religious grounds who Frenzy was or wasn't allowed to marry. The only reason why Terez apparently does not have this legal authority is that she doesn't have a religion. As soon as she remedies this deficiency, though, she can start laying down the law on others.
Assuming, of course, that the argument of "the religion of one person can override the marriage wishes of others" holds water.

Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong WRONG! What I'm arguing for is a legal framework in which Terez can decide for HERSELF whether she considers Frenzy married. However, without a law defining what marriage is, Terez's opinion has absolutely ZERO legally binding power to enforce that opinion. So if Terez decides Frenzy isn't married, Frenzy's response is "I consider myself married, so who cares what Terez thinks, she can go fuck herself because there is nothing she can do to "unmarry" me."

GonzoTheGreat
08-06-2010, 01:10 PM
And the point which I think is important is that as far as US (or Dutch, for that matter) law is concerned, religious opinions on who is and isn't married do not matter. Religious people are indeed free to have opinions on that issue, but their opinions do not have any legal relevance.

Marriage, as we are discussing it here, is a legal issue. That means that the secular laws of the country (or countries) are important, not the religious rules of the various people living wherever.
But just because the law doesn't recognize the inherent religious nature of marriage doesn't mean that its a non-religious practice. Unless of course you are arguing that what a law says is the final arbiter of what is true, in which case I'm surprised to see you against Prop. 8. After all, it says that gay marriage is harmful.What I am arguing is that atheist people can legally marry. That would not be possible if it were indeed a religious matter, as you say it is. In Israel, for instance, if two people either won't or can't have some type of religious marriage, and yet they do want to marry each other, they have to go abroad for it. Cyprus is a very often used marriage location for Israeli couples, specifically for this reason: in that country (Israel) marriage is indeed a religious matter, and if no religion is willing to marry you, then you can't legally marry there.

The USA, as far as I know, is different. Even if two people are such stringent atheists that they are not willing to compromise their ideals by pretending to subscribe to any religion at all, they can still legally marry. And why is that? Because, in direct contrast to what you claim, legally, marriage is not a religious matter.
Baptism is, and you can't get a legally valid but secular baptism in the USA. Well, as far as I know. There may be an exception to this example in Texas or something, for all I know. I'm gambling there isn't, if there is I will have to think up something else.

So we have the following three things:
-Baptism. This is a purely religious matter, and not even for all religions.
-Marriage. This is both a secular matter, handled according to actual laws, and a religious matter for most (there's bound to be an exception even to this) religions, with widely varying rules.
-Military draft. While there may be ways to get out of this based on religion, it is in the ground a purely secular thing. There are no religions that would say someone is drafted when the government has no clue that is the case, and there are no religions that would deny the draft (though they may object to it) when the government uses it.

Frankly, I do not see why you believe that marriage has no legal repercussions whatsoever.

Davian93
08-06-2010, 01:16 PM
Because, in direct contrast to what you claim, legally, marriage is not a religious matter.

Sini is saying that it SHOULD be a religious matter, not that it currently IS.

Sinistrum
08-06-2010, 02:07 PM
Oh Gonzo. Its a good thing I've come to expect a certain amount of density when it comes to debates. See Davians post for why you just aren't getting what I'm saying.

Marriage, as we are discussing it here, is a legal issue.

Duh. And you're relevant point to my arguments is? Its also a religious matter too, which is why so many people oppose gay marriage and why the 1st Amendment comes into play in this discussion. The fact that the law deals with marriage does not make it a purely secular legal matter. My entire problem with gay marriage and the concept of marriage as a whole as it is currently constituted in the U.S. is that it intermingles religious and legal secular matters, thus giving religion a say on the legal definition and secularists a say on the religious connotations. My proposed solution is to separate the two concepts and create a purely legal matter (civil union/contract rights) and a purely religious/personal matter (marriage). Therefore gays get equal rights under the law and can still marry if they find a religion that is open to it or simply just want to define themselves as such, and religions get to call marriage between a man and a woman and not allow gays to marry.

Kimon
08-06-2010, 03:22 PM
My proposed solution is to separate the two concepts and create a purely legal matter (civil union/contract rights) and a purely religious/personal matter (marriage). Therefore gays get equal rights under the law and can still marry if they find a religion that is open to it or simply just want to define themselves as such, and religions get to call marriage between a man and a woman and not allow gays to marry.

This is essentially what will result by overturning the unjust Prop 8 and defending civil liberties. The only difference, of course, is that some seek to call a spade a spade, while you, apparently, want to call a spade a club- in that you want to keep the word marriage as the exclusive demesne for straight couples, and force gay couples to use an alternative term.

Neilbert
08-06-2010, 03:36 PM
The term marriage, in of itself, has religious significance outside of the legal consequences of it. For example, it is one of the Catholic sacriments. When the government starts mucking around with the definition of said term, it therefore is mucking around with the definition of a religious sacriment, thus violating a religious person's right to define that religious practice how they choose.

If marriage were owned by religions, then it wouldn't confer legal rights. But it does, so it belongs to the government, so government gets to define the legal aspect of it however it wants.

My proposed solution is to separate the two concepts and create a purely legal matter (civil union/contract rights) and a purely religious/personal matter (marriage).

I completely agree with you, but it's never going to happen. So you are stuck with two realistic choices:

1. Gay people are denied a plethora of legal rights because they can't marry.
2. Religious people have to listen to some other people they don't like using 'their' word.

(of course all of this ignores the fact that there are churches which are perfectly happy to marry gay couples...)

If you struggle with this choice, you aren't a decent human being.

Sinistrum
08-06-2010, 03:42 PM
This is essentially what will result by overturning the unjust Prop 8 and defending civil liberties. The only difference, of course, is that some seek to call a spade a spade, while you, apparently, want to call a spade a club- in that you want to keep the word marriage as the exclusive demesne for straight couples, and force gay couples to use an alternative term.

WRONG! I want gay couples, straight couples, religious couples, and non-religious couples to have the freedom to call their relationship what ever the hell they want to without interference from others and without any of those definitions having the force of law. Under my scheme, a gay person can call their relationship a marriage if they want. They can even join a religious sect and get married if they want. They, however, will not have the right to force legal recognition of that relationship as a "marriage." But neither will straight people either. Overturning Prop 8 on the grounds the Judge in this case used does not do this. It merely swings the pendulum of interference and oppression back against the other side.

As for the law, I want everyone, gays straights, and everyone in between to call their legal arrangement and the rights that go along with it what it really is. A civil union involving recipricol contract rights. And that is what I think everyone should be entitled to have, gay or straight.

Sinistrum
08-06-2010, 03:50 PM
If marriage were owned by religions, then it wouldn't confer legal rights. But it does, so it belongs to the government, so government gets to define the legal aspect of it however it wants.

So religion has never ever improperly stuck its nose in government and gotten one of its tenants legal recognition or force? *cough cough* In God We Trust *cough cough* One Nation Under God *cough cough* Christmas a national holiday. Good to know that Neil.

I completely agree with you, but it's never going to happen. So you are stuck with two realistic choices:

1. Gay people are denied a plethora of legal rights because they can't marry.
2. Religious people have to listen to some other people they don't like using 'their' word.

(of course all of this ignores the fact that there are churches which are perfectly happy to marry gay couples...)

If you struggle with this choice, you aren't a decent human being.

So basically you think the only realistic option is to violate the rights of gays or violate the rights of religious people. And of course you'll side with gays against religious people, because they're "the bad guys in this." Sorry but our Constitution doesn't operate on personal preference. I've said it before and I'll say it again. You cannot remedy one Constitutional violation by creating another. Consequentially I reject both of your alternatives. Just because something isn't easily achieved doesn't make it any less right.

Kimon
08-06-2010, 04:05 PM
So basically you think the only realistic option is to violate the rights of gays or violate the rights of religious people. And of course you'll side with gays against religious people, because they're "the bad guys in this." Sorry but our Constitution doesn't operate on personal preference. I've said it before and I'll say it again. You cannot remedy one Constitutional violation by creating another. Consequentially I reject both of your alternatives. Just because something isn't easily achieved doesn't make it any less right.

The rights of religious people are not being violated. No one is suggesting that they don't have the right to marry, which would violate their rights. No one is suggesting that they need to recognize gay marriages, which would be a violation of their rights. This is why there is, and why there needs to be, a division between church and state. It is the state that has an obligation to recognize these marriages, and to confer with it the requisite benefits that are currently offered to those in traditional marriages. Religious people have rights that should be defended. Imposing their definition of marriage upon the nation as a whole is not their right.

Crispin's Crispian
08-06-2010, 04:28 PM
The rights of religious people are not being violated. No one is suggesting that they don't have the right to marry, which would violate their rights. No one is suggesting that they need to recognize gay marriages, which would be a violation of their rights. This is why there is, and why there needs to be, a division between church and state. It is the state that has an obligation to recognize these marriages, and to confer with it the requisite benefits that are currently offered to those in traditional marriages. Religious people have rights that should be defended. Imposing their definition of marriage upon the nation as a whole is not their right.This.

In states where gay marriage is currently legal, can gay couples force the clergy to marry them? As far as I know, it is always the choice of a pastor, priest, or rabbi to perform a ceremony. If s/he doesn't want to do it, the government can't force the issue. That is still true with legal gay marriage, so how exactly is free expression of religion being trampled?

In principle, I completely agree that the government should only worry about civil unions. In practice, it's not quite that simple.

Sei'taer
08-06-2010, 04:36 PM
If s/he doesn't want to do it,


Wait just one minute, wait a DAMN minute!! The HELL you say!? Chicks are runnin' churches? WTF!? No wonder the gays are getting all uppity...Next thing you know priests will be having sex with little boys, teachers will be bangin' their students and Yogi Bear will be in a poster pokin' Booboo. Thank God that dude in the white house is only half black or this country would be in a fix we'd never get straight.

Sinistrum
08-06-2010, 05:06 PM
The rights of religious people are not being violated. No one is suggesting that they don't have the right to marry, which would violate their rights. No one is suggesting that they need to recognize gay marriages, which would be a violation of their rights. This is why there is, and why there needs to be, a division between church and state. It is the state that has an obligation to recognize these marriages, and to confer with it the requisite benefits that are currently offered to those in traditional marriages. Religious people have rights that should be defended. Imposing their definition of marriage upon the nation as a whole is not their right.

Really? So how do you figure having one of their own religious beliefs defined by the government isn't violating their right to practice their religion in a way they see fit? Would you like the government to come in a define some of your beliefs for you and give those definitions legal enforcibility? Giving the definition of marriage legal force means their are legal consequences to it. You say that having a government definition of marriage isn't forcing people to recognize gay marriage. I call bullshit. Government mandating that gays are married opens to the door to suits against those who deny that status as a matter of their religion for things such as harassment and slander among other things. Legal force behind gay marriage forces acceptance and stifles free speech and free exercise of religion, and those are things that gays, no matter how downtrodden they are and no matter how personally repugnant you find religious objection to gay marriage, do not have a right to do. You can't force people to be nice to others. The right to exclude and be a dick to others in social situations is inherent in every single part of the 1st Amendment

Furthermore, you have yet to explain how my solution imposes any definition of marriage on anyone. The short answer is that you can't because it doesn't because the entire point of my idea is to allow individuals to decide what the definition of marriage is without anyone else getting a say in it or being able to use the law to enforce their preference. And that is precisely what will happen when you remove the legal definition and the accompanying consequences of marriage.

Sei'taer
08-06-2010, 05:10 PM
From a friend of mine (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEo4JEaBSgo&feature=player_embedded#!).

Good stuff.

Crispin's Crispian
08-06-2010, 05:13 PM
Wait just one minute, wait a DAMN minute!! The HELL you say!? Chicks are runnin' churches? WTF!? No wonder the gays are getting all uppity...Next thing you know priests will be having sex with little boys, teachers will be bangin' their students and Yogi Bear will be in a poster pokin' Booboo. Thank God that dude in the white house is only half black or this country would be in a fix we'd never get straight.

Well, no chicks are running churches according to the Vatican. I mean, it's not quite pedophilia, but they're still committing a grave, grave crime, those priestesses.

Kimon
08-06-2010, 05:56 PM
Really? So how do you figure having one of their own religious beliefs defined by the government isn't violating their right to practice their religion in a way they see fit? Would you like the government to come in a define some of your beliefs for you and give those definitions legal enforcibility? Giving the definition of marriage legal force means their are legal consequences to it. You say that having a government definition of marriage isn't forcing people to recognize gay marriage. I call bullshit. Government mandating that gays are married opens to the door to suits against those who deny that status as a matter of their religion for things such as harassment and slander among other things. Legal force behind gay marriage forces acceptance and stifles free speech and free exercise of religion, and those are things that gays, no matter how downtrodden they are and no matter how personally repugnant you find religious objection to gay marriage, do not have a right to do. You can't force people to be nice to others. The right to exclude and be a dick to others in social situations is inherent in every single part of the 1st Amendment

Furthermore, you have yet to explain how my solution imposes any definition of marriage on anyone. The short answer is that you can't because it doesn't because the entire point of my idea is to allow individuals to decide what the definition of marriage is without anyone else getting a say in it or being able to use the law to enforce their preference. And that is precisely what will happen when you remove the legal definition and the accompanying consequences of marriage.

It is irrational to think that either individual churches or individual priests (or ministers, rabbis, etc.) could, as a result of this ruling, be forced to perform gay marriages against their will. After all, all the above are currently able to refuse to perform traditional marriages if they are so disinclined. For instance, my uncle (on my dad's side) was originally Catholic, got married, for the first time, in a Catholic church. Then he got divorced, and when he remarried, he couldn't do it in a Catholic church, because he was divorced, and had no grounds to get his first marriage annulled. So his second wedding was in a Lutheran church, and now he's Lutheran. If you would like another example- my maternal great-grandfather was originally a rabbi, but after marrying a Methodist, he was both defrocked (I'm not sure of the exact term used for rabbis...) and excommunicated. Clearly, the synagogue also refused to perform his wedding. He became a Unitarian.

The problem with your so-called solution is that it is ridiculous. You would allow gay people to call themselves married, but would not allow them any legal recognition of this. Thus they could call themselves married, but they would not receive any of the legal benefits of marriage that are currently provided to traditionally married couples. Gay couples already can do this, hence this is not a solution, unless of course you actually would strip traditionally married couples of all of the legal benefits of marriage that are provided by the government. If the latter is not the case, then shame on you. If the latter is the case, then your solution is exceedingly excessive.

Terez
08-06-2010, 06:08 PM
Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong WRONG! What I'm arguing for is a legal framework in which Terez can decide for HERSELF whether she considers Frenzy married. However, without a law defining what marriage is, Terez's opinion has absolutely ZERO legally binding power to enforce that opinion. So if Terez decides Frenzy isn't married, Frenzy's response is "I consider myself married, so who cares what Terez thinks, she can go fuck herself because there is nothing she can do to "unmarry" me."
Is Frenzy legally obligated to provide the cucumber?

Ivhon
08-06-2010, 06:30 PM
It is irrational to think that either individual churches or individual priests (or ministers, rabbis, etc.) could, as a result of this ruling, be forced to perform gay marriages against their will. After all, all the above are currently able to refuse to perform traditional marriages if they are so disinclined. For instance, my uncle (on my dad's side) was originally Catholic, got married, for the first time, in a Catholic church. Then he got divorced, and when he remarried, he couldn't do it in a Catholic church, because he was divorced, and had no grounds to get his first marriage annulled. So his second wedding was in a Lutheran church, and now he's Lutheran. If you would like another example- my maternal great-grandfather was originally a rabbi, but after marrying a Methodist, he was both defrocked (I'm not sure of the exact term used for rabbis...) and excommunicated. Clearly, the synagogue also refused to perform his wedding. He became a Unitarian.

The problem with your so-called solution is that it is ridiculous. You would allow gay people to call themselves married, but would not allow them any legal recognition of this. Thus they could call themselves married, but they would not receive any of the legal benefits of marriage that are currently provided to traditionally married couples. Gay couples already can do this, hence this is not a solution, unless of course you actually would strip traditionally married couples of all of the legal benefits of marriage that are provided by the government. If the latter is not the case, then shame on you. If the latter is the case, then your solution is exceedingly excessive.

In Sini's defense (can't believe I just said that), he is saying that the government would still confer the rights and benefits to both straight and gay couples. It would be a civil union. Religious institutions would perform marriages as they see fit, but there would be no legal benefits to being married. It would strictly be a religious sacrament if a church so saw fit. Couples - gay and straight - would still go down to the courthouse and get their liscence - it would just be a civil union liscence, not a marriage liscence.

It is the common sense, neat, tie-it-up with a bow solution. Church and State are separated. Everyone is the same under the law. Nobody's rights are trampled.

However, no side will take it politically because it would remove such a perfect wedge issue.


EDIT: For the record, people on both sides of the aisle have been calling for this for at least 8 years now and it has never gotten any political consideration because it makes TOO MUCH SENSE. Neither Democrats nor Republicans can rile up their bases if this solution were to be implimented.

Crispin's Crispian
08-06-2010, 07:06 PM
In Sini's defense (can't believe I just said that), he is saying that the government would still confer the rights and benefits to both straight and gay couples. It would be a civil union. Religious institutions would perform marriages as they see fit, but there would be no legal benefits to being married. It would strictly be a religious sacrament if a church so saw fit. Couples - gay and straight - would still go down to the courthouse and get their liscence - it would just be a civil union liscence, not a marriage liscence.

It is the common sense, neat, tie-it-up with a bow solution. Church and State are separated. Everyone is the same under the law. Nobody's rights are trampled.

However, no side will take it politically because it would remove such a perfect wedge issue.


EDIT: For the record, people on both sides of the aisle have been calling for this for at least 8 years now and it has never gotten any political consideration because it makes TOO MUCH SENSE. Neither Democrats nor Republicans can rile up their bases if this solution were to be implimented.
That's not why it doesn't get mainstream political consideration. It doesn't get mainstream political consideration because of the moral majority that still somehow thinks the religious aspect of marriage should be enshrined in the civil aspect. Either that, or the semantics are just too much for regular hetero married people to take. They don't want to be not married, because "civilly united" just doesn't have the right connotation.

Ivhon
08-06-2010, 07:17 PM
That's not why it doesn't get mainstream political consideration. It doesn't get mainstream political consideration because of the moral majority that still somehow thinks the religious aspect of marriage should be enshrined in the civil aspect. Either that, or the semantics are just too much for regular hetero married people to take. They don't want to be not married, because "civilly united" just doesn't have the right connotation.

Hetero married people would still be married. Unless they didnt get married in a church. But then...you wouldn't need to be married in a church to call yourself married, either.

I take your point though. Under this solution, there would no longer be anything particularly special about being married. Moralistic religious nuts would have a harder time being better than everybody else.

But I trust them to adjust and find a way...

Kimon
08-06-2010, 07:26 PM
In Sini's defense (can't believe I just said that), he is saying that the government would still confer the rights and benefits to both straight and gay couples. It would be a civil union. Religious institutions would perform marriages as they see fit, but there would be no legal benefits to being married. It would strictly be a religious sacrament if a church so saw fit. Couples - gay and straight - would still go down to the courthouse and get their liscence - it would just be a civil union liscence, not a marriage liscence.



Mea culpa for misrepresenting your suggestion then Sini. I still maintain however that your other contention- that this will be a slippery slope to forcing churches, and other houses of worship to recognize and perform marriages that they have moral disagreements with- is very unlikely.

Uno
08-06-2010, 07:30 PM
Hetero married people would still be married. Unless they didnt get married in a church. But then...you wouldn't need to be married in a church to call yourself married, either.

I take your point though. Under this solution, there would no longer be anything particularly special about being married. Moralistic religious nuts would have a harder time being better than everybody else.

But I trust them to adjust and find a way...


I fail to see the point to any of this. Marriage predates any religion that exists today, and in a great number of societies it has never been a religious institution. That was the case in antiquity, and even in Christian Europe it was a civil institution for a very long time. No clerical participation was required.

In England, marriage required nothing more than mutual consent and cohabitation until the eighteenth century, and in the colonies that state of affairs persisted much longer, to the extent that common law marriage exists in parts of the US today. Hell, the Puritans, in fact, were against having a religious marriage ceremony, as they (unlike the Anglican church establishment) insisted that marriage was a civil, not a religious thing.

The claim that marriage is predominantly religious is a mere attempt by certain religious people to usurp control over the institution.

Ivhon
08-06-2010, 07:36 PM
I fail to see the point to any of this. Marriage predates any religion that exists today, and in a great number of societies it has never been a religious institution. That was the case in antiquity, and even in Christian Europe it was a civil institution for a very long time. No clerical participation was required.

In England, marriage required nothing more than mutual consent and cohabitation until the eighteenth century, and in the colonies that state of affairs persisted much longer, to the extent that common law marriage exists in parts of the US today. Hell, the Puritans, in fact, were against having a religious marriage ceremony, as they (unlike the Anglican church establishment) insisted that marriage was a civil, not a religious thing.

The claim that marriage is predominantly religious is a mere attempt by certain religious people to usurp control over the institution.

No no no. "One man, one woman for the purpose of having children. If they choose to. And are biologically capable. Otherwise to symbolise that it takes one man and one woman to have a baby. Or at least sperm from a man and eggs from a woman."
Says so right there in the Bible, somewhere. Been that way for the 6000 years since God made the earth.

Uno
08-06-2010, 07:44 PM
No no no. "One man, one woman for the purpose of having children. If they choose to. And are biologically capable. Otherwise to symbolise that it takes one man and one woman to have a baby. Or at least sperm from a man and eggs from a woman."
Says so right there in the Bible, somewhere. Been that way for the 6000 years since God made the earth.

Religious people could possibly say things like that, but since God jolly well made everything in their view, everything is religious, and that means that nothing is. Government itself? Religious. "Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God." Peter, 1:13.

Sei'taer
08-06-2010, 08:49 PM
those in positions of authority have been placed there by God." Peter, 1:13.


Considering our present authority, it's a wonder there aren't more atheists around...

What I'm trying to say is, God evidently fucked up. Or maybe he's trying to "teach" us something.

Weird Harold
08-06-2010, 09:07 PM
I fail to see the point to any of this. Marriage predates any religion that exists today, ...

And therein lies the insistance on marriage rather than "civil unions" or "domestic partnerships" -- marriage is so ingrained in so many societies for so long that the rights and duties of a spouse and a spouse's place in the hierarchy of "next-of-kin are firmly tied to the institutionof "marriage."

Where do "domestic partners" fall in the hierarchy of next-of-kin for inheritance or medical decision making?

Neilbert
08-06-2010, 09:46 PM
Really? So how do you figure having one of their own religious beliefs defined by the government isn't violating their right to practice their religion in a way they see fit?

To give an obvious answer, a married gay couple could not possibly be Catholic, because the Catholic Church does not recognize gay marriage. The Catholic Church would maintain every right to exclude gays, say they are going to burn in hell for violating God's will, and deny that they are married in the eyes of God. Just like it does for people who have been divorced.

Would you like the government to come in a define some of your beliefs for you and give those definitions legal enforcibility?

How does allowing gays to marry do anything to change the religious significance of a ceremony?

Giving the definition of marriage legal force means their are legal consequences to it. You say that having a government definition of marriage isn't forcing people to recognize gay marriage. I call bullshit.

I never said that. They will of course be forced to recognize gay marriage in any and all legal matters. As far as their own personal religious beliefs are concerned, I don't care, and never will. They can continue to believe whatever they want to.

Government mandating that gays are married opens to the door to suits against those who deny that status as a matter of their religion for things such as harassment and slander among other things.

If gay people are being harassed because they claim that they are married, the law should protect them. I don't really know enough about slander law to comment on that part of it, but I highly doubt it will be an issue.

Legal force behind gay marriage forces acceptance and stifles free speech and free exercise of religion,

Except that it doesn't. Religious denominations will never be forced to marry gay people, or accept them into their church, and quite frankly it is idiotic to believe that this could ever be the case.

and those are things that gays, no matter how downtrodden they are and no matter how personally repugnant you find religious objection to gay marriage, do not have a right to do.

Well then it's a good thing nobody wants to do this.

You can't force people to be nice to others. The right to exclude and be a dick to others in social situations is inherent in every single part of the 1st Amendment

And this right will not be abridged.

Furthermore, you have yet to explain how my solution imposes any definition of marriage on anyone.

I said that I agreed with your solution, but it's not realistic. I'm not in the least bit surprised you glossed over that little part.

Why do the bigoted churches get to define marriage for the non bigoted churches?

Why is something that was secular long before it ever had religious significance suddenly the sacred property of the bigoted religions and only the bigoted religions?

Sinistrum
08-06-2010, 10:20 PM
Mea culpa for misrepresenting your suggestion then Sini. I still maintain however that your other contention- that this will be a slippery slope to forcing churches, and other houses of worship to recognize and perform marriages that they have moral disagreements with- is very unlikely.

Then you really don't understand the evolution of anti-discrimination laws. They have been, are, and always will be used as a pry bar to get special treatment and punish those that the minorities they protect don't like. Perfect examples of this are affirmative action and hate crimes legislation. Neither side of this issue is content with just leaving the other alone. That's why the approach I'm advocate isn't gaining any traction. Both sides want their life styles affirmed, their egos stoked, their beliefs given special status under the law, and their enemies punished for daring to disagree. And neither side is entitled to any of that.

They will of course be forced to recognize gay marriage in any and all legal matters.

Furthermore, forcing religious institutions to marry people they don't want to really hasn't been the negative legal consequence I'm talking about. The real consequence I'm concerned about is religious people's free speech and free exercise rights to publicly deny people are married according to their own beliefs and affirm their own concept. A government definition of marriage would make this almost impossible under slander/libel law and that is a violation of their own rights. The exchange would go something like this.

Gay Person: Isn't wonderful that I'm married?

Catholic Person: Under my beliefs you can't be married.

Gay Person: That's not true! The government says I'm married! You hurt my feelings by saying that! I'm going to sue!

Not thinking this would happen is severely underestimating just how litigious a society we are.

Why do the bigoted churches get to define marriage for the non bigoted churches?

Uh they don't under my solution. Under mine everyone gets to define it how they choose. Why do I have to keep repeating this?

Why is something that was secular long before it ever had religious significance suddenly the sacred property of the bigoted religions and only the bigoted religions?

Uh, once again, its not. Its the property of everyone to be defined according to individual taste under my solution. Furthermore this idea being floated that marriage started off as secular and that somehow changes the equation under the 1st Amendment is erroneous. The 1st Amendment doesn't care how a religious practice got started historically. It just cares if such a practice is currently incorporated into a religion. If so, then its protected (subject to restrictions a la no human sacrifice). Period. End of story.

Neilbert
08-07-2010, 05:21 AM
The exchange would go something like this.

Divorced Person: Isn't wonderful that I'm divorced?

Catholic Person: Under my beliefs you can't be divorced.

Divorced Person: That's not true! The government says I'm divorced! You hurt my feelings by saying that! I'm going to sue!

For some reason I'm not buying it.

Furthermore this idea being floated that marriage started off as secular and that somehow changes the equation under the 1st Amendment is erroneous. The 1st Amendment doesn't care how a religious practice got started historically. It just cares if such a practice is currently incorporated into a religion. If so, then its protected (subject to restrictions a la no human sacrifice). Period. End of story.

Yes, and what about the religions that marry gay couples? How does that stack up with current law?

GonzoTheGreat
08-07-2010, 05:37 AM
Oh Gonzo. Its a good thing I've come to expect a certain amount of density when it comes to debates. See Davians post for why you just aren't getting what I'm saying.I do admit that I am frequently mistified by religion, and the way in which that manages to kidnap the discussion (on a variety of topics).

Duh. And you're relevant point to my arguments is? Its also a religious matter too, which is why so many people oppose gay marriage and why the 1st Amendment comes into play in this discussion.The point which I think is relevant is quite simple: why should a US judge pay attention to religious definitions of a word?
As far as I know, the 1st specifically says that he is not allowed to do that, that all he should go on are the legal definitions.

And that is what he did here: he considered the legal implications, and ignored what all the various religions thought of that.
You seem to saying that judges should consider religious authority when they are considering what verdict to deliver. I think that ignoring the religious parts of "marriage" is precisely what the 1st demands a judge do.

The fact that the law deals with marriage does not make it a purely secular legal matter.Maybe, maybe not. But as far as a judge is concerned, only the secular aspects come within his purview. The religious aspects are, legally speaking, out of bounds. At least, that's what I have always been told the 1st means.

If I'm wrong, and US judges can lay down authoritive judgments on matters of doctrine for American religions, then that might have very far reaching implications for freedom of religion in your country.
And, in the other direction, if various religions can officially overrule the secular laws, that too would have rather big consequences.
But I don't think either is the case. I think there actually is separation of church and state. Which would mean, of course, that the judge was correct in ignoring the religious aspects of marriage in his verdict.

Kimon
08-07-2010, 10:17 AM
If I'm wrong, and US judges can lay down authoritive judgments on matters of doctrine for American religions, then that might have very far reaching implications for freedom of religion in your country.
And, in the other direction, if various religions can officially overrule the secular laws, that too would have rather big consequences.
But I don't think either is the case. I think there actually is separation of church and state. Which would mean, of course, that the judge was correct in ignoring the religious aspects of marriage in his verdict.

Luckily we're a few decades removed from the Scopes decision. Of course, if Sini is convinced that this judge's ruling on Prop 8 might precipitate a slippery slope to intrusion of secularism on religion, then consider what might occur if this decision is overruled and a firm precedent is re-established to allow the intrusion of religiosity on the secular. I think it unlikely that we will again see a day when teachers are put on trial for teaching evolution (like Scopes), but considering the present composition of the SC, the fate of legal abortion is much more tenuous. The debate on this topic, after all, follows very similar lines (religious and moral) as does that for the legalization or criminalization of abortion.

Sinistrum
08-07-2010, 11:23 AM
For some reason I'm not buying it.

Of course you aren't. You have little experience dealing with the civil legal system, have zero sympathy for the rights at issue, and probably would enjoy seeing religious people who don't like gay marriage having it stuck to them. The problem with that is that rights such as those found in the 1st amendment are an all or nothing proposition. So if you don't honor those rights as to people you don't like, sooner or later, that dishonoring will be turned around on you and something you do like. All it will take is someone else coming up with a similiarly convenient excuse such as the one you are using here: "Oh they're just hateful and bigoted and don't deserve protection."

why should a US judge pay attention to religious definitions of a word?
As far as I know, the 1st specifically says that he is not allowed to do that, that all he should go on are the legal definitions.

I've been over this before and this statement shows that you know very little about the 1st amendment. You are only talking about the establishment clause. By hey, guess what Gonzo, I posted two links. There's another part called the free exercise clause. And that part states that the government cannot interfere in religious practice. Hence the judge absolutely MUST pay attention to how religion defines one of its own practices in deciding whether or not and how to legally define it.

Maybe, maybe not. But as far as a judge is concerned, only the secular aspects come within his purview. The religious aspects are, legally speaking, out of bounds. At least, that's what I have always been told the 1st means.

Well you were told wrong. But your interpretation of the implications of being wrong are also incorrect. Its not that the judge can levy religion proclamations. That is precisely what he cannot do, although that is EXACTLY what he ended up doing by redefining marriage to include gays. The only Constitutionally correct decision in this case was if the judge overturned Prop 8 on the grounds that it was government violating the free exercise clause. Deciding to uphold it and deciding to overturn it on the grounds he did are both equally unconstitutional.

Yes, and what about the religions that marry gay couples? How does that stack up with current law?

If its their religious practice to marry gay people, then the free exercise clause protects it.

GonzoTheGreat
08-07-2010, 12:34 PM
I've been over this before and this statement shows that you know very little about the 1st amendment. You are only talking about the establishment clause. By hey, guess what Gonzo, I posted two links. There's another part called the free exercise clause. And that part states that the government cannot interfere in religious practice. Hence the judge absolutely MUST pay attention to how religion defines one of its own practices in deciding whether or not and how to legally define it.And that gives the judge to decide that those religions which are willing to define marriage as "between two humans, no matter their gender" are wrong, because other religions disagree with them?

The issue might be like you say it is, if all religions did indeed agree on this issue. But they do not. So the judge had to choose.
He could decide to interfere in religious practice, and formally declare that all religions had to accept gay marriage. He didn't do that.
He could decide to interfere in religious practice, and declare that no religion was allowed to accept gay marriage. He didn't do that either.
Or he could ignore religious practice, and rule on the secular bits only. That's what he did, as far as I can see.

I still do not understand why the 1st would give this judge the right to start deciding which religion was right and which was wrong. As far as I can see, the judge did not see that either; so he ignored that specific part of the issue.
You seem to assume that those religions who are against gay marriage should be listened to, because of the 1st Amendment, and those religions which are in favor of it should be ignored, because the 1st does not allow those religions to interfere in the government. To me, that seems to be contradictory.

Sinistrum
08-07-2010, 01:24 PM
And that gives the judge to decide that those religions which are willing to define marriage as "between two humans, no matter their gender" are wrong, because other religions disagree with them?

Gonzo, you obviously have a reading comprehension issue as well as being dense. Though they probably go hand in hand. The point I'm making is that the judge doesn't have the power to decide that ANY religion is wrong. Your characterization of him not doing that with his decision is also wrong. He decided very clearly that those religions that do not accept gay marriage were 100% wrong and gave legal force to the definition of marriage of those religions that accept the practice. You cannot divorce the religious definition from the secular definition in this case. Defining one, by default, defines the other because of the legal consequences and power the secular definition has over the religious definitions. He sided with those religions that accepted gay marriage over those that don't, and that is something he does not have the power to do under the constitution.

You seem to assume that those religions who are against gay marriage should be listened to, because of the 1st Amendment, and those religions which are in favor of it should be ignored, because the 1st does not allow those religions to interfere in the government.

The only way you could ever get that through reading my arguments is if you are full blown idiot who simply doesn't have the intellectual capacity to understand what I'm saying. I'm saying neither side should be listened to because the government doesn't have the right to take either side into consideration. GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT BE DEFINING MARRIAGE AT ALL!

Neilbert
08-07-2010, 02:06 PM
Of course you aren't.

Do you not read? I changed married to divorced when I quoted you, because the Catholic Church does not recognize divorce, and yet nobody sues the Catholic Church for saying they aren't allowed to divorce/aren't divorced. They just convert to a religion that allows it.

Unless you are going to cite someone successfully suing the Catholic Church for not allowing a divorce, I'm going to say this is bullshit.

Gonzo, you obviously have a reading comprehension issue as well as being dense.

Irony right here.

If its their religious practice to marry gay people, then the free exercise clause protects it.

As far as legal rights are concerned. Why are you dancing around the question?

GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT BE DEFINING MARRIAGE AT ALL!

No shit sherlock. Unfortunately it already did. Ever hear of Pandora's box? I'm asking about the bullshit legalese rationalization that allows certain churches to define marriage in a way that confers legal rights, but does not allow other churches to give those legal rights when they marry gay couples. I want to know how courts have rationalized this, or if they even have. Why is a narrow definition of marriage currently given legal protection?

What you also fail to appreciate is that legal marriage and secular marriage are two entirely different things. The words are homonyms. The legal definition of marriage has absolutely no bearing on the religious. You can get married in a church without being legally married. You can get legally married without ever setting foot inside of a church. They are two different words.

Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

Oh my!

Sinistrum
08-07-2010, 03:02 PM
I changed married to divorced when I quoted you, because the Catholic Church does not recognize divorce, and yet nobody sues the Catholic Church for saying they aren't allowed to divorce/aren't divorced. They just convert to a religion that allows it.

Yeah except divorcees aren't one of the special classes of people liberals like you agonize over giving special protections too.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91486340

What I'm talking about has already happened. A full two years prior to this ruling I might add. But no, churches won't be forced to perform gay marriages against their will. Nope nope nope. :rolleyes:

As far as legal rights are concerned. Why are you dancing around the question?

What question am I dancing around? I answered yours perfectly. Under the Constitution, churches that marry gay couples have the full protection of the 1st amendment for that activity.

Why is a narrow definition of marriage currently given legal protection?

I should think that would be self-evident. People are stupid and have mixed religion and government where it shouldn't be mixed in an effort to get the government to discriminate.

The legal definition of marriage has absolutely no bearing on the religious.

This is absolute bullshit. The legal and religious definition of marriage are two sides of the same coin. The legal definition is nothing less than the codification of the relgious definition. So just how you can claim they have no bearing on each other is beyond me. Read the article above if you want proof. The religious definition of marriage is under assault because of the government definition of it.

GonzoTheGreat
08-07-2010, 03:52 PM
The legal definition is nothing less than the codification of the relgious definition.That is not true. Both the Roman Catholic Church and the US government prohibit bigamy. But, in general, the RCC also prohibits divorce, while the USg allows that. So, a man and a woman could marry according to both RCC and USg rules. Then they could divorce and remarry others according to USg rules (laws), but the RCC would consider that bigamy, as it does not acknowledge the divorce.
How is that "nothing less than the codification of the religious definition", pray tell me?

I would say that it is indeed significant different from the religious definition. And, if you want to use another religion, then I would be quite willing to point out that according to Muslim religious definition, a man is allowed to marry up to 4 women. USg rules only allow marriage to one woman at a time, which is decidedly less than 4*. So US law is actually less than the codification of the Islamic religious definition.

Note: I am quite sure that it would be possible to find some religious definition which precisely mirrors that in US law. But I don't think you are going to argue that the dogmas of that religion are more important, from a legal standpoint, than the US Constitution, so even this coincidence is no more that that: an irrelevant happenstance.

* If it had been 3 women, you could have tried arguing that it was the same. After all, the USA is a Christian nation, and according to the dogma of the Trinity, three equals one. But, as Monthy Python taught us so well, 4 is more than 3.

Weird Harold
08-07-2010, 03:55 PM
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91486340

What I'm talking about has already happened. A full two years prior to this ruling I might add. But no, churches won't be forced to perform gay marriages against their will. Nope nope nope. :rolleyes:

Deja Vu!

That NPR article reads almost word for word what a typical newspaper in the 60s and 70 printed about the breakdown of religious freedom because blacks sued to use public facilities owned by bigots.

Are Churches immune to the principle that if you rent your church campground to anyone outside of your church, then you have to rent it to anyone without discrimination?

Sinistrum
08-07-2010, 05:27 PM
That NPR article reads almost word for word what a typical newspaper in the 60s and 70 printed about the breakdown of religious freedom because blacks sued to use public facilities owned by bigots.

Are Churches immune to the principle that if you rent your church campground to anyone outside of your church, then you have to rent it to anyone without discrimination?

Apples and oranges. As far as I'm aware there is no sacriment involving discrimination based upon skin color and no quote in any holy book condemning non-whites as sinners by virtue of their skin color. Those were throw away arguments used as a thin venire for purely social attitudes. They were not legitimately held religious beliefs like the ones the 1st amendment is designed to protect. There is over 2000 years of record human history that validates religions attitude toward homosexuals as genuine dyed in the wool religious and spiritual belief. All you need to do to prove that is pick up a copy of the Torah and read Leviticus. Show me the part in Leviticus that condemns black people for having black skin and then maybe your analogy will stand.

In answer to your question, like it or not, but yes, they are immune to that principle. If you don't like it, then I guess we can always repeal the 1st Amendment free exercise clause. But I would imagine that would have some unintended consequences that perhaps you would not like.

That is not true. Both the Roman Catholic Church and the US government prohibit bigamy. But, in general, the RCC also prohibits divorce, while the USg allows that. So, a man and a woman could marry according to both RCC and USg rules. Then they could divorce and remarry others according to USg rules (laws), but the RCC would consider that bigamy, as it does not acknowledge the divorce.
How is that "nothing less than the codification of the religious definition", pray tell me?

This completely ignores the original source of marriage laws as well as their evolution over time. Here is an example of this dealing with English Common law, which is where most of U.S. law is derived from.

http://www.lawteacher.net/family-law-resources/History-Divorce-Law.php

The original source of marriage law was religious law. Just because its had more modern concepts incorporated into it later does not take away from the fundamentally religious nature of the base aspects of the law.

GonzoTheGreat
08-07-2010, 05:42 PM
Apples and oranges. As far as I'm aware there is no sacriment involving discrimination based upon skin color and no quote in any holy book condemning non-whites as sinners by virtue of their skin color. Those were throw away arguments used as a thin venire for purely social attitudes. They were not legitimately held religious beliefs like the ones the 1st amendment is designed to protect.If there had been a holy book which did openly discriminate on skin color, would that have been sufficient reason for you to keep the Jim Crow laws in place?

I'm just asking. I think it might be worthwhile to get this cleared up before we go any further.

Neilbert
08-07-2010, 06:31 PM
What I'm talking about has already happened. A full two years prior to this ruling I might add. But no, churches won't be forced to perform gay marriages against their will. Nope nope nope.

I see no mention of the church being forced to perform the marriage in your article, just being forced to allow gay couples to marry in their public pavilion, not even a church. If this is the best you can come up with for "churches... forced to perform gay marriages against their will" it is pretty pathetic.

Sinistrum
08-07-2010, 07:37 PM
If there had been a holy book which did openly discriminate on skin color, would that have been sufficient reason for you to keep the Jim Crow laws in place?

No not at all. But here you are ignoring the difference between a private actor that discriminates and a government one. Jim Crow laws means that it is a government that is discriminating and that is specifically barred by the 14th Amendment. When it comes to religious practice, that is purely private actors discriminating, which is something IMHO the government doesn't have the right to bar. Like I said, apples and oranges.

Ivhon
08-08-2010, 12:21 AM
No not at all. But here you are ignoring the difference between a private actor that discriminates and a government one. Jim Crow laws means that it is a government that is discriminating and that is specifically barred by the 14th Amendment. When it comes to religious practice, that is purely private actors discriminating, which is something IMHO the government doesn't have the right to bar. Like I said, apples and oranges.

So should private institutions be allowed to discriminate in employment (Im not talking about affirmative action)? Is it ok for private institutions to, say, pay black people or women less for the same job?

GonzoTheGreat
08-08-2010, 04:52 AM
No not at all. But here you are ignoring the difference between a private actor that discriminates and a government one. Jim Crow laws means that it is a government that is discriminating and that is specifically barred by the 14th Amendment. When it comes to religious practice, that is purely private actors discriminating, which is something IMHO the government doesn't have the right to bar. Like I said, apples and oranges.My problem, which I obviously fail to make clear to you, is that I do not understand why the United States government should be considered a private actor in regard to marriage laws. Can you explain that to me?

I understand why a Roman Catholic bishop couldn't be forced to marry two men to each other.
I do not understand why a secular civil servant (justice of the peace, whatever the appropriate term is) could decide based on his own religious beliefs who are allowed to marry each other and who aren't.

So rather than ignoring that difference, I am failing to see why it would be relevant. I fully understand and admit that the US government is not a private actor in this sense. Consequently, possibly as a result of my lack of legal training, I do not see why the rules for private actors would apply here at all.

Sinistrum
08-08-2010, 10:50 AM
Um because the U.S. government is engaging in conduct that ONLY private actors are allowed to do. You are right that the U.S government isn't allowed to discriminate in the case of marriage but you aren't taking it far enough. Its also not allowed to make any decision what so ever as to who is married and who is not. The analysis doesn't just stop at discrimination.

See, you continue to paint my arguments as justifying discrimination by the U.S. government. And given that its you, I think you are intentionally doing it to score brownie points when its patently obvious that they do not. So let me ask you a question in return. How is it possible for the U.S. government to discriminate with an activity that its not allowed to do in the first place?

So should private institutions be allowed to discriminate in employment (Im not talking about affirmative action)? Is it ok for private institutions to, say, pay black people or women less for the same job?

Depends on the kind of institution and just how it affects interstate commerce (which is the basis for the
64 Civil Rights Act). A motel by the side of the road or a multi-national corporation would obviously fall into the purview of the commerce clause. I don't think either a church or a private university (a la Bob Jones) does. I also think a lot of portions of that act have reached into areas they don't belong and have actually been used for reverse discrimination though, so I'd have to evaluate it on a case by case basis.

Ivhon
08-08-2010, 10:54 AM
Um because the U.S. government is engaging in conduct that ONLY private actors are allowed to do. You are right that the U.S government isn't allowed to discriminate in the case of marriage but you aren't taking it far enough. Its also not allowed to make any decision what so ever as to who is married and who is not. The analysis doesn't just stop at discrimination.

See, you continue to paint my arguments as justifying discrimination by the U.S. government. And given that its you, I think you are intentionally doing it to score brownie points when its patently obvious that they do not. So let me ask you a question in return. How is it possible for the U.S. government to discriminate with an activity that its not allowed to do in the first place?



Depends on the kind of institution and just how it affects interstate commerce (which is the basis for the
64 Civil Rights Act). A motel by the side of the road or a multi-national corporation would obviously fall into the purview of the commerce clause. I don't think either a church or a private university (a la Bob Jones) does. I also think a lot of portions of that act have reached into areas they don't belong and have actually been used for reverse discrimination though, so I'd have to evaluate it on a case by case basis.

And therein lies the rub. Evaluating things on a case by case basis necessarily becomes subjective and therefore contentious. Where does the final authority lie? Not with you. Not with SP (or another liberal lawyer). Certainly not the executive branch. Congress? No. Ahh....the courts. And we seem to have come full circle.

GonzoTheGreat
08-08-2010, 11:54 AM
Um because the U.S. government is engaging in conduct that ONLY private actors are allowed to do. You are right that the U.S government isn't allowed to discriminate in the case of marriage but you aren't taking it far enough. Its also not allowed to make any decision what so ever as to who is married and who is not.And that is something which I just plain do not believe is the case.

The US government prosecutes bigamists. Why?
Because it believes that it does have the right to decide who is married and who is not.

Then there is the matter of US citizenship (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birthright_citizenship_in_the_United_States_of_Ame rica). Specifically here, that of someone born outside the USA of American parents. If the parents are married, and they are both US citizens, then the Jus sanguinis applies, if the wiki page to which I linked is correct. That page also claims that if the parents are not married, things are more complicated.
If you are correct, and marriage is not in any way at all taken into account by the US government (which should be the case if that government cannot in any way tell whether people are married to each other or not), then marital status of the parents should make no difference at all.

The analysis doesn't just stop at discrimination.No, taxation for example also comes into it. If you are right, then there should not be any significance to marriage when filling in tax forms.

And then there is the rule "you don't have to testify against your spouse in court". I know that rule only from movies, I have to admit. But if you are right, and marriage is not recognised by the government, then so should you. That rule should then not apply in the USA, as the government couldn't possibly check a claim that a couple was actually married (and thus had the right to invoke the rule) or not (and thus could not hide behind it).

See, you continue to paint my arguments as justifying discrimination by the U.S. government.I am trying to point out that the U.S. government* does recognise marriage, and does use it in many different cases.
You seem to be claiming that marriage has no legal implications at all. If that is correct, then a lot of what I know about the USA would be totally wrong. So would a lot of what many Americans on this board think they know, for that matter.
But if marriage does have legal implications, then it is a legal matter. Which means that it is up to the law to say when someone is or isn't legally married. Religions may have different views on that particular question, but those views do not have the force of law.

So, a couple of (seemingly simple) questions:
1. Is marriage actually a legal institution in the USA?
2. Does the law determine who is and isn't legally married in the USA?
3. If one or more religions disagree with that law, does that then negate the marriage? Or, alternatively, if those religions claim that people are married and US law says they are not (possibly because of a divorce), are they then legally married?

In my view, the following answers would apply:
1. Yes.
2. Yes.
3. No and no.

So, in all cases, it is the US government who decides whether or not some couple is married according to US law, not a variety of religions. That means, in turn, that the US government has to use its own rules, specifically its own Constitution, in making sure the system is fair.

* Annoying, those dots in "US".

Sinistrum
08-08-2010, 12:54 PM
The US government prosecutes bigamists. Why?

The U.S. government also prosecutes those who engage in animal sacrifice. Your point? The reasons for that have nothing to do with whether they think they have the right to decide whether the religious practice is valid or not. The reason we prosecute animal sacrifice is because of public health and safety concerns as well as reasons having to do with treating animals humanely.

As for bigamy, even assuming that the government did decide to outlaw it based upon a comfort with defining marriage, a. that reasoning is constitutionally wrong and b. there are similar public safety concerns, most notably anti-sex trafficking and anti-child abuse concerns, that led to its outlaw outside of the issue of marriage. Furthermore, as I've already said, I'm not necessarily sure that bigamy is all that bad or necessarily SHOULD be outlawed as long as its between consenting adults.

If you are correct, and marriage is not in any way at all taken into account by the US government (which should be the case if that government cannot in any way tell whether people are married to each other or not), then marital status of the parents should make no difference at all.

You seem to be claiming that marriage has no legal implications at all.

First off, the Constitution grants the government the specific right to set rules for immigration. Second off, what I'm saying is that all of the rights you are talking about SHOULD not be with associated with marriage. I'm not saying they aren't currently. I'M SAYING THEY SHOULDN'T BE. For more information on where they should be see the definion of the word UNION, yanno, as in CIVIL. Third off, what I'm talking about is not the current reality of policy moron. I'm talking about what the U.S. government SHOULD be doing. I openly admit that religious idiots have incorporated their dogma into the concept of marriage in government. I'm saying IT SHOULD NOT BE THAT WAY AND ITS NOT CONSTITUTIONAL THAT IT IS. You are apparently so fucking dense that you cannot comprehend the word "should" in my arguments and can only argue as if what I'm saying should be the case really is.

Hopper
08-08-2010, 05:16 PM
I agree with Sini 100% on this. The government SHOULD have no say in the definition of marriage. It has always been a religious rite. The only thing that the government SHOULD be defining is a Civil Union and grant all privileges and responsibilities based on those.

Weird Harold
08-08-2010, 06:19 PM
I agree with Sini 100% on this. The government SHOULD have no say in the definition of marriage. It has always been a religious rite. The only thing that the government SHOULD be defining is a Civil Union and grant all privileges and responsibilities based on those.

Despite Sini's determined effort to muddy the water, that is exactly what governments do; authorize and record "civil marriages" independent of and distinct from, the "sacrement of marriage." The word 'marriage' is used for civil ceremonies because centuries of common law and precedent that rely on the reordering of kinship for inheritance, guardianship, and other purposes don't have to be re-defined separately.

Not all clergy can perform legal weddings because not all clergy are licensed to perform civil marriages.

There was a big concern a few years ago here in Las Vegas when it was discovered that one of the clergy performing marriages at one of the more popular quicky marriage 'chapels' had let his license to perform marriages to lapse for something like five years -- meaning that several thousand couples potentially had to get re-married and/or were faced with legal/financial problems stemming from not being legally married.

There is a reason why the closing words of the marriage ceremony are some variant of "And so, by the power vested in me by the State of <some legal jurisdiction> and Almighty God, I now pronounce you man and wife." If the minister doesn't have a license to perform marriages, he's only working with "the power vested in me by <the church who ordained me> and Almighty God..." and the marriage is NOT legal.

Sini seems to be having trouble with the concept that a legal, church marriage is, in fact, two concurrent ceremonies; the sacrement of marriage performed by the Clergy performing the ceremony and a civil ceremony presided over by a licensed representative of the court witnessing a civil contract -- who usualy just happen to be the same person.

Ivhon
08-08-2010, 07:20 PM
Despite Sini's determined effort to muddy the water, that is exactly what governments do; authorize and record "civil marriages" independent of and distinct from, the "sacrement of marriage." The word 'marriage' is used for civil ceremonies because centuries of common law and precedent that rely on the reordering of kinship for inheritance, guardianship, and other purposes don't have to be re-defined separately.

Not all clergy can perform legal weddings because not all clergy are licensed to perform civil marriages.

There was a big concern a few years ago here in Las Vegas when it was discovered that one of the clergy performing marriages at one of the more popular quicky marriage 'chapels' had let his license to perform marriages to lapse for something like five years -- meaning that several thousand couples potentially had to get re-married and/or were faced with legal/financial problems stemming from not being legally married.

There is a reason why the closing words of the marriage ceremony are some variant of "And so, by the power vested in me by the State of <some legal jurisdiction> and Almighty God, I now pronounce you man and wife." If the minister doesn't have a license to perform marriages, he's only working with "the power vested in me by <the church who ordained me> and Almighty God..." and the marriage is NOT legal.

Sini seems to be having trouble with the concept that a legal, church marriage is, in fact, two concurrent ceremonies; the sacrement of marriage performed by the Clergy performing the ceremony and a civil ceremony presided over by a licensed representative of the court witnessing a civil contract -- who usualy just happen to be the same person.

Therein lies the confusion and the blurring of the line of separation of church and state. In the example you gave, the PRIEST has the authority to grant the LEGAL benefits of "marriage" along with the religious. It is this dual function that lets religious institutions believe that they have more legal authority than they should have. The fact that both the secular and religious...ahh...ceremony...are called the same thing muddies the water.

The ideal situation that Sini is trying to get across and that some others including myself completely agree with is that the two should be...divorced (pun intended)...to the point where there are separate terms for each status. We would then know that "Marriage" means ONLY the religious aspect and that there are no legal rights and privileges associated with it at all. "Civil Union (or something sexier, if we all want)" would confer all legal rights and privileges and there would be absolutely no inference of religious recognition of the relationship. Separate them. 2 entirely different boats. An apple and an orange. A potayto and a tomahto. Ne'er the two shall meet.

The fact that it isnt this way now accounts for the confusion - even among relatively educated people, much less the idiotic sheeple - about what "marriage" is.

Uno
08-08-2010, 07:28 PM
The ideal situation that Sini is trying to get across and that some others including myself completely agree with is that the two should be...divorced (pun intended)...to the point where there are separate terms for each status. We would then know that "Marriage" means ONLY the religious aspect and that there are no legal rights and privileges associated with it at all. "Civil Union (or something sexier, if we all want)" would confer all legal rights and privileges and there would be absolutely no inference of religious recognition of the relationship. Separate them. 2 entirely different boats. An apple and an orange. A potayto and a tomahto. Ne'er the two shall meet.

Again, marriage is historically a civil institution. Any serious scholar will tell you that much. The religious have no special claim to it, and efforts of the clergy to assert control over the institution have often been contested. That apparently continues today. I do not understand why you think we should now capitulate to the canting parsons and give them control over marriage. Let them have civil unions, or whatever word other than marriage may be appropriate.

Ivhon
08-08-2010, 07:59 PM
Again, marriage is historically a civil institution. Any serious scholar will tell you that much. The religious have no special claim to it, and efforts of the clergy to assert control over the institution have often been contested. That apparently continues today. I do not understand why you think we should now capitulate to the canting parsons and give them control over marriage. Let them have civil unions, or whatever word other than marriage may be appropriate.

Personally, I don't care what you call either arrangement. I got bamboo'd at the church and the judge signed my carpetbagger liscence. Whatever.

For expedience - and also because I dont give a shit what it is called - let the church have "marriage." They will never give up on asserting control over the term. The longer the term is a wedge issue with no real meaning, the longer my gay friends have to go without being recognized by the state as having a legal relationship.

To me, that is a compromise I am happy to make.

Weird Harold
08-08-2010, 08:05 PM
The ideal situation that Sini is trying to get across and that some others including myself completely agree with is that the two should be...divorced (pun intended)...to the point where there are separate terms for each status.

Which side gets to keep the automatic reordering of kinship and the automatic guardianship and inheritance rights tied to the term spouse?

If it is the "Church," then the Government is faced with amending all of the law and custom tied to the term "marriage" to include "or domestic partner" wherever the term "Spouse," "Wife," or "Husband" are found; and enshrining in law that any benefit or obligation tied to those terms by custom or tradition should also apply to Domestic partners.

Insurance companies and Hospitals would have to rewrite all of their policies to use the appropriate terms for who is allowed to visit and or make healthcare decisions. Auitomatic membership rules in various places based on kinship -- spouses and children -- would have to be rewritten.

How many tax dollars do you want to spend just to eliminate "confusion" that only exists when someone deliberately muddies the water; anyone affected by the distinction is seldom confused because the pastor and the clerk who issued the license are both required by law to explain the process in most jurisdictions.

(If you didn't get the explanation, I'd check with the county clerk or registrar where you were married to see if you ARE married.)

Ivhon
08-08-2010, 08:27 PM
Which side gets to keep the automatic reordering of kinship and the automatic guardianship and inheritance rights tied to the term spouse?

If it is the "Church," then the Government is faced with amending all of the law and custom tied to the term "marriage" to include "or domestic partner" wherever the term "Spouse," "Wife," or "Husband" are found; and enshrining in law that any benefit or obligation tied to those terms by custom or tradition should also apply to Domestic partners.

Insurance companies and Hospitals would have to rewrite all of their policies to use the appropriate terms for who is allowed to visit and or make healthcare decisions. Auitomatic membership rules in various places based on kinship -- spouses and children -- would have to be rewritten.

How many tax dollars do you want to spend just to eliminate "confusion" that only exists when someone deliberately muddies the water; anyone affected by the distinction is seldom confused because the pastor and the clerk who issued the license are both required by law to explain the process in most jurisdictions.

(If you didn't get the explanation, I'd check with the county clerk or registrar where you were married to see if you ARE married.)

Since the things you mention are tied to legal rights and benefits, they would be the province of the State.

The Church would be able to say - and ONLY able to say - "This Church recognizes you as married (or whatever term Uno wants) in the eyes of God)." That's it. Purely and entirely a matter of faith. Which from a religious perspective is all it should be. A sacrement where God recognizes the union. None of the materialistic trappings conferred by the State should distract from the spiritual purity of the sacrament.

EDIT: Technically, all the things you are talking about would really be no different except for some language on the courthouse document. The Church has no right to grant inheritance, visitation, power of attorney, etc. at all. It is strictly a State issue. Changing the name for the secular arrangement and/or the religious arrangement only REMOVES the confusion that currently exists whereby religious types are trying to assume secular powers that they should not have. Church does one thing - you confirm your union in faith with your Creator. State does another thing - you confirm last names, inheritance rights, insurance, taxes, yadayadayada.

Sinistrum
08-08-2010, 08:37 PM
Harold, Uno, read the link I posted regarding the history of marriage in English common law. It was not, historically speaking, just a civil institution.

And Ivhon and Hopper, I'm glad someone is getting my arguments. I'm starting think I'm talking to a brick wall in terms of some of the people I'm getting at. You are also 100% correct about the division of rights under my proposed scheme. The state would get dominion over all legal rights that are currently vested in marriage with the institution of civil unions, thus making the 14th Amendment applicable without interference from the 1st amendment. Religions get their sacriment, their God, and their sense of superiority and that's it.

Uno
08-08-2010, 08:40 PM
Changing the name for the secular arrangement and/or the religious arrangement only REMOVES the confusion that currently exists whereby religious types are trying to assume secular powers that they should not have. Church does one thing - you confirm your union in faith with your Creator. State does another thing - you confirm last names, inheritance rights, insurance, taxes, yadayadayada.

I'm ok with confusion. Things don't have to be neat. Neat is boring, anyway. The word marriage comes with a high degree of prestige attached to it. I'm unwilling to let the religious get a monopoly on that. The fact that the very term marriage confers so much legitimacy is obvious from the unwillingness of gay activists to settle for terms such as "same sex civil unions," or whatever.

On a side note, we did have a church ceremony performed. It's traditional, and I'm pretty conservative in my way.

Weird Harold
08-08-2010, 09:06 PM
The state would get dominion over all legal rights that are currently vested in marriage with the institution of civil unions, ...

So just how many tax dollars are YOU willing to spend to change centuries of law and custom to read "domestic partner" instead of "spouse", "wife" or Husband" where the staus quo has entenched the vocabulary of "Marriage" into law and custom?

or how do you plan to get religions around the world to give up the vocabulary of "Marriage" so you avoid a conflict that basically doesn't exist except in your mind.

The problem with separate but equal terminlogy is that the vocabulary of "marriage" is simply too deeply entrenched in the language and legal system to arbitrarily change either religion's or the laws vocabulary.

If you change government's terminolgy, then existing and historical precedents fall to a purely religious context. If you change religions, then cneturies worth of religious writings suddenly refer only to a secular institution.

The functions of the "Holy Matrimony" and "Civil Wedding" are already separate and distinct and your insistance that they are legally comingled is disingenuous. Changes to the rules for Civil Weddings have no effect on the rules for Holy Matrimony and vice versa; they are legally separate and distinct already and would remain so if the rules for Civil Weddings change yet again.

Kimon
08-08-2010, 09:08 PM
Personally, I don't care what you call either arrangement. I got bamboo'd at the church and the judge signed my carpetbagger liscence. Whatever.

For expedience - and also because I dont give a shit what it is called - let the church have "marriage." They will never give up on asserting control over the term. The longer the term is a wedge issue with no real meaning, the longer my gay friends have to go without being recognized by the state as having a legal relationship.

To me, that is a compromise I am happy to make.

I suppose we could revert to a more historic definition of legal marriage, and use the Latin term for that- conubium, and let the religions keep their so-called religiously loaded term- marriage, for what they perform. But, if we do that, we should to make sure to "render onto Caesar" and make sure that all legal perks of "marriage" now only applied to those who were yoked in conubium.

I suppose the religious could get an empty perk and claim that unless you also performed that ceremony that they would retain the right to declare your offspring bastards...

Uno
08-08-2010, 09:12 PM
Harold, Uno, read the link I posted regarding the history of marriage in English common law. It was not, historically speaking, just a civil institution.

Well, I'm not an expert on the legal situation, but I'm not actually willing to to concede the historial supremacy of the law in defintions of marriage. Because, you know, historically laws have been pretty damn normative, and the norms they've promoted have been the norms of the elites. When you examine actual practice, you find that ordinary people--and even local governmental officials and clergy--operated with different definitions of what constituted a valid marriage.

Technically, an Anglican clergyman was supposed to officiate a marriage in England (at least by sometime in the eighteenth century), but no religious ceremony was actually required, and many people who thought of themselves as married, and were considered married couples by their neighbors and local communities, never had clerical participation.

The situation in the colonies was also different from that in England. Outside of areas with an Anglican establishment, it was often the case that marriage was a purely civil institution. The Congregationalist establishment of New England especially rejected the notion that marriage was a religious institution. They insisted that it was civil. In colonial New England, magistrates officiated, not clergy. The struggle over the definition of marriage was quite simply one of the issues that separated the Puritans from the mainstream Anglican church. Possibly a matter of some relevance in an American context.

I also feel it's too simplistic to think that an institution was religious just because it fell under the jurisdiction of ecclesiastical courts. So did sexual matters, but are we really willing to concede that intercourse is religious? In the colonies, of course, there were no ecclesiastical courts, but when we're dealing with societies that sacralized the entire social order, it's not easy to single anything out as specifically religious, apart, I suppose, from concrete acts of worship.

Besides, the Anglican church was an arm of the English state. Priests or ministers were government agents, and the civil and the religious is not easy to disentangle in such a case. Dissenting ministers, of course, could not legally wed people in the eyes of the English government, because they were not state officials. And if you asked an Anglican clergyman, they were barely better than pagans--or maybe even Catholics!

If you'll indulge my ramblings, I'm reminded a lot of the journal of the Rev. Charles Woodmason, an inadvertently humourous Anglican who messed about in the backcountry of South Carolina in the 1760s. According to him, no one out there was actually married, because he was the only Anglican clergyman for hundreds of miles around, and he only arrived in 1765. Other people had magistrates or dissenting clergy officiate, but that wasn't good enough in his eyes. There are reasons why he ran into so much difficulty out there, including having Presbyterians interrupt his sermons with staged dog fights.

When I consider these things, I'm struck by how much the definition of marriage tends to be a running target. It's hard to pin down what marriage was at any given time, because the exact meaning of the term has so often been contested.

Sinistrum
08-08-2010, 10:34 PM
The word marriage comes with a high degree of prestige attached to it. I'm unwilling to let the religious get a monopoly on that. The fact that the very term marriage confers so much legitimacy is obvious from the unwillingness of gay activists to settle for terms such as "same sex civil unions," or whatever.

And see that is why I view gay activists as asking for just as much special treatment as religious activists currently get. Neither is entitled to the prestige and social legitimacy the legal definition of marriage currently connotes. It comes back to the point I made earlier. You can't legislate people to be nice to one another. This isn't just about equality under the law for them. This about forced social acceptance, and that is something they are not entitled to under the law.

So just how many tax dollars are YOU willing to spend to change centuries of law and custom to read "domestic partner" instead of "spouse", "wife" or Husband" where the staus quo has entenched the vocabulary of "Marriage" into law and custom?

As much as it takes to get it right which I suspect would not be close to what you imagine it would be. But hey then again, I guess we should just go ahead and give up on parts of the Constitution because it may cost too much to enforce properly, right?

or how do you plan to get religions around the world to give up the vocabulary of "Marriage" so you avoid a conflict that basically doesn't exist except in your mind.

Not a single cent. Unless of course you really want to go back to my proposed idea of repealing the 1st amendment.

If you change government's terminolgy, then existing and historical precedents fall to a purely religious context.

No they don't at all. Retro-active legislation is a wonderful thing. All you would need to do is insert a clause to saying "Yeah remember back when we refered to this group of collective rights as marriage? Yeah just replace that with civil union." Problem solved and precedent preserved.

Changes to the rules for Civil Weddings have no effect on the rules for Holy Matrimony and vice versa; they are legally separate and distinct already and would remain so if the rules for Civil Weddings change yet again.

And yet religions are already being forced to have their public activities conform to the new rules benefittings gays on the basis of discrimination law. Your inability to acknowledge that the civil institute affects the religious institution does not make it so and you've yet to do anything other than state this. I've provided you clear and convincing evidence that this is not the case, which heretofore, you've not even acknowledged.

GonzoTheGreat
08-09-2010, 05:09 AM
The U.S. government also prosecutes those who engage in animal sacrifice. Your point? The reasons for that have nothing to do with whether they think they have the right to decide whether the religious practice is valid or not. The reason we prosecute animal sacrifice is because of public health and safety concerns as well as reasons having to do with treating animals humanely.Yes, if there is a valid secular purpose to it, then the government can make rules that touch upon domains which (some) religions claim. In the USA, this is commonly judged by using the Lemon test (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemon_test#Lemon_test), as you may know.

So, in the case of marriage, the government does have a clear secular purpose: legal marriage (the exact equivalent of the civil unions you want, but with a different label).

As for bigamy, even assuming that the government did decide to outlaw it based upon a comfort with defining marriage, a. that reasoning is constitutionally wrong and b. there are similar public safety concerns, most notably anti-sex trafficking and anti-child abuse concerns, that led to its outlaw outside of the issue of marriage. Furthermore, as I've already said, I'm not necessarily sure that bigamy is all that bad or necessarily SHOULD be outlawed as long as its between consenting adults.First, that would seem to suggest you think multi-person marriages should be legal. Which may be a valid viewpoint, but not one with which the law agrees, currently, and consequently not one a judge should endorse from the bench.
Second, if you apply that exact same argument to gay marriage, then you will find that there isn't a valid secular objection to that as well, so that too should be allowed. And in that case, as this judge ruled, there isn't a valid legal objection to it either, so he ruled that the ban was illegal.

First off, the Constitution grants the government the specific right to set rules for immigration.Is it really immigration if one is a US citizen?
I think those are two different things.

Second off, what I'm saying is that all of the rights you are talking about SHOULD not be with associated with marriage. I'm not saying they aren't currently. I'M SAYING THEY SHOULDN'T BE.Suppose the judge fully agrees with your political platform here. Then on what basis is he supposed to rule?
His political ideals, or the actual law?

That, as far as I can see, is the crucial difference between us here. I agree with at least some (most, actually, in this case) of your political views on marriage, though I think they are too impracticable to actually use. But I do not think that a judge should ignore the law and rule based on personal preference only, not even when I sort of agree with that preference.
Caveat: in some cases, I do think that judges should simply ditch the law and let justice prevail. But this isn't one of those rare cases.

Third off, what I'm talking about is not the current reality of policy moron. I'm talking about what the U.S. government SHOULD be doing. I openly admit that religious idiots have incorporated their dogma into the concept of marriage in government. I'm saying IT SHOULD NOT BE THAT WAY AND ITS NOT CONSTITUTIONAL THAT IT IS.That is something I disagree with, at least in this case.
I admit that a good case could be made that marriage as it currently exists in the USA has too many entanglements of state and church. But as far as I can see, the actual issue here is that the judge ignored those entanglements and ruled only on the law. Which, of course, is a step towards untangling the web, and thus a good thing in general.

You are apparently so fucking dense that you cannot comprehend the word "should" in my arguments and can only argue as if what I'm saying should be the case really is.I thought that you were arguing what the law was, and what the judge should have done according to the law.

I admit that I had failed to pick up that from a legal point of view, you agree with the ruling, but disagree with the laws on which it was based.

GonzoTheGreat
08-09-2010, 06:55 AM
A small aside:
I quite often hear in discussions like this that legal marriage should be replaced by civil unions. The argument is that this would be simple, it could be implemented quickly, and it would be non-controversial.

Yet it does not happen. There are a couple of explanations for this, of course.
Perhaps it is not as simple as it seems.
Perhaps it is not as non-controversial as claimed.
Or perhaps no one wants to bother, preferring either to keep the discriminatory current practice or wanting to get rid of the discrimination and have marriage available without prejudice.

Whatever the explanation, I do not believe that civil unions are a viable alternative, specifically because I do not see any actual evidence that they are.

Neilbert
08-09-2010, 10:15 AM
It's already been said. It's a simple and somewhat elegant solution that solves the problem quite well and will never ever be implemented.

Of course, I still haven't been convinced that legalizing gay marriage will violate churches rights. Sinistrum's NPR article about a Church being forced to allow a gay couple to use their public pavilion for a wedding ceremony (and not being forced to marry them like he claimed) would read the exact same in a world in which marriage was a completely private affair and the government was only involved in civil unions.

Sinistrum
08-09-2010, 01:55 PM
Yes, if there is a valid secular purpose to it, then the government can make rules that touch upon domains which (some) religions claim. In the USA, this is commonly judged by using the Lemon test, as you may know.

So, in the case of marriage, the government does have a clear secular purpose: legal marriage (the exact equivalent of the civil unions you want, but with a different label).

If you read the link you'll notice that there are two more prongs to the Lemon test Gonzo of which the legal institution of marriage utterly fails to pass.

The first is that the primary purpose of such law cannot be to promote or inhibit religion. I think its pretty clear at this point one of the primary pushes for gay marriage is to attack bigotry against gays that is the product of legitimately held religious belief. If that were otherwise, there wouldn't be so much resistance to civil unions as a compromise position. That counts as "inhibiting" religion.

Even stronger is that the law must avoid excessive entanglement with religion. Marriage laws, given their genesis, how they are currently performed in most cases, and the religious significance they hold to a lot of people fail spectacularly in that regard.

Suppose the judge fully agrees with your political platform here. Then on what basis is he supposed to rule?

I've already stated the basis and its not just a political platform. He should have ruled that prop. 8 was unconstitutional on the basis of the 1st Amendment free exercise (and probably) and establishment clauses. Constitutional provisions = law. Furthermore they equal SUPREME law. So yes, current state and federal law on marriage recognizes it as a legal institution and grant all sorts of benefits. I've never argued against that being true. What I'm saying is that Constitutional law can and should override those current laws on marriage and therefore all of those laws should be deemed invalid as they are currently constructed under the Constitution. I'm not just conjuring this idea from thin air or political oblivion.

nameless
08-09-2010, 06:25 PM
Sini, your representation of that link from NPR is kind of misleading. The article says the Methodists were forced to allow the gay couple to use their pavilion. They were not forced to provide a Methodist minister or perform the marriage ceremony themselves. The free exercise clause prohibits any government agency from mandating that a religious organization perform a ceremony they don't want to perform, just like it ensures the Defense of Marriage Act will not ever actually prevent any gay couples from receiving church weddings if they can ever find a church willing to perform the ceremony.

That said, all your other arguments are right on the money. "Marriage" is presently used to describe both holy matrimony and civil marriages, and the easiest way to overcome the inevitable confusion between the two is to abolish civil marriage entirely and replace it with something that serves the same function without getting any religious wacko's panties in a bunch. Dissolution of the institution of civil marriage will pave the way for a much-needed redefinition of kinship laws. Presently the only relationships recognized or protected by law are blood kinship and romantic partners who intend to raise children together. There is no reason two best friends who are not romantically interested in each other should not be allowed to declare themselves family and adopt children together. The current model of social relationships is a holdover from the days of the "extended family" paradigm when everyone stayed put and lived in the same village as dozens of their relatives and every marriage joined two families together and not just two people. The current "modular nuclear family" paradigm of one man, one woman, and one child is woefully insufficient to meet the social needs of the people involved.

@Gonzo - it's easy to look at this debate and see American Christianity as a collection of knee-jerk reactionaries hell-bent on repressing all the minorities they can get their hands on, which is more a result of media coverage of the debate than it is the reality of the situation. An ever-increasing number of American Christians are vocally supporting civil rights for gay couples. One of the things that dissappoints me the most about the way the issue is being covered is the way it's presented as if religion were on one side of the issue and civil rights the other, where one side talks about scripture and the other side about fairness. There's plenty of scripture that could support legalizing gay marriage, most notably the famous "give unto Caesar" speech where Jesus acknowledges the authority of secular goverment to preside over secular issues like taxes and marriage licenses.

Weird Harold
08-09-2010, 06:38 PM
"Marriage" is presently used to describe both holy matrimony and civil marriages, and the easiest way to overcome the inevitable confusion between the two is to abolish civil marriage entirely and replace it with something that serves the same function without getting any religious wacko's panties in a bunch.

No the easiest way to avoid confusion is educate people that marriage has two meanings; a religious sacrement for some religions and a legal contract between two consenting adults.

Anyone who has ever been married or participated in a marriage as a witness should understand the distinction and to anyone else, it is largely irrelevant. The only "confusion" exists because people like Sini need to find some justification for denying same sex couple the same rights and priveleges hetero couple enjoy from the legal contract meaning of "Marriage."

Sinistrum
08-09-2010, 06:49 PM
The only "confusion" exists because people like Sini need to find some justification for denying same sex couple the same rights and priveleges hetero couple enjoy from the legal contract meaning of "Marriage."

Ok, so how does substituting marriage for civil union and allowing gays to have those deny anyone equal rights or priveleges?

Terez
08-09-2010, 08:31 PM
Ok, so how does substituting marriage for civil union and allowing gays to have those deny anyone equal rights or priveleges?
Same as it is every time this debate comes up. Marriage has social connotations for secular people, and even same-sex couple. It's an ideal of a romantic partnership and lifelong commitment. The name is just a semantic issue, but (sorry nameless, but it's true) on the one side you've got (mostly) religious people who want to deny that ideal to other people, and on the other side you've an oppressed minority. To change the name just to deny that ideal to same-sex couples is a slap in the face, and serves no purpose but to appease those who would impose their own religious views on others.

I agree with nameless about the molecular family being outdated, but I think that is a separate issue. Civil partnerships for non-traditional families can exist alongside marriage.

Sinistrum
08-09-2010, 08:38 PM
Same as it is every time this debate comes up. Marriage has social connotations for secular people, and even same-sex couple. It's an ideal of a romantic partnership and lifelong commitment. The name is just a semantic issue, but (sorry nameless, but it's true) on the one side you've got (mostly) religious people who want to deny that ideal to other people, and on the other side you've an oppressed minority. To change the name just to deny that ideal to same-sex couples is a slap in the face, and serves no purpose but to appease those who would impose their own religious views on others.

A. What about calling secular marriage civil unions prevents gays from calling their relationship marriage or getting married in the religious sense in a church that accepts them or ignoring those people who would deny that they are married?

B. What makes gay people legally entitled to those social connotations and therefore the social acceptance that goes along with it when nobody else gets legally mandated social acceptance? To put it another way, why is social acceptance a "legal right or privelege" and why are gays the only ones seem to get it under your scheme?

Ivhon
08-09-2010, 08:42 PM
Same as it is every time this debate comes up. Marriage has social connotations for secular people, and even same-sex couple. It's an ideal of a romantic partnership and lifelong commitment. The name is just a semantic issue, but (sorry nameless, but it's true) on the one side you've got (mostly) religious people who want to deny that ideal to other people, and on the other side you've an oppressed minority. To change the name just to deny that ideal to same-sex couples is a slap in the face, and serves no purpose but to appease those who would impose their own religious views on others.

I agree with nameless about the molecular family being outdated, but I think that is a separate issue. Civil partnerships for non-traditional families can exist alongside marriage.

Except that what is keeping gay couples from being married is NOT churches. It is the intrusion of SOME churches' views into secular law. Remove that intrusion - neither straight NOR gay couples get a state marriage - and gay couples are free to get married in any church, any where, that will marry them. And if none will, then they can start their own church and get married there.

We the People - or our government - do not have the right to legislate that churches cannot be bigoted hateful institutions if they so choose. So long as that bigotry and hatred do not have material consequence - which it would not if the two versions of marriage were completely separated.

Terez
08-09-2010, 08:49 PM
A. What about calling secular marriage civil unions prevents gays from calling their relationship marriage or getting married in the religious sense in a church that accepts them or ignoring those people who would deny that they are married?
Nothing prevents them from calling it whatever they want to. That's not the point. Changing the name of the legal institution in this context is discriminatory, and serves no purpose but to appease those who would impose their own religious views on others.

B. What makes gay people legally entitled to those social connotations and therefore the social acceptance that goes along with it when nobody else gets legally mandated social acceptance?
This sentence went in a circle and became a straw man. Legally, nothing entitles them to those social connotations. That is the problem. The social acceptance is another factor altogether, and has nothing to do with what I'm arguing. You can't legally mandate social acceptance. There simply isn't a good reason to change the name of the institution in this case. It's a needless, and the situation surrounding the suggestion makes it discriminatory.

Except that what is keeping gay couples from being married is NOT churches. It is the intrusion of SOME churches' views into secular law.
I don't think that churches should be forced to marry anyone. I just think it should be legally permissible for churches to marry same-sex couples.

Sinistrum
08-09-2010, 09:10 PM
Changing the name of the legal institution in this context is discriminatory, and serves no purpose but to appease those who would impose their own religious views on others.

But if nothing is stopping them from calling their relationship marriage, or getting married in a church or ignoring those who would deny their marriage in a civil union system, please explain how religion's view of marriage is being imposed upon them? Seems to me that if everything is boiled down to civil unions, and they are free to call their relationship marriage and ignore religion's definition of it, nothing is being imposed upon them at all.

There simply isn't a good reason to change the name of the institution in this case. It's a needless, and the situation surrounding the suggestion makes it discriminatory.

A. go click the links about the free exercise and establishment clause (in particular the lemon test). By my count those are two good reasons to change the name.

B. Secondly, so religions discriminate. So what? People discriminate all the time. KKK members don't associate with blacks and pretty much think they're trash. That is discrimination. And yet we aren't arresting them off the street for that social ostricism or mandating they stop. Jocks in high school make fun of and pick on nerds. That is discrimination that nobody seems to care about. I don't hang out with people who have lengthy or serious criminal records because of my profession. That is discrimination. How is that anybodies business but mine? And more importantly how is any of that the government's job to fix?

I don't think that churches should be forced to marry anyone. I just think it should be legally permissible for churches to marry same-sex couples.

And what about civil unions stops churches who are so inclined from doing this?

Ivhon
08-09-2010, 09:29 PM
Nothing prevents them from calling it whatever they want to. That's not the point. Changing the name of the legal institution in this context is discriminatory, and serves no purpose but to appease those who would impose their own religious views on others.


This sentence went in a circle and became a straw man. Legally, nothing entitles them to those social connotations. That is the problem. The social acceptance is another factor altogether, and has nothing to do with what I'm arguing. You can't legally mandate social acceptance. There simply isn't a good reason to change the name of the institution in this case. It's a needless, and the situation surrounding the suggestion makes it discriminatory.


I don't think that churches should be forced to marry anyone. I just think it should be legally permissible for churches to marry same-sex couples.

Last paragraph first. This is exactly what Sini is saying.

First paragraphs last:

A) If the secular arrangement under the law is changed in name only and applies to all couples - gay or straight - how is that discriminatory? Straight couples would have ZERO economic or legal advantages over gay couples - which is not the case now. Everybody gets treated the same under the law in the hypothetical situation = not discriminatory. Straight couples having significant economic and legal advantages denied from gay couples as we have now = discriminatory. Sini is arguing against the discriminatory legal situation that exists today.

B) With the removal of religious overtones into secular law, churches would be free to provide the sacrement of marriage to gay couples if they so choose - which they cannot do now in most states because of the bans. There are many many churches that would be happy to perform the rights (most Episcopal churches in the US, for example) if a couple wants a church marriage. If not, saying "we are married" in front of friends and a witness makes you married and there is nothing a church can say about it because they have no recourse. Again, anti-discriminatory.

Weird Harold
08-09-2010, 09:34 PM
Ok, so how does substituting marriage for civil union and allowing gays to have those deny anyone equal rights or priveleges?
Apparently you haven't read any of my posts.

"Marriage" carrys an entire vocabulary of terms that modifiy inheritance, guardianship, adoption rights, insurance rates, etc. Civil Unions, domestic partnerships, and all of the other "separate but equal" alternatives to "marriage" do NOT carry the vocabulary and automatic legal associations tied to that vocabulary.

People in domestic partnerships and civil unions are discriminated against because while Spouse is the top of the hierarchy of next-of-kin, domestic partner isn't even on the list and a homophobic brother can challenge even a written will and deny a "domestic partner" of vistation rights to a dying partner and claim the late partner's entire estate.

You figure out a way to separate Civil Weddings from Holy Matrimony while retaining the legal status of "spouse" -- without tying up the court system for decades trying to enforce it -- then by all means separate the two semantically.

In the meantime, quit whining about separation of churchand state because they're already separated and anyone directly affected by either institution knows where the line is.

My first wife's parish priest refused to marry us (because we were young and stupid) but the county clerk and justice of the peace had no problem taking our money and making us legally married. The Catholic Church was still free to refuse her communion, or even excommunicate her without making fuckall difference to our legal status. However, without that document titled "Marriage License" witnessed and notarized, the Airforce wasn't going to issue her an ID card or let her shop in the Commisary or BX and I wasn't going to get a married rate housing allowance.

If I was to eneter into a "domestic partnership" or "civil union" with someone (of either sex), the Airforce would not issue them a dependent ID card unless the document certifying the legal status was headed "Marriage license."

The relevant regulations would have to be revised and reprinted to add "or equivalent document" to every occurance of "upon presentation of a marriage certificate" or similar wording. That's around 15-20 regulations for each branch of the service -- AND the enabling legislation would have to be amended also.

The dual nature of "marriage" is no problem except where opponents of gay rights want to create a "separate but equal" legal classification so that bigots and homophobes can continue to discriminate against people who don't conform to a narrow fundamentalist christian morality.

Sinistrum
08-09-2010, 09:46 PM
Apparently you haven't read any of my posts.

"Marriage" carrys an entire vocabulary of terms that modifiy inheritance, guardianship, adoption rights, insurance rates, etc. Civil Unions, domestic partnerships, and all of the other "separate but equal" alternatives to "marriage" do NOT carry the vocabulary and automatic legal associations tied to that vocabulary.

No, its you who aren't apparently reading my posts. The entire point behind changing legal marriage to a civil union is that all of those rights that you keep harping on are included in the new concept of civil union. Reading comprehension apparently isn't your strong suit because if you had been reading my posts you would have gotten that by now. In keeping with that vein.

You figure out a way to separate Civil Weddings from Holy Matrimony while retaining the legal status of "spouse" -- without tying up the court system for decades trying to enforce it -- then by all means separate the two semantically.

In the meantime, quit whining about separation of churchand state because they're already separated and anyone directly affected by either institution knows where the line is.

I've already provided a solution to that. Or did you miss the part where I said this?

No they don't at all. Retro-active legislation is a wonderful thing. All you would need to do is insert a clause to saying "Yeah remember back when we refered to this group of collective rights as marriage? Yeah just replace that with civil union." Problem solved and precedent preserved.

Your precedential problem is such an easy fix that its down right laughable that you would cling to it as a reason for not changing legal marriage to civil union. Furthermore, you want to talk tying up the court system and the costs associated, what the hell do you think is going on now? Or did you miss the part where Prop. 8 was overturned in a lawsuit? Finally, you've yet to address any of the legitimate Constitutional arguments I've made. All you've done is offhandedly dismiss them. So yeah, until you can actually refute those arguments instead of just ignoring them, take your whining comment and shove it.

nameless
08-09-2010, 10:07 PM
No the easiest way to avoid confusion is educate people that marriage has two meanings; a religious sacrement for some religions and a legal contract between two consenting adults.


If you think education is an easy solution you've obviously never been involved in the process. Who designs the curriculum? What happens in districts whose schoolboards don't approve the new lessons, or schools whose PTAs don't approve? The religious right has had far more success influencing schoolboards than they have the government (disregarding the recent shift to the right in the GOP, which is a whole other issue). Part of the reason Prop 8 passed in the first place was a media campaign falsely claiming plans to introduce a "pro-gay family" agenda in public school lesson plans. Voters who don't care about gay rights one way or the other will get up in arms if they think you're trying to indoctrinate their children for a political cause.

Weird Harold
08-09-2010, 10:18 PM
No, its you who aren't apparently reading my posts. The entire point behind changing legal marriage to a civil union is that all of those rights that you keep harping on are included in the new concept of civil union.
...
Finally, you've yet to address any of the legitimate Constitutional arguments I've made. All you've done is offhandedly dismiss them. So yeah, until you can actually refute those arguments instead of just ignoring them, take your whining comment and shove it.

There is no point to changing legal marriage to "civil union" except to segregate those who do not have a religious ceremony from those who do.

Separating Holy Matrimony semantically from Civil wedding does nothing unless your proposed separation included forbidding the deputization of Clergy to certify Civil Weddings so that anyone wishing to have both a civil union and a religious marriage have to have two separate ceremonies.

If you take your first amendment strawman to the logical end, every clergy formerly deputized/licensed to sign marriage certificates (and paid by the church and/or bridal couple will have to be replaced by a Judge or Justice of the Peace paid for by tax dollars -- or greatly increased marriage license fees.

It seems a great deal of turmoil to create just to establish a semantic distinction that already exists and will be ignored by everyone -- except possibly lawyers.

Weird Harold
08-09-2010, 10:30 PM
If you think education is an easy solution you've obviously never been involved in the process. Who designs the curriculum? What happens in districts whose schoolboards don't approve the new lessons, or schools whose PTAs don't approve?

Schools are not the only source of education. The notorious "Just Say No" campaign against drugs was an "education campaign" that had nothing to do with the education system. There was a concurrent and related drug education program in schools, but "Just Say No" was a purely media based drug education campaign.

A similar educational ad campaign could be mounted by either government or non-government funding or a saturday morning cartoon filler like Schoolhouse Rock could be used.

Gay characters on soap operas and sitcoms have done more to create acceptance of alternate lifestyles than all of the formal education/religious indoctrination classes in history have done to suppress alternate life styles.

Sinistrum
08-09-2010, 10:33 PM
There is no point to changing legal marriage to "civil union" except to segregate those who do not have a religious ceremony from those who do.

Yeah that really there isn't any point to having a high wall of separation between church and state and honoring those pesky 1st amendment clauses in the Constitution. Aside from honoring the rule of law instead of the preferences of individuals, constraining government power for going into places it doesn't belong, legally and lawfully ensuring equal protection under the law as opposed to illegally doing it, preventing the setting of precedent for rights that you obviously don't care about that could then be used to infringe rights that you do care about, making sure people have fair notice of what the law is by making sure the law means what it says and says what it means, and preventing the wishes of some from defining the rights of all of course. But those aren't important goals apparently. :rolleyes: Especially in light of and compared to money.

If you take your first amendment strawman to the logical end, every clergy formerly deputized/licensed to sign marriage certificates (and paid by the church and/or bridal couple will have to be replaced by a Judge or Justice of the Peace paid for by tax dollars -- or greatly increased marriage license fees.

And if the goal is to disallow religious leaders who are opposed to gay marriage to have a say who is gets the legal rights of marriage, how is this an unnecessary inconvenience? Taking the power of who gets married away from those who oppose gay marriage is part of the point of this.

It seems a great deal of turmoil to create just to establish a semantic distinction that already exists

I see we've reached the point in your argument where you make unjustified statements and pretend they are fact without any backing. Repeating a statement over and over again doesn't make it true. Provide me links or legal sources supporting the distinction or the non-impact of the legal definition of marriage on the religious one. Journal articles, news pieces, something! If you can't do that then you need to stop asserting that the two are completely separate and have no impact on each other. Put up or shut up.

The notorious "Just Say No" campaign against drugs was an "education campaign" that had nothing to do with the education system. There was a concurrent and related drug education program in schools, but "Just Say No" was a purely media based drug education campaign

Yeah and we've seen how well that works. :rolleyes: Great success that war on drugs.

Frenzy
08-09-2010, 11:28 PM
These areguments are operating under the assumption that Civil Unions/Domestic Partnerships are legally identical to secular marriage. As WH pointed out with his military example, they are not. i searched, and found this Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_partnership_in_California#Differences_fro m_marriage)article that says they are not.

If they are not functionally and legally identical, then one group of people is being legally denied rights that another has access to. and THAT is unconstitutional, unless my Civics prof was full of shit. (which i wouldn't discount, but that's a different thread.)

The whole "i'll sue" mentality that Sinistrum mentions isn't too far-fetched, considering that sexual orientation and expression are legally protected classes, and the rules are different when dealing with protected classes. But the consequence of one group getting its tort panties in a bunch shouldn't matter when it comes to equality before the law.

Weird Harold
08-09-2010, 11:34 PM
Journal articles, news pieces, something!

Can any clergy member sign a marriage certificate? Only if he is also licensed as an "officer of the court" to perform marriages.

Can a justice of the peace officiate at a wedding mass? Only if he's also an ordained clergyman.

I though lawyers were suposed to be smart enough to deal with simple concepts -- but apparently you have never been married or weren't paying attention when the distinction between civil and religious marriages was explained.

Google is your friend: http://www.google.com/search?q=%22%22who+can+perform+marriages%22&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

The exact qualifications vary in almost every jurisdiction, ranging from blanket authorization to clergy to requirement for certification by the health department alone(Hawaii :rolleyes:) But a marriage isn't legal without a certificate from the government signed by someone authorized by the government -- that those authorized by the government to sign certificates are often also authorized by their religion to officiate over the sacrement of holy matrimony is irrelevant because that is NOT a requirement to sign the marriage certificate.

There is a HUGE difference between allowing clergy to act, as individuals, as officers of the court and requiring them to act as officers of the court (or whatever term the local jurisdiction uses for "marriage officiants.")

In some jurisdictions, qualification as a Notary Public is the minimum required to perform marriages -- the corollary is that any clergy member who can perform marriages in those jurisdictions is also a notary public and can perform that secular function for their congregation without regard to separation of church and state. Just as an atheist Notary Public working at Kinko's can perform the "religious" function of officiating a marriage.

Ozymandias
08-09-2010, 11:37 PM
Same as it is every time this debate comes up. Marriage has social connotations for secular people, and even same-sex couple. It's an ideal of a romantic partnership and lifelong commitment. The name is just a semantic issue, but (sorry nameless, but it's true) on the one side you've got (mostly) religious people who want to deny that ideal to other people, and on the other side you've an oppressed minority. To change the name just to deny that ideal to same-sex couples is a slap in the face, and serves no purpose but to appease those who would impose their own religious views on others.

I agree with nameless about the molecular family being outdated, but I think that is a separate issue. Civil partnerships for non-traditional families can exist alongside marriage.

Well, actually, the issue is far more complicated from the gay point of view. Marriage brings with it some pretty serious economic benefits in terms of taxation and the like, so while its a matter of semantics for people who want solely heterosexual couples, its very important for same sex couples.

I always find it interesting that it seems to be the same demographics oppressing minorities, be it in terms of not wanting same sex couples, not wanting interracial marriage, etc... I'm lookin at you, Christian fundies!

Terez
08-09-2010, 11:41 PM
Yes, we all know there are differences in marriage and civil unions, so far as legal benefits go. Sini has always said that he thinks the benefits should be the same, so that's not what the argument is about.

Frenzy
08-09-2010, 11:57 PM
I always find it interesting that it seems to be the same demographics oppressing minorities, be it in terms of not wanting same sex couples, not wanting interracial marriage, etc... I'm lookin at you, Christian fundies!
um, dude? This is a thread about Prop 8 in California. In California, there ARE no majorities. No single group has more than 50% +1 of the population in their tent.

Except democrats. So it could be said that Democrats passed Prop 8.

Terez
08-09-2010, 11:58 PM
But for the exit polls.

Weird Harold
08-09-2010, 11:59 PM
The whole "i'll sue" mentality that Sinistrum mentions isn't too far-fetched,

As far as I can see, the only people who would benefit from Sini's proposed semantic separation of secular contract and religious sacrament are the tort lawyers.

yks 6nnetu hing
08-10-2010, 03:44 AM
My first wife's parish priest refused to marry us (because we were young and stupid) but the county clerk and justice of the peace had no problem taking our money and making us legally married. The Catholic Church was still free to refuse her communion, or even excommunicate her without making fuckall difference to our legal status. However, without that document titled "Marriage License" witnessed and notarized, the Airforce wasn't going to issue her an ID card or let her shop in the Commisary or BX and I wasn't going to get a married rate housing allowance.

If I was to eneter into a "domestic partnership" or "civil union" with someone (of either sex), the Airforce would not issue them a dependent ID card unless the document certifying the legal status was headed "Marriage license."

The relevant regulations would have to be revised and reprinted to add "or equivalent document" to every occurance of "upon presentation of a marriage certificate" or similar wording. That's around 15-20 regulations for each branch of the service -- AND the enabling legislation would have to be amended also.

The dual nature of "marriage" is no problem except where opponents of gay rights want to create a "separate but equal" legal classification so that bigots and homophobes can continue to discriminate against people who don't conform to a narrow fundamentalist christian morality.

You know, this is a bit amusing because the main reason my parents didn't get married for very long was because my mom was registered as a single parent and got some government help. The reason they did eventually get married was to jump the housing queue and as a "young family" get an apartment. It's probably because of this that I have a very deep distrust for the traditional meaning of "marriage" - in the end it's really about nothing except two people enjoying some financial benefits together. All the lovey-dovey stuff has nothing at all to do with a legal marriage. In the eyes of the society (and certain religions), that is obviously not the case. It might be horribly cliche but love doesn't ask about money or status - although it is easier to keep love going with money and... um... not being discriminated against on a daily basis :rolleyes:

Well, actually, the issue is far more complicated from the gay point of view. Marriage brings with it some pretty serious economic benefits in terms of taxation and the like, so while its a matter of semantics for people who want solely heterosexual couples, its very important for same sex couples.

I always find it interesting that it seems to be the same demographics oppressing minorities, be it in terms of not wanting same sex couples, not wanting interracial marriage, etc... I'm lookin at you, Christian fundies!

not only the minorities in the traditional sense. Also the hetero couples who are not married for one reason or another - or, say, 80-year-old sisters who decide to live under the same roof to save some money or a single parent and their grown-up offspring who both contribute financially (meaning that the offspring is no longer a dependant of the parent). Personally, I think that Sini's proposed term "civil union" should apply to the 80-year-old sisters as well. They do form a household together, after all. Actually, the term "household" is key here, otherwise the legal status would get exploited to no end - the legal rights should go only to people who physically share the same household for... say... 70% of the time (to allow for travel and whatnot).

another way to solve the problem is to abolish the legal marriage all together. no-one gets special benefits, therefore no-one is discriminated. However, that is very unlikely to happen.

GonzoTheGreat
08-10-2010, 05:21 AM
Ok, so how does substituting marriage for civil union and allowing gays to have those deny anyone equal rights or priveleges?By not happening.

That whole "civil unions would do all that is needed, so gay people may not get married" is just a simple and obvious strawman.
I have asked (in this very thread) for actual evidence that someone is seriously working on implementing your scheme. You've ignored that, possibly because I did not ask clear enough.

So now I will ask it straight out: do you have any evidence at all that your proposal of replacing marriage by legally acknowledged civil unions with all the legal rights and obligations of current marriage has any chance of happening in, say, this century?
If it won't happen in this century, then it seems fair to say that virtually no living gay people would benefit from it. Yet if marriage were to be opened to gay people right now, then the religious bigots would have decades to work on separating marriage and civil union.

So, here's my proposal for you: first get rid of bigotry driven discrimination, then try to make the world perfect. Make sure that the legal rights of everyone are guaranteed, and then let the voters decide whether or not they want to separate religious marriage and civil union formally.

My first wife's parish priest refused to marry us (because we were young and stupid) but the county clerk and justice of the peace had no problem taking our money and making us legally married. The Catholic Church was still free to refuse her communion, or even excommunicate her without making fuckall difference to our legal status. However, without that document titled "Marriage License" witnessed and notarized, the Airforce wasn't going to issue her an ID card or let her shop in the Commisary or BX and I wasn't going to get a married rate housing allowance.The Airforce is a purely religious organisation with no secular purpose whatsoever, as you should very well know.

Alternatively, you could have sued them to formally acknowledge a civil union as legally equivalent to marriage. If things are as simple as Sinistrum claims, that wouldn't have taken you longer than, say, a week to get it through the courts.

Crispin's Crispian
08-10-2010, 11:38 AM
This may be the most repetetive thread, ever. This may be the most repetetive thread, ever.

I'm seeing arguments in the last 10 posts that had already been stated in the first page.

Since this may be the most repetetiv thread, ever, I'll repeat some things myself. Because, you know, if I come in and say them surely the arguments will sink in, right?

1) Sinistrum's plan (which isn't really his--it's been around for years...I remember thinking it was my idea like six years ago...but I'm sure it wasn't) is not discrimantory because it sets secular and religious couples on the same level. Rather than conferring the special title of "legally married" to heterosexual couples (a benefit they enjoy currently), it takes that title away. At the same time, it opens the door for legal unions for homosexual couples with the exact same rights and benefits as heterosexual couples.

And, as he pointed out, if any or all of them want to get married in a church, they are free to do so. This plan allows any couple to call itself married.

2) WH, I fail to see the point you're trying to make.

There is a HUGE difference between allowing clergy to act, as individuals, as officers of the court and requiring them to act as officers of the court (or whatever term the local jurisdiction uses for "marriage officiants.") Nothing about this plan would require the clergy to do anything different. If a Catholic priest didn't want to marry a gay couple, he wouldn't have to. However, that could could be married by an Episcopal minister down the street and still get the all legal benefits. Or, if they didn't want to get married religiously, they could still get united by an appointed official of the government.

Right now, in Oregon counties, you have to either be a judge or be a clergyperson of a certified church. So, if for some reason, all the certified clergypeople refused to marry gay couples, they would be placing an undue burden on the courts because of the requirement for a judge to officiate. Fortunately, there's the Universal Life Church (http://www.ulc.org/).

3) Gonzo's point is the best one so far. The idea Sinistrum is proposing would be fantastic in a perfect ideal world. However, it's not going to happen.

Weird Harold
08-10-2010, 04:51 PM
2) WH, I fail to see the point you're trying to make.
...
Right now, in Oregon counties, you have to either be a judge or be a clergyperson of a certified church.

The point is that Sini's "plan" is already in place except for the terminology.

To take your example of Oregon:

You are legally married in Oregon when an 'authorized marriage officiant' signs the marriage certificate. The legal wedding "ceremony" is five signatures on a piece of paper. That can happen before, after, during, or totally unrelated to, a celebration of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony -- which may or may not be performed by the same person who signed the marriage certificate.

The above was explained to the entire wedding party by the pastor of the church where my sister was married in 1965 during the rehearsal. As it turns out, she was "married" by two different clergymen; the pastor performed the civil service by signing the marriage certificate and the reverend emeritus who was semi-retired in our congregation performed the religious ceremony.

The functions of religious sacrament and civil union are already separate. The rights and responsibilities confered by the religious ceremony have no force in law except where they overlap those rights and responsibilities conferred by the civil ceremony.

For example, in the book of common prayer (http://www.bcponline.org/) the (traditional) wording for marriage vows is "love honor and cherish" for the man and "love honor and obey" for the woman. The religious rights and responsibilites in many faiths take that traditional wording literally and require the wife to obey her husband -- at least in religious matters -- but the wording of the vows have no legal force because they are not part of the "civil ceremony" of signing the marriage certificate.

(ETA: That link to the online book of common prayer doesn't have the traditional wording of "love honor and obey" it has the modern vows of love and cherish for both parties. It is however a denomination specific version: "According to the use of The Episcopal Church." the 1960's vintage Methodist version I'm most familiar with had both old-line and modern vows.)

There is a great deal of overlap in the religious institution of marriage and the legal institution of marraige, but only the latter matters when they disagree. Sini's plan for changing the name does nothing to change the separation -- except inconvenience those who want a religious ceremony bt requiring two people to officiate over two isolated ceremonies instead of allowing one person to perform both functions.

Designating clergy as "authorized marriage officiants" to certify legal marriages is for the convenience of the bridal couple There is nothing in law mandating the use of clergy to certify the marriage or to use clergy of any particular religion.

(There are some exceptions where Sini's desire for separation of church and state could use some reinforcement; IIRC, Arkansas is listed in one of the sites the google search I linked as authorizing ONLY clergy to officiate marriages; Judges, Justices/Clerks of the Peace and Notary Publics aren't permitted to perform marriages.)

Weird Harold
08-10-2010, 06:02 PM
WH, I fail to see the point you're trying to make.


There is a HUGE difference between allowing clergy to act, as individuals, as officers of the court and requiring them to act as officers of the court (or whatever term the local jurisdiction uses for "marriage officiants.")

A further clarification here.

Clergy are acting as individuals when they sign marriage certificates. The fact that they are deputized en masse by virtue of their position in the church or judicial system in most jurisdictions doesn't change the individual nature of the legal power to certify marriages. Any clergy member can decline to sign a marriage certificate, just as they can decline to celebrate the sacrement of holy matrimony for those not of his faith: A catholic priest cannot be compelled to marry a couple who do not meet the requirements for a catholic wedding -- this I know from personal experience. That principle still applies even when the catholic priest in question is a military chaplain who is required to be ecumenical.

Clergy are deputized as marriage officiants so that they can take care of the legal requirements for those they marry in their religious capacity as clergy. There is no requirement that they must perform the same legal function for those they do not serve in a religious capacity; although they are free to do so if they choose to.

Terez
08-10-2010, 06:59 PM
This may be the most repetetive thread, ever. This may be the most repetetive thread, ever.

I'm seeing arguments in the last 10 posts that had already been stated in the first page.

Since this may be the most repetetiv thread, ever, I'll repeat some things myself. Because, you know, if I come in and say them surely the arguments will sink in, right?

1) Sinistrum's plan (which isn't really his--it's been around for years...I remember thinking it was my idea like six years ago...but I'm sure it wasn't) is not discrimantory because it sets secular and religious couples on the same level. Rather than conferring the special title of "legally married" to heterosexual couples (a benefit they enjoy currently), it takes that title away. At the same time, it opens the door for legal unions for homosexual couples with the exact same rights and benefits as heterosexual couples.

And, as he pointed out, if any or all of them want to get married in a church, they are free to do so. This plan allows any couple to call itself married.
I will repeat myself as well, since I got you to agree with me on this point a year or two ago, but you seem to have forgotten:

It IS discriminatory because of timing and the purpose of the name change, not because of the letter of the hypothetical law. We all know he thinks benefits should be equal, but to completely revamp the cultural idea of marriage in order to deny same-sex couples 'marriage' is discriminatory, no matter how equal the new laws might be.

Davian93
08-10-2010, 07:15 PM
I will repeat myself as well, since I got you to agree with me on this point a year or two ago, but you seem to have forgotten:

It IS discriminatory because of timing and the purpose of the name change, not because of the letter of the hypothetical law. We all know he thinks benefits should be equal, but to completely revamp the cultural idea of marriage in order to deny same-sex couples 'marriage' is discriminatory, no matter how equal the new laws might be.

Methinks she makes a good point.

Ivhon
08-10-2010, 07:32 PM
My last shot.

Premise 1: Homosexual couples should be afforded the same rights and benefits under the law as straight couples. On this it seems everyone in this discussion agrees.

Premise 2: The constitutional right of churches - or indeed other private institutions - to be bigoted, gay-hating assholes is and should continue to be protected under the constitution, no matter how repugnant we may find those views. On this, it seems everyone in this discussion agrees.

Premise 3: Currently, the word "marriage" is used to describe - either concurrently or alternatively - a civil arrangement conferring legal rights and benefits including but not limited to inheritance rights, next of kin, etc. and a religious sacrament wherein a couple is witnessed and sanctified under their God as being a union. On this, it seems everyone in this discussion agrees.

Premise 4: Because of the confusion inherent from premise 3, certain groups of bigoted, gay-hating assholes have stirred public opinion and (so far) state governments to prohibit EITHER arrangement to be enjoyed by homosexual couples. This is because most of the sheeple who get their panties in a wad about this sort of thing are to stupid and uninformed to recognize the difference. On this, it seems everyone in this discussion agrees.

Premise 5: So long as the confusion inherent in premise 3 continues to exist, it is going to be a looooong uphill fight before previously referenced bigoted, gay-hating assholes are overturned in their desire to relegate homosexual couples to second-class status. On this, it seems everyone in this discussion agrees.

Premise 6: Sini subscribes to a possible HYPOTHETICAL solution that would satisfy the commonly agreed to goals and understandings of Premise 1 and Premise 2. On this, it seems everyone in this discussion agrees - save possibly WH (honestly, I dont get the point).

Premise 7: This hypothetical solution will not be forthcoming to reality any time soon. On this, everyone in this discussion agrees.

Premise 8: The language describing the secular arrangement that satisfies Premise 1 and the religious arrangement that satisfies Premise 2 should be clearly differentiated so as not to result in the confusion inherent in Premise 3. On this, everyone in this discussion agrees except WH and Terez (maybe).

Premise 9: What specific labels might be applied to arrangement 1 and arrangement 2 should not really matter. But they do. Because some folks insist that "marriage" be applied only to the secular arrangement and some insist that it only apply to the religious arrangement. On this, everyone in this discussion does not agree.

Premise 10: Because of Premise 9, Premise 7 exists. People cannot get past the symbolic meaning of a collection of squiggles on a page. And thus gay couples will have to wait an even longer time to enjoy the benefits of marriage...or spousehood...or bamboozling...or whatever squiggly lines you want to assemble.

Premise 11: Premise 10 is a god damn shame.

Sinistrum
08-10-2010, 08:17 PM
It IS discriminatory because of timing and the purpose of the name change, not because of the letter of the hypothetical law. We all know he thinks benefits should be equal, but to completely revamp the cultural idea of marriage in order to deny same-sex couples 'marriage' is discriminatory, no matter how equal the new laws might be.

You still haven't explained how my solution would deny gay people marriage. You've admitted that they can call themselves married, get married in a church that wants them, and ignore people who deny they are married. Where are they being denied marriage then?

Furthermore, yes, you are right, that part of the purpose of the name change is to allow religions to continue to discriminate. You've yet to explain why that matters or should be legally significant. As I've pointed out to you, religious practice as relates to gays is Constitutionally protected discrimination. Furthermore, another part of the purpose is to blunt the impact of that discrimination by taking away any and all legal force behind it. Under my solution they can continue to discriminate in their personal or religious lives, but cannot continue to do so by using the government and legal mechanisms. So what, precisely, is the problem?

Terez
08-10-2010, 08:25 PM
Premise 10: Because of Premise 9, Premise 7 exists.
I disagree. Because of Premises 4 and 5, Premise 7 exists, though I think Premise 5 will be conquered more quickly with the blunt force approach: equal rights, and get the fuck over it, as opposed to Premise 6. And that is what baffles me about Premise 8. How can you even compare bigotry with the oppressed minority, and then determine that it's the fault of the oppressed minority and those who sympathize rather than the fault of the bigots?

Also, Premise 9 is lacking in truth value. In fact, Premise 9 is two premises and a conclusion:

Premise A: What specific labels might be applied to arrangement 1 and arrangement 2 should not really matter. TRUE.

Premise B: [In spite of Premise A], they do. TRUE.

Conclusion: Because [of Premise B] some folks insist that "marriage" be applied only to the secular arrangement and some insist that it only apply to the religious arrangement. FALSE.

I don't think that marriage should only be secular. Marriage should continue to be both secular and religious, as it pretty much always has been. But there should be equal rights in the secular, legal aspect of the marriage process. Religions can continue to do marriage however they want to, up to and including their religious discrimination, but they should be allowed to marry same-sex couples if they so choose, and secular marriages performed by a non-clerical judge should not be allowed to discriminate based on sexual preference.

Sinistrum
08-10-2010, 09:04 PM
I don't think that marriage should only be secular. Marriage should continue to be both secular and religious, as it pretty much always has been. But there should be equal rights in the secular, legal aspect of the marriage process. Religions can continue to do marriage however they want to, up to and including their religious discrimination, but they should be allowed to marry same-sex couples if they so choose, and secular marriages performed by a non-clerical judge should not be allowed to discriminate based on sexual preference.

So basically you're ok with violating the Constitution when it meets your fancy. Gotcha.

Terez
08-10-2010, 09:13 PM
So basically you're ok with violating the Constitution when it meets your fancy. Gotcha.
No, you just haven't convinced me that the Constitution is being violated. Death is also a sacrament, and birth...

GonzoTheGreat
08-11-2010, 06:03 AM
Premise 8: The language describing the secular arrangement that satisfies Premise 1 and the religious arrangement that satisfies Premise 2 should be clearly differentiated so as not to result in the confusion inherent in Premise 3. On this, everyone in this discussion agrees except WH and Terez (maybe).I disagree with this. I do not believe that it possible to formulate a statement in such a way that everyone understands it properly, and consequently, no matter how carefully you differentiate the two, some people will misunderstand.
Waiting with removing discrimination until human nature has changed to such an extend that people are no longer capable of being stupid is not acceptable.

Of course, it should be clear when the legal meaning is intended, but is already clear right now.

Premise 9: What specific labels might be applied to arrangement 1 and arrangement 2 should not really matter. But they do. Because some folks insist that "marriage" be applied only to the secular arrangement and some insist that it only apply to the religious arrangement. On this, everyone in this discussion does not agree.Actually, I do not know of anyone who insists that "marriage" only be applied to the secular arrangement. I've suggested that any religious who can't live with gay marriage are free to start using "holy matrimony" exclusively, but I have not ever suggested they wouldn't have the right to call their silly sacrament "marriage" too.

Premise 10: Because of Premise 9, Premise 7 exists. People cannot get past the symbolic meaning of a collection of squiggles on a page. And thus gay couples will have to wait an even longer time to enjoy the benefits of marriage...or spousehood...or bamboozling...or whatever squiggly lines you want to assemble.

Premise 11: Premise 10 is a god damn shame.This I do agree with, apart from the nitpicks listed before.

You still haven't explained how my solution would deny gay people marriage.By not getting implemented.
I thought that I had made that rather clear.

Can you show me actual attempts to replace secular marriage by civil unions which are even half as successful (or half as vigorous, even) as the attempts to get civil marriage opened up to gay people?

You've admitted that they can call themselves married, get married in a church that wants them, and ignore people who deny they are married. Where are they being denied marriage then?In the legal arena. Those "play marriages" have no legal status at all.

Furthermore, yes, you are right, that part of the purpose of the name change is to allow religions to continue to discriminate. You've yet to explain why that matters or should be legally significant.It wouldn't be, of course, if there were not legal discrimination attached to it.

As I've pointed out to you, religious practice as relates to gays is Constitutionally protected discrimination.As is the KKK practice of discrimination of niggers. That too is Constitutionally protected. But that does not mean that bans on mixed race marriages are Constitutionally protected, even though at least some KKK members base their views on their religion.

What you still have to do is show that the US government is bound to incorporate religious discrimination in its laws, based on a Constitutional requirement that religious rules are not enshrined in law.

Furthermore, another part of the purpose is to blunt the impact of that discrimination by taking away any and all legal force behind it. Under my solution they can continue to discriminate in their personal or religious lives, but cannot continue to do so by using the government and legal mechanisms. So what, precisely, is the problem?That it does not happen.

Your proposal is "separate but equal" all over once again, and just as has always been the case, it does not work in practice. In this case, because it never will be more than a proposal, not even something that is discussed as a potential law in Congress.
It will not happen. But apart one single flaw from that, yes, it is a good idea. If the flaw weren't totally lethal to the whole proposal, then I would back you.

Davian93
08-11-2010, 08:52 AM
Seriously Gonzo...please stop using racial epitaphs in your post to make a point.

GonzoTheGreat
08-11-2010, 09:17 AM
Davian, what, apart from having another out-group, is the difference between banning mixed race marriages and banning gay marriages?
As far as I can see, in this case it is entirely relevant. If you can convince me that the epithet (an epitaph is a different beast) is irrelevant, then I won't use it.
But as it is, I strongly suspect that the "mixed race civil unions" card was played a couple of decades ago, and I doubt anything came of that.

Davian93
08-11-2010, 09:43 AM
Davian, what, apart from having another out-group, is the difference between banning mixed race marriages and banning gay marriages?
As far as I can see, in this case it is entirely relevant. If you can convince me that the epithet (an epitaph is a different beast) is irrelevant, then I won't use it.
But as it is, I strongly suspect that the "mixed race civil unions" card was played a couple of decades ago, and I doubt anything came of that.

I'm not arguing the point. I'm just requesting that you avoid certain words.

GonzoTheGreat
08-11-2010, 10:00 AM
I'm not arguing the point. I'm just requesting that you avoid certain words.I'm asking why I should avoid making the point as accurate as possible when the whole point is that it is actually as accurate as that.

yks 6nnetu hing
08-11-2010, 10:19 AM
I'm asking why I should avoid making the point as accurate as possible when the whole point is that it is actually as accurate as that.

I think that Dav's point is that the word you used is not on the same neutrality par with the word "gay". Or lack of neutrality, whichever you wish. I mean, I'm not very much into the slur lingo so I don't know for sure what would be the gay-equivalent but maybe you should have used something like "faggot"? to make your point as sharp as possible.

although, you know, using a bad word for the gay to balance out using a bad word for anyone else is not really ok either.

Davian93
08-11-2010, 10:31 AM
I think that Dav's point is that the word you used is not on the same neutrality par with the word "gay". Or lack of neutrality, whichever you wish. I mean, I'm not very much into the slur lingo so I don't know for sure what would be the gay-equivalent but maybe you should have used something like "faggot"? to make your point as sharp as possible.

although, you know, using a bad word for the gay to balance out using a bad word for anyone else is not really ok either.

The word Gonzo uses is a terrible word and its one that he knows better than to use but does anyway for the shock value of it. He's been asked on several occasions to stop and he continues to do so. Its very offensive, stop using it.

GonzoTheGreat
08-11-2010, 10:34 AM
I understand that, but my point is that the opposition to the mixed race marriages did not come from people who actually were willing to worry about such niceties, and the same is true in the case of the opposition to gay marriage.
Thus, those who oppose gay marriage are the modern equivalent of those who held strong prejudice against niggers in the days that mixed race marriages were prohibited.

So, I do not see any evidence for such neutrality as you ask for in the opposition to gay marriage. On the contrary, it seems quite blatant bigotry. If someone can convince me that I am wrong about this, then I will indeed cease using the n-word in this context.

Davian93
08-11-2010, 10:36 AM
I understand that, but my point is that the opposition to the mixed race marriages did not come from people who actually were willing to worry about such niceties, and the same is true in the case of the opposition to gay marriage.
Thus, those who oppose gay marriage are the modern equivalent of those who held strong prejudice against niggers in the days that mixed race marriages were prohibited.

So, I do not see any evidence for such neutrality as you ask for in the opposition to gay marriage. On the contrary, it seems quite blatant bigotry. If someone can convince me that I am wrong about this, then I will indeed cease using the n-word in this context.

Totally missing the point. Just stop using the word. Its very offensive.

Frenzy
08-11-2010, 10:37 AM
Totally missing the point.
This surprises you?

GonzoTheGreat
08-11-2010, 10:37 AM
Dav, I do not understand why reminding people of the evils of racism would be more offensive than actually perpetrating some of those evils against others would be.

Ivhon
08-11-2010, 10:48 AM
Dav, I do not understand why reminding people of the evils of racism would be more offensive than actually perpetrating some of those evils against others would be.

Gonzo. It may be a cultural thing. That word carries an amazing emotional charge for a lot of people. Using it casually as you are doing shows a great deal of disrespect. Particularly as there is absolutely no need to use that specific word to make your point. It does not increase the weight of your argument. It only offends.

So, recognizing that the word may not carry as much symbolism and weight in your culture as it might over here, could you please - simply out of respect for those for whom that word carries meaning - not use it. It isn't necessary.

Thank you

GonzoTheGreat
08-11-2010, 11:09 AM
I am definitely not using it casually. If I had been, then I would admit that I had underestimated the charge the word carries, and I would have stopped using it in this case.

I do notice that everyone is carping about that word I used, and no one makes any attempt at all to show a difference between the ban on mixed race marriages and the ban on gay marriages.

Ivhon
08-11-2010, 11:17 AM
I am definitely not using it casually. If I had been, then I would admit that I had underestimated the charge the word carries, and I would have stopped using it in this case.

I do notice that everyone is carping about that word I used, and no one makes any attempt at all to show a difference between the ban on mixed race marriages and the ban on gay marriages.

Precisely. You have distracted us all away from discussing your point by needlessly using an offensive word and dancing around that issue to show how clever an agent provocateur you are. Poor form and you know it.

GonzoTheGreat
08-11-2010, 11:23 AM
Precisely. You have distracted us all away from discussing your point by needlessly using an offensive word and dancing around that issue to show how clever an agent provocateur you are. Poor form and you know it.Or, to put it a bit differently: you avoid discussing the very real bigotry by pretending to be outraged about a couple of letters on a screen.

Or, to use the Marxist-Leninist technique of Hegelian dialectics:
We have shown with a combined effort that my point is correct about there being no real difference in the opposition to out-group marriage.

Ivhon
08-11-2010, 11:29 AM
Or, to put it a bit differently: you avoid discussing the very real bigotry by pretending to be outraged about a couple of letters on a screen.

Or, to use the Marxist-Leninist technique of Hegelian dialectics:
We have shown with a combined effort that my point is correct about there being no real difference in the opposition to out-group marriage.

Way to keep it abstract and theoretical. Go use that word in the ATL and see how much discussion about bigotry you engender.

My god you are obtuse. I know you think you are being clever and oh, so intellectual, but you just aren't. You are just being a troll. The sad thing is you can't take enough pride in being an asshole to do it right. And you wonder why nobody here likes you

Davian93
08-11-2010, 11:38 AM
I am definitely not using it casually. If I had been, then I would admit that I had underestimated the charge the word carries, and I would have stopped using it in this case.

I do notice that everyone is carping about that word I used, and no one makes any attempt at all to show a difference between the ban on mixed race marriages and the ban on gay marriages.


Gonzo I agree with you on the point of mixed race vs gay marriage.

I just would like it if you stopped using an extremely offensive word.

Crispin's Crispian
08-11-2010, 11:56 AM
Sini's plan for changing the name does nothing to change the separation -- except inconvenience those who want a religious ceremony bt requiring two people to officiate over two isolated ceremonies instead of allowing one person to perform both functions.

Designating clergy as "authorized marriage officiants" to certify legal marriages is for the convenience of the bridal couple There is nothing in law mandating the use of clergy to certify the marriage or to use clergy of any particular religion.

I don't understand how "Sini's" plan would change how this would work. The government could still authorize the clergy as legal officiants. Nothing in this plan prohibits priests, ministers, and rabbis from performing marriages. Quite the opposite--it should allow anyone to become a certified officiant and perform the legal portion of the union.

It two people wanted to get married in their church and have a legal union at the same time, nothing is going to stop them. However, if two people wanted to have a civil union without the church, they would legally have the same status as the first couple. There wouldn't have to be two ceremonies any more than there are today.

GonzoTheGreat
08-11-2010, 12:08 PM
I don't understand how "Sini's" plan would change how this would work. The government could still authorize the clergy as legal officiants. Nothing in this plan prohibits priests, ministers, and rabbis from performing marriages. Quite the opposite--it should allow anyone to become a certified officiant and perform the legal portion of the union.Obviously, people who wanted to get married would still go to a priest/rabbi/whatever.
But people who wanted to get civil unioned wouldn't have any reason to go to a priest, would they? It would make more sense for them to go elsewhere, perhaps to a (trade) union representative who was duly certified to perform the ceremony.

It two people wanted to get married in their church and have a legal union at the same time, nothing is going to stop them. However, if two people wanted to have a civil union without the church, they would legally have the same status as the first couple. There wouldn't have to be two ceremonies any more than there are today.If and only if the priest/whatever had been actually certified to perform a civil union, and if the necessary paperwork had been done at the appropriate time.

But yes, in those cases it would all be done simultaneously.

As an alternative, there is the solution which is used in my country: have the legal marriage done by a civil servant (or some layman duly certified*), then have an optional church marriage directly afterwards.

Caveat: I admit to Sini that we do not call it "marriage". Insread, we use the Dutch word "huwelijk". I am not quite sure whether or not that difference is enough to make his objections irrelevant. We also have civil unions, which are sort of "huwelijk light".

* I'm not sure that is the correct term for it. I do know that it is possible, though. Even just for one specific marriage.

Crispin's Crispian
08-11-2010, 12:13 PM
I will repeat myself as well, since I got you to agree with me on this point a year or two ago, but you seem to have forgotten:

Agree is such a strong word.

It IS discriminatory because of timing and the purpose of the name change, not because of the letter of the hypothetical law. We all know he thinks benefits should be equal, but to completely revamp the cultural idea of marriage in order to deny same-sex couples 'marriage' is discriminatory, no matter how equal the new laws might be.
You are judging the intentions rather than the result, but you have a misunderstanding of the intentions. I don't want to revamp the idea of marriage so that gay people can't use the word. I want to revamp it because I had to jump through hoops to get legally married. I want to revamp it because the religious overtones involved really bother me. And I want to revamp it because it's currently unfair to gay couples. The reason you probably thought I agreed with you is that I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with opening civil marriage to gay couples. In fact, that would be great. However, that does not stop me from wanting to revamp it, anyway.



But there should be equal rights in the secular, legal aspect of the marriage process. Religions can continue to do marriage however they want to, up to and including their religious discrimination, but they should be allowed to marry same-sex couples if they so choose, and secular marriages performed by a non-clerical judge should not be allowed to discriminate based on sexual preference.
The approach Sinistrum put forth accomplishes this, and not just for homosexual couples but for anyone who doesn't want to bother with the religious aspects. It puts everyone on equal footing.

Seriously Gonzo...please stop using racial epitaphs in your post to make a point.
I think you mean "epithet." As horrible as the epithet was, it would make an even worse epitaph.

Crispin's Crispian
08-11-2010, 12:18 PM
Obviously, people who wanted to get married would still go to a priest/rabbi/whatever.
But people who wanted to get civil unioned wouldn't have any reason to go to a priest, would they? It would make more sense for them to go elsewhere, perhaps to a (trade) union representative who was duly certified to perform the ceremony.

If and only if the priest/whatever had been actually certified to perform a civil union, and if the necessary paperwork had been done at the appropriate time.

But yes, in those cases it would all be done simultaneously.

As an alternative, there is the solution which is used in my country: have the legal marriage done by a civil servant (or some layman duly certified*), then have an optional church marriage directly afterwards.

Caveat: I admit to Sini that we do not call it "marriage". Insread, we use the Dutch word "huwelijk". I am not quite sure whether or not that difference is enough to make his objections irrelevant. We also have civil unions, which are sort of "huwelijk light".

* I'm not sure that is the correct term for it. I do know that it is possible, though. Even just for one specific marriage.
I agree with everything you're saying. If you are somehow agreeing with Weird Harold, I think I just don't understand WH's point.

GonzoTheGreat
08-11-2010, 12:24 PM
I agree with everything you're saying. If you are somehow agreeing with Weird Harold, I think I just don't understand WH's point.I haven't reread WH's posts, yet, so I don't know whether or not I agree with him at the moment. I can tell you that I disagree with my use of the word "insread", though, which I noticed because you'd quoted it.

Terez
08-11-2010, 12:55 PM
You are judging the intentions rather than the result
Not really. It's more about how the gay community would interpret it, and how history would interpret it. Your personal intentions matter little in this. Also, I didn't misunderstand you - you agreed with me on this point. I'll have to go digging. It might be on Yuku, but I don't think it was quite that long ago.

Also, I like Gonzo, and I'm not the only one, Ivhon. You and your little circle of friends are not Theoryland personified.

GonzoTheGreat
08-11-2010, 01:08 PM
All right, I've reread part of the thread, with special attention to WH's posts. I'll try a short summary of what seems to be his point:

In theory, legal marriage is already separated from religious marriage in the USA. In order for a marriage to be legal, it has to be officiated by someone who has been specifically licensed to do so. A religious marriage can be done by someone who has been authorised according to the rules of that religion, which may mean anything or nothing.
The problem comes from the fact that in the USA, it is mostly priests/rabbis and such who are officially licensed to perform legal marriages. This has led to a situation where most marriages are performed by various clergy, and the (wrong, but persistent) belief that there is a direct connection between legal and religious marriage.
The whole problem could be solved by simply saying "every jurisdiction (county, municipality, town) has to have at least one civil servant who is licensed to perform marriages". That civil servant would then perform any legal marriage which came before him. In addition to this, there could be other people (clergy, for instance) in that area who are also licensed to perform legal marriages, and they could do so if someone went to them, the marriage was legal, and they felt inclined to accede to the request.
In that way, any religion could decide for itself which marriages it did and did not want to perform, and anyone who couldn't find a religious licensed person to perform the ceremony (or didn't want to bother) could make do with the civil servant one.

Crispin's Crispian
08-11-2010, 01:29 PM
Not really. It's more about how the gay community would interpret it, and how history would interpret it. Your personal intentions matter little in this.
I didn't say they did, other than to show that I'm in no way trying to change the game to maintain discrimination.

I've already said in this very thread that this "plan" has little likelihood of success. In that context, you may be right about how it would be interpreted now. Despite that, I think it's still a better plan than what we currently have. But those are my personal thoughts. The matter only as much as yours do.

Also, I didn't misunderstand you - you agreed with me on this point. I'll have to go digging. It might be on Yuku, but I don't think it was quite that long ago.Don't bother researching it. I understand your argument, and I guess I kind of agree that it could be viewed as discriminatory at this time. I don't believe that invalidates the scenario, however. It's still more acceptable to me than the status quo because I don't believe it does actually discriminate at all.

Crispin's Crispian
08-11-2010, 01:33 PM
All right, I've reread part of the thread, with special attention to WH's posts. I'll try a short summary of what seems to be his point:

In theory, legal marriage is already separated from religious marriage in the USA. In order for a marriage to be legal, it has to be officiated by someone who has been specifically licensed to do so. A religious marriage can be done by someone who has been authorised according to the rules of that religion, which may mean anything or nothing.
The problem comes from the fact that in the USA, it is mostly priests/rabbis and such who are officially licensed to perform legal marriages. This has led to a situation where most marriages are performed by various clergy, and the (wrong, but persistent) belief that there is a direct connection between legal and religious marriage.
The whole problem could be solved by simply saying "every jurisdiction (county, municipality, town) has to have at least one civil servant who is licensed to perform marriages". That civil servant would then perform any legal marriage which came before him. In addition to this, there could be other people (clergy, for instance) in that area who are also licensed to perform legal marriages, and they could do so if someone went to them, the marriage was legal, and they felt inclined to accede to the request.
In that way, any religion could decide for itself which marriages it did and did not want to perform, and anyone who couldn't find a religious licensed person to perform the ceremony (or didn't want to bother) could make do with the civil servant one.

Most jurisdictions have something like that in place now, whether it's with Justices of the Peace or county judges. Nothing about the scenario Sinistrum is describing would change that, or somehow force religious people to do anything.

I guess that's where I'm confused. What is WH arguing against in this plan?

Crispin's Crispian
08-11-2010, 01:40 PM
Not really. It's more about how the gay community would interpret it, and how history would interpret it.

One more thing. You said...

but to completely revamp the cultural idea of marriage in order to deny same-sex couples 'marriage' is discriminatory, no matter how equal the new laws might be.

This is why I said you were misjudging the intentions. The point is not to deny same-sex couples anything. I understand how it could be viewed that way, though.

Terez
08-11-2010, 01:49 PM
One more thing. You said...


This is why I said you were misjudging the intentions. The point is not to deny same-sex couples anything. I understand how it could be viewed that way, though.
No, still not misjudging intentions, because this debate wouldn't be happening right now if not for the controversy on gay marriage. No one would have ever proposed this plan without those circumstances.

nameless
08-11-2010, 06:00 PM
Just to play devil's advocate, you may have it backwards. If there weren't such a sense of looming existential crisis over the role of the institution of marriage then there might not be such vigorous opposition to changing that institution. High divorce rates, single-parent households, deadbeat dads, and a whole host of other social ills have made a lot of people with high-stake emotional investments in the institution very upset (though of course "social ills" are entirely subjective: they see high divorce rates as a sign of the collapsing family whereas I see low divorce rates as a sign of people being trapped in abusive marriages). People who already feel threatened by uncontrollable change to their treasured institutions are a lot less likely to be charitable about plans to change those institutions even further.

I'd be interested to see polls from around the time anti-miscegenation laws were struck down. Was that debate as intense and divisive as this one? What were divorce rates at the time?

Weird Harold
08-11-2010, 06:21 PM
I don't understand how "Sini's" plan would change how this would work. The government could still authorize the clergy as legal officiants. ...

You missed where Sini said that clergy member should NOT be permitted to certify civil marriages. He's arguing that the current arrangement of authorizing clergy members to certify the civil marriage (which exists for the convenience of the bridal couple) is a violation of the establishment and free exercise clauses of the Constitution. The two covenents should be totally separated by changing the nomenclature for secular marriage and removing the (usually blanket) authorization of Clergy to certify the legal aspect of marriage.

Other than that one qualification, Sini's plan changes nothing and is a meaningless waste of a legislatures time and energy. With that that qualification, it amounts to discrimination against religion because it imposes an additional burden on those who wish to observe the religious sacrement by requiring them to hire a second person instead of the traditional convenience of allowing one person to perform two functions.


An analogy:

If you go into a copy shop to make a copy of a document that needs to be notarizzed as a "certified true copy" there is usally an employee of that copy shop who is a licensed Notary Public. That person is usually the person who "rents" you the copy machine.

When the clerk rents you the copier, they do so as a representative of the shop's owner.

When that same person imprints your copy with a Notary Public seal they are acting as a representative of the government.

It is not required that you make a copy to use the notary public's services, nor is it required to use the notary's services when you make a copy.

What Sini is proposing would make it illegal for the same person to rent you a copier and to notarize the copy.

I'm arguing against Sini's proposed "wall between church and state" because it already exists.

The term civil unions is so closely tied to the gay marriage debate that I can't find the reference, but I'm pretty sure that there are some jurisdictions where all civil marriages are technically civil unions and the word 'marriage' has no legal meaning. There was a big push (in the 70s or 80s, IIRC) to implement "sini's plan" or something similar to eliminate any hint of a first amendment violation.

Whether or not any state actually passed such a change of nomenclature -- Connecticutt comes to mind as one state considering the change -- I can't say because I can't get google to look beyond gay rights links. If they did, it made absolutely no difference in practice and common usages regarding Marriage, Holy Matrimony, Civil Weddings; everyone but the lawyers still use Married, Wife, Husband, Spouse, etc.

Frenzy
08-11-2010, 11:24 PM
http://www.utne.com/uploadedImages/utne/blogs/Science_and_Technology/Troll.jpg

GonzoTheGreat
08-12-2010, 05:09 AM
You missed where Sini said that clergy member should NOT be permitted to certify civil marriages. I missed that too, I have to admit. Does Sini's scheme allow non-ordained members of the public to certify civil marriages?

If his scheme meant that only actual civil servants, people on the government payroll, would be allowed to certify civil marriages, that would be all right, I think. But it would be a very big difference with the current marriage methods, and thus more than just "renaming marriage as civil union".

However, if his scheme would allow non-clergy civilians to do the honors, and would thus include a test for "non-clergyness", then I do not see how this separates religion and state. It would require the state to actually decide precisely who is and isn't officially a "member of the clergy". Frankly, I don't see how that would be possible without making laws "respecting the establishment of religion".

Neilbert
08-12-2010, 09:38 AM
With that that qualification, it amounts to discrimination against religion because it imposes an additional burden on those who wish to observe the religious sacrement by requiring them to hire a second person instead of the traditional convenience of allowing one person to perform two functions.

Under Sinistrum's plan would you feel that clergy who have been licensed to perform a civil union should be required to fill out the paperwork for any couple that asks?

Sinistrum feel free to weigh in on this one too.

GonzoTheGreat
08-12-2010, 09:48 AM
Under Sinistrum's plan would you feel that clergy who have licensed to perform a civil union should be required to fill out the paperwork for any couple that asks?Good question.

As far as I am concerned, this could go either way, but whichever was chosen, it would have to be very clear right from the start which it was.

On the one hand, one could say that as it was a civil affair, whoever signed up to do it should do it without discrimination. Thus, any clergy who want to have the right to perform civil marriages (in addition to religious ones, perhaps) would have the duty of performing any civil marriage they are confronted with. (Time permitting, of course.)

On the other hand, it would also be possible to make a rule that the "non-civil servant certified people" (perhaps a better title would be nice) do not have to perform the legal function unless they are willing to do so for each individual case.

Me, I would prefer the first option, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if the second option were easier to get through the political machinery.

Frenzy
08-12-2010, 10:34 AM
If you had moral objections to it yet did it anyway, even if only for a secular purpose, what kind of mental gymnastics do you have to do to convince yourself you're not a hypocrite? Probably by saying to yourself that civil marriage isn't the same as holy matrimony, and that your role in the perceived sin is insignificant.

Creepy.

My doctor is a muslim woman from the north of India. Last time i saw her she recommended a whole battery of tests. While chatting about them she said she wouldn't do some of them personally because in her religion it isn't proper for a woman to disrobe in front of others, but that didn't stop her from making the recommendation. Is that an analogous example?

Neilbert
08-12-2010, 10:42 AM
If you had moral objections to it yet did it anyway, even if only for a secular purpose, what kind of mental gymnastics do you have to do to convince yourself you're not a hypocrite? Probably by saying to yourself that civil marriage isn't the same as holy matrimony, and that your role in the perceived sin is insignificant.

It's like asking a world class gymnast to do a somersault.

While chatting about them she said she wouldn't do some of them personally because in her religion it isn't proper for a woman to disrobe in front of others, but that didn't stop her from making the recommendation. Is that an analogous example?

Sorta? She isn't a government employee I'm assuming, so not exactly.

Sinistrum
08-12-2010, 11:47 AM
If his scheme meant that only actual civil servants, people on the government payroll, would be allowed to certify civil marriages, that would be all right, I think. But it would be a very big difference with the current marriage methods, and thus more than just "renaming marriage as civil union".

This. A strong motivating factor for supporting the idea that I do is my strong distrust of any government policy that mixes religion with government. Along with that, I'm not comfortable with the idea of splitting marriage up into civil unions and religious ceremony but still allowing clergy to conduct legally significant acts that confer rights to people. I want the legal and religious institutions entirely separate. I think that's really the only way to appease the Lemon test prongs, particularly the last and most important IMHO (no excessive entanglement).

Under Sinistrum's plan would you feel that clergy who have been licensed to perform a civil union should be required to fill out the paperwork for any couple that asks?

A. I'd be extremely uncomfortable with licensing clergy to conduct civil unions in the first place. But assuming one does get licensed, at that point I think that they should have to abide by government rules on civil unions. And yes that means they should have to unionize anyone who asks and is qualified for it (ie sound mind, not a minor, not intoxicated at the time, etc.) The licensing of civil unions would theoretically stand as an act independent of their religious practice and also make them a de facto government employee conducting official government acts. Thus the 14th Amendment would apply fully to those acts and discrimination in them for impermissible purposes would be prohibited.

GonzoTheGreat
08-12-2010, 11:50 AM
Morality is always a balancing act. It would be quite reasonable to decide that the moral value of upholding the law outweighs the moral bad of helping gay people marry each other.

Or, to put it differently: yes, humans are hypocrites. Hadn't you noticed this before now?

GonzoTheGreat
08-12-2010, 11:52 AM
Sinistrum, I think that I fully agree with your proposal, apart from the detail which I've already mentioned: it ain't gonna happen.
Do you have a solution for that snag?

Weird Harold
08-12-2010, 01:38 PM
Under Sinistrum's plan would you feel that clergy who have been licensed to perform a civil union should be required to fill out the paperwork for any couple that asks?

Sinistrum feel free to weigh in on this one too.
Under Sini's plan that wouldn't be a consideration they wouldn't have the authority to do so.

As for whether clergy should or ARE required to sign a marriage certificate for anyone who requests only the civil function, since they are not government employees, I see no reason they are or should be compelled to perform in a purely secular role.

In practice, there is usually an "authorized marriage officiant" co-located with or near the government office that issues marriage licenses -- usually a judge or justice of the peace designated to perform civil marriages for those who don't wish a churc wedding on a permanent or rotating basis. Those officiants are government enployees and should be required to perform marriages for anyone who has the required fee and a valid license. No other authorized officiant should be required to perform marriages -- civil or religious.

Being authorized to do something doesn't mean that any particular individual is required to, or even will have to opportunity to, do that 'something.'

Sinistrum
08-12-2010, 01:54 PM
Sinistrum, I think that I fully agree with your proposal, apart from the detail which I've already mentioned: it ain't gonna happen.
Do you have a solution for that snag?

Yanno, I've thought long and hard on that question, and honestly the only way I can see it being implemented is through the court system. I don't see either side of this debate really embracing my solution since both sides want things they aren't entitled to have and neither is willing to compromise. They both want to implement their life style choices through law on everyone else. Hence I doubt you could get it passed via legislation.

Ivhon
08-12-2010, 02:49 PM
Yanno, I've thought long and hard on that question, and honestly the only way I can see it being implemented is through the court system. I don't see either side of this debate really embracing my solution since both sides want things they aren't entitled to have and neither is willing to compromise. They both want to implement their life style choices through law on everyone else. Hence I doubt you could get it passed via legislation.

And yet that would clearly be...activist.

An ugly situation - and needlessly so - any way you look at it.

GonzoTheGreat
08-12-2010, 04:43 PM
Yanno, I've thought long and hard on that question, and honestly the only way I can see it being implemented is through the court system. I don't see either side of this debate really embracing my solution since both sides want things they aren't entitled to have and neither is willing to compromise. They both want to implement their life style choices through law on everyone else. Hence I doubt you could get it passed via legislation.I agree with your conclusion.
However, while I also agree that the fundamentalist Christians want to impose their life style through law on everyone else, I do not think that the gay people really want to outlaw heterosexuality.

Still, that would seem to leave your proposal dead in the water, which means that it is not a viable solution to the problem of discrimination. Which leaves the options of either getting rid of the discrimination in another way (by allowing gay marriage) or accepting that you are officially engaged in discrimination (by not opposing the current practice in any way).

Sinistrum
08-12-2010, 05:25 PM
However, while I also agree that the fundamentalist Christians want to impose their life style through law on everyone else, I do not think that the gay people really want to outlaw heterosexuality.

No but they do want to force acceptance of themselves and their life style on people who obviously don't wish to accept either. That is still a wrongful imposition. I've said it before and I'll say it again. You can't force people to like you and violate their rights in order to do it.

Which leaves the options of either getting rid of the discrimination in another way (by allowing gay marriage) or accepting that you are officially engaged in discrimination (by not opposing the current practice in any way).

Neither option to me is legally or morally correct.

Weird Harold
08-12-2010, 06:43 PM
Neither option to me is legally or morally correct.

So the question then becomes who is harmed more by which option:

Religious heterosexuals who lose nothing except the opportunity to impose their morality on those who are different

or

Homosexual life partners who are denied access or information about their life partner in hospitals -- sometimes in the face of an explici living will and/or power-of-attorney -- denied automatic healthcare coverage as a spouse, denied inheritance rights -- sometimes in the face of an explicit will -- and are denied all of the other financial and legal benefits of "marriage."

The only possible effect of gay marriage on me is that healthcare insurance rates might go up; but then they're going up whether homosexual life partners get automatic family coverage or not so I don't see where denying them the benefits of legal marriage benefits me in any way.

Sinistrum
08-12-2010, 08:43 PM
So the question then becomes who is harmed more by which option

Religious heterosexuals who lose nothing except the opportunity to impose their morality on those who are different

Except that is not all they are losing. If it was, then I wouldn't care so much about dividing secular and religious marriage. They are also losing the ability to preserve and practice their spiritual beliefs how they choose thus setting a precedent that could be used to take away my ability to preserve and practice my spiritual beliefs (or lack there of as is currently the case) as I so choose. The consequences of forcing gay marriage on religions do not just stop with the bigots. If the government can do it to people you don't like, they can do it to you too.

Weird Harold
08-12-2010, 09:21 PM
They are also losing the ability to preserve and practice their spiritual beliefs how they choose ...

You have yet to convince me that your specious religious freedom argument has any merit. You have conceded that clergy won't be barred from performing civil ceremonies so what additional infringment on the establishment clause do you claim is going to happen if gay marriage is legal?

As for the "ability to preserve and practice," what is the economic cost of that right? Denying equal rights to the legal status of Married is quantifiable in economic terms.

How does moral outrage of being denied the right to impose religious moral standards on the law compare to the pain and suffering of being excluded from a loved one's final moments?

You're arguing for an abstract principle while I'm arguing for tangible, quantifiable benefits that are being denied to gay couples.

The consequences of forcing gay marriage on religions do not just stop with the bigots. If the government can do it to people you don't like, they can do it to you too.

The slippery slope argument can be applied in both directions: If those benefits can be denied to gay couples based on arbitrary distinctions, what is to stop further restrictions on wider arbitrary groups?

If there is to be a slippery slope, I'm in favor of the slope leading to more equality and less discrimination than the one leading to continued or expanded discrimination against any group and more religious influence on law and policy.

Sinistrum
08-12-2010, 09:41 PM
You have yet to convince me that your specious religious freedom argument has any merit. You have conceded that clergy won't be barred from performing civil ceremonies so what additional infringment on the establishment clause do you claim is going to happen if gay marriage is legal?

That would harken back to the link I posted regarding religions being forced to either accept gays or stop making facets of their religion publicly available.

As for the "ability to preserve and practice," what is the economic cost of that right? Denying equal rights to the legal status of Married is quantifiable in economic terms.

The 1st Amendment doesn't read that the government shall not deny free exercise of religion unless its cost affective.

The slippery slope argument can be applied in both directions: If those benefits can be denied to gay couples based on arbitrary distinctions, what is to stop further restrictions on wider arbitrary groups?

Yes it does. Your point? This is why I refuse to make the choice you, Gonzo, and Neil are attempting to force me to make. Neither option in your dichotomy is morally or legally acceptable to me. They both end in results that are Unconstitutional and morally repugnant.

Neilbert
08-12-2010, 10:31 PM
That would harken back to the link I posted regarding religions being forced to either accept gays or stop making facets of their religion publicly available.

How would the situation be any different if your solution were implemented? If Marriage were an entirely private affair my understanding is that Churches would still not be allowed to deny access to publicly available properties based on sexual discrimination. Therefore if a gay couple wanted to have some private marriage ceremony in a churches public pavilion (the article you linked me to) the situation would be the exact same.

IIRC you said that there is religious basis for discrimination based on sexuality in the Bible, while there is no such "legitimate" basis for discrimination based on race.

My only response to that is to say that you clearly have not actually read the bible, and that what is a legitimate religious practice is entirely subjective. IMO the whole point of the Bible is that it is large enough and comprehensive enough that it can be used to justify anything.


Yes it does. Your point? This is why I refuse to make the choice you, Gonzo, and Neil are attempting to force me to make. Neither option in your dichotomy is morally or legally acceptable to me. They both end in results that are Unconstitutional and morally repugnant.

While I agree with your solution, the fact that you consider denying gays the right to marry, and allowing gays to use the churches sacred word to be morally equivalent is bizarre to me.

Weird Harold
08-12-2010, 11:27 PM
The 1st Amendment doesn't read that the government shall not deny free exercise of religion unless its cost affective.

You've already conceded that your first amendment concerns are not going to be addressed by changes in the law. So the question remains, which option involves the least harm.

One option causes quantifiable harm without changing the status quo on the first amendment front.

The other maintains the status quo with regards to your first amendment concerns but addresses the quantifiable harm.

So which is less repugnant to you -- but more importantly which "harm" should be less repugnant to the law?


The maintenance of the status quo and the ongoing "harm" to separation of church and state

or

The tangible harm to couples denied the right to a specific secular contract -- which will have NO EFFECT on the existing relationship between church and state if granted relief.

In effect you're sulking and claiming that because you can't have your way, gays have no right to their way even though it has NO EFFECT on the current relationship between church and state.

All of your examples of supposed infringement on religious freedom are infringements (or not) under the staus quo -- which you've conceded isn't going to change. Contract law concerning discrimination in the rental of public facilities by non-profit organizations isn't going to change, so granting or denying gays the right to the secular contract of civil m arraige is going to have NO EFFECT on your examples of "infringement."

GonzoTheGreat
08-13-2010, 06:16 AM
Except that is not all they are losing. If it was, then I wouldn't care so much about dividing secular and religious marriage. They are also losing the ability to preserve and practice their spiritual beliefs how they choose thus setting a precedent that could be used to take away my ability to preserve and practice my spiritual beliefs (or lack there of as is currently the case) as I so choose. The consequences of forcing gay marriage on religions do not just stop with the bigots. If the government can do it to people you don't like, they can do it to you too.There were also people who based their opposition to mixed race marriages on their spiritual beliefs, and thus that "ability to preserve and practice spiritual beliefs" in general has already been lost.
Unless you are going to advocating the retro-active dissolution of all mixed race marriages, this horse has bolted the stable.

So the question is not "is any infringement on spiritual beliefs to be avoided", but rather "what infringement on spiritual beliefs is acceptable in order to preserve other people's rights".

If your argument were valid, then Muslims could demand that you pay extra taxation, as, according to their spiritual beliefs, any non-Muslim should. Would you say that was an acceptable consequence of "not infringing on spiritual beliefs"? Remember, you could get of that extra taxation by the simple expedient of converting to Islam, so it would not need to pose any undue burden on your financial situation.

The truth is that just about any belief you can think of has to accept that other people will ignore its tenets. The only exceptions to this are extremists who actively try to kill all those who do not live sufficiently virtuous lives, and US law is not supposed to cater to that group alone.

Weird Harold
08-13-2010, 05:21 PM
So the question is not "is any infringement on spiritual beliefs to be avoided", but rather "what infringement on spiritual beliefs is acceptable in order to preserve other people's rights".

I think you're probably right in a much larger context, but in the context of this particular issue, the question should be:

"What additional religious infringement would occur by granting gays and lesbians equal access to secular marriages"

The answer is, IMHO, "none."

GonzoTheGreat
08-14-2010, 04:59 AM
I think you're probably right in a much larger context, but in the context of this particular issue, the question should be:

"What additional religious infringement would occur by granting gays and lesbians equal access to secular marriages"

The answer is, IMHO, "none."Then again, if gay marriage did become allowed in the entire USA, whole generations of Republican politicians could blame their infidelities on it, claiming that without gay marriage their own marriages would have been better defended.