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Gay Marriage Is Just One Piece of the Puzzle

MarriedSmallIt was Gay Marriage Day in Washington today with two Supreme Court decisions on the issue. In United States v. Windsor, the Court struck down the provision of the Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. For the purposes of federal law and benefits, legally married same-sex couples will now receive the same recognition from the federal government that opposite-sex couples d0. In Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Court decided that the appealing party did not have the standing to argue for California’s Proposition 8 in federal courts and let the lower court’s decision stand. As a result, gay marriage will likely become legal again in California, though the situation in the rest of the country will remain unchanged.

But these two decisions are not the only culture war stories we’ve seen lately. On the state level today, the big news is the setback for Texas Republicans hoping to use a special session to enact some of the most pro-life legislation in the country. Republicans announced that the law, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, had passed, only to quickly recant. The vote was invalid because it hadn’t followed proper legislative procedure. This may not stand; Governor Perry can call a second special session, and if he does, the bill will likely pass.

Both of these come hard on the heels of yesterday’s Voting Rights Act decision, which will now allow nine previously regulated states to make changes to voting procedures without federal pre-approval. And all of this was preceded by the total rout of gun control legislation in the Congress in April.

There are things that could be said about all of these cases. For instance, the unusual majority in Hollingsworth (Roberts, Scalia, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan) confirms the impression we got when the Court upheld Obamacare: The Roberts Court is political but not politicized. We may not like everything the justices do, but at least some of the time it is clear that they are thinking about the law rather than about their personal and political hobby horses. That’s good for the Court and good for the country, too.

It’s worth taking a step back from the emotions and technical details of all of these events to ask about the broader trend they point to. Superficially, they point to a schizophrenic public: leaning pro-life; increasingly in favor of gay marriage; divided on gun control but unwilling to pull the trigger, so to speak, on significantly tightened gun laws. But on a deeper level, these all look like examples of the biggest cultural-political trend in America: a response to the growing complexity of 21st century life that revives individualism and states’ rights.

Individualism sometimes work for the Right and sometimes for the Left. The right to marry who you choose is as individualistic as insisting on your right to bear arms. With abortion, that same logic is muddier, which is why the public is still divided. Pro-choichers lay claim to the individualism mantle by stating that women should be free to control their own reproductive health, while pro-lifers do the same by arguing that abortion involves two individuals with rights, not one.

Similarly, when it comes to classical federalism, the Supreme Court’s decisions on the gay marriage cases are both deferential to the states involved. Again, states’ rights is sometimes a liberal and sometimes a conservative cause. The DOMA case said that the national government can’t deny federal benefits to the marriages recognized by the states.  But the Voting Rights Act decision, for good or for ill, is an attempt to give back to the nine states in question some powers lost in the Civil Rights Era. Two wins for states’ rights; one each for the Left and the Right.

The federal government is reaching for broad new powers. President Obama wants the EPA to assert the power to regulate (or at least to force all the states to regulate) emissions of carbon dioxide. Obamacare similarly involves some major new federal interventions in the lives of millions of Americans. And it appears that under President Obama federal surveillance of Americans has surpassed anything that transpired under President Bush.

But here, too, the Supreme Court and public opinion are demanding the return of more powers to individuals and states. DOMA, pot legalization, the limits on the Voting Rights Act, and a rash of new state limits on abortion all point to a strong public interest in the decentralization of power.

The federal legislature, the Court, and state governments, both blue and red, seem to have adopted this principle of devolution as a strategy for dealing with the most politically toxic issues of our time. America is too big and its citizens are too diverse for one-size-fits-all solutions to some of our culture war issues. Some traditional American views seem newly relevant as we cope with these issues: individuals should be allowed as much freedom as is consistent with their not harming others; wherever possible, states should be free to settle their affairs on their own terms.

Some 18th-century ideas are proving surprisingly useful in 21st-century America.

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  • michaelgingerly

    I disagree. This was a decision absent consideration of the law. Scalia is right in pointing to the all-too-common sanctimony of those on the Left “hate your neighbor unless he agrees with you.”

    • ojfl

      I whole heartedly agree Michael.

    • Andrew Allison

      With what?

    • bpuharic

      You mean like the right believes it has the right to put govt in the bedroom? That the kind of law you want?

      • MattinChicago

        What’s your point, there is no room in any house that the Left has not pass a regulation to control.

  • Parker O’Brien

    Does this open up legal challenges to federal survivor benefits that are excluded from children or friends? If the government is
    unable to define that such benefits are only granted to a spouse of the opposite sex, why is it able to define that children or others aren’t granted such benefits?

    This is not to say that I disagree with the premise of gay marriage, but it seems that a legal argument against arbitrary limitations
    would indict all government policy. For example, if it is discriminatory and illegal to deny benefits to same sex couples, why is it not the same to deny upper income earners the same tax treatment as lower income earners. This should have played itself out in the rapidly changing political landscape rather than the courts.

  • wigwag

    Lets not forget the immigration debate; while at first glance it may not look like an issue that’s part of the culture war debates in reality it really is.

    It seems to me that there are two groups that have taken a tremendous beating in the past few days; African Americans and Republicans.

    The ruling on the voting right act shows how politically inconsequential the sentiments of African American voters have become. There was a time not that long ago that overturning section 4 of the Voting Rights Act would have been too politically incorrect to contemplate, even by a conservative Supreme Court. Those days are over. Whether it affirmative action or voting rights, the Supreme Court has made it clear that whatever outrage African Americans might feel about these core issues, it just doesn’t care.

    At the same time that African Americans are watching concerns about their interests collapse, Latino Americans are watching their concerns take center stage. Democrats, sensing the political bloodbath they’re about to submerge the GOP in, are fully on board with the aspirations of the Latino community. Despite the valiant efforts of a small number of Republicans to talk some sense into their colleagues, most Republucans are working hard to turn the fastest growing cohort of American voters into enemies, potentially for generations to come. The African American population is stable while the Latino population is growing rapidly; no wonder Latino concerns are up while African American concerns are down.

    Republican problems go well beyond the Party’s issues with Latinos. Gay rights activists have made gay rights into the civil rights issue of the 21st century. They’ve used popular culture to make opposing gay marraige look retrograde and uncool. Gay rights advocates have convinced Americans, especially young Americans that to oppose gay rights is to be a bigot. Republicans and their allies in the conservative Christian community have taken it on the chin. A few years ago they were winning one ballot measure after the next opposing gay marraige, now gay marraige opponents can barely be tolerated in polite company.

    Opposition to gay rights has sullied the Repyblucan brand just as opposition to immigration reform has. It’s also severely damaged a long standing ally of the GOP; the organized conservative Christian community. One reason church attendance is down in the United States is that young people are eschewing organized religion because gay rights activists have convinced them that the church’s views on homosexuality makes religion uncool.

    So where does all of this leave the GOP? They’ve alienated Latinos and driven what will eventually be tens of millions of Latino voters into the arms of the Democrats. They’ve alienated young voters who overwhelmingly support gay marraige (and in the process damaged an important ally, the Christian conservative establishment) and they’ve prolonged their estrangement from African American voters, who voted in higher percentages in 2012 than white voters.

    Who does the GOP have left? Church-going voters whose numbers are plummeting, white voters who oppose immigration reform and white voters who oppose gay rights. All of this doesn’t even take into account the GOP’s problems with women voters which also has a strong cultural component.

    The take home message for the GOP is, you’ve lost the culture wars. It’s time to surrender. If you don’t its time to contemplate what you would like your eulogy to be.

    • LivingRock

      Gay rights activists have made gay rights into the civil rights issue of the 21st century… Republicans and their allies in the conservative Christian community have taken it on the chin.

      So I agree overall. But, I think it’s worth mentioning how family values actually played a role in the gay marriage movement. Up until as recently as 5 or 6 years ago polling indicated that over 50% of Americans were against gay marriage. Even President Obama has “evolved” on the issue since being office. And I think framing the argument for gay marriage in a family values fashion that says that gay people getting married and starting families is good for a society where marriage is on the decline played a significant role in turning the tide of public opinion. It’s always been the GOP that has championed family values the most. We’ll see if strange bed fellows in conservatives and gay rights activists continue to stand together in the family values/pro marriage movement.

      • wigwag

        You make a really excellent point, LivingRock. That gay rights supporters coopted the rhetoric of cultural conservatives and used that rhetoric to defeat their opponents, must make their defeat especially stinging for those who oppose gay marriage.

        It also occurs to me that there must be a must be a certain number of conservative Republicans who disparaged gay Americans as “fairies” who find it particularly galling that the “fairies” whipped their macho opponents in a fair fight.

        • azt24

          Except it wasn’t a fair fight, it was a fight where a few officials told voters that they are hateful people just for seeking to retain the previous definition of marriage, since the only possible motive is hatred of gay people. The surface respect for states rights is likewise a crock, as states rights will be respected only if they vote the “right” way.

      • bpuharic

        Evangelicals will never accept gay marriage, at least not for the next few decades. As long as they remain the anchor on the far right, the GOP will not change.

    • Andrew Allison

      I beg to differ. The Voting Rights Act decision was a rebuke to Congress, which was told in 2005 that it’s not 1965 and consideration of the changes which have occurred is required. That’s all it did.

      The DOMA decision was equally objective in declaring that in States where gay marriage is legal related Federal benefits apply.

      Both decisions were, at root, affirmations of State’s Rights. At the risk of creating a firestorm, might I suggest that if Roe v. Wade had been decided in the same way we would have been spared decades of contention.

      Finally, I think you perhaps meant elegy.

    • ljgude

      Yes, Wig Wag, I think your analysis of the Republican situation is accurate and helpful. It illuminates the sinking feeling toward Republicans I have had since 2000 when it became clear to me that what WRM calls the Blue model was bankrupt. Right now it seems pretty clear that the Republicans will have to come up with something truly new to stop the electorate voting for more Blue. In the longer term I don’t think the Blue model is sustainable, but it is going to take real collapse before the country changes course. Say the Republicans come up with an effective candidate in 2016 and manage to retake the presidency. The problem is that they can’t dismantle Blue at the Federal level because the country wants all those Blue benefits. The Republicans have no answer to healthcare costing twice as much as other countries do it for – to use my favorite example. But, buck up, Obamacare stacks a huge burden on top of an already unsustainable Blue benefits package and has the potential to bring about the collapse of the Blue model more quickly. I don’t think the Republicans have really come up with an alternative yet, but I think they are the party more likely to, so long as the Democrats can’t see beyond the Blue Model. The Democrats are the dyed in the wool conservatives in the search for a new way of doing things and the Republicans are all over the lot. It is going to take more time and more hard times to shake this out.

      • bpuharic

        The blue model IS sustainable because the red model relies more and more on sucking resources and assets out of the middle class…one reason middle class incomes have been stagnant for 30 years. Only by marketing Jacksonian myths about bootstraps have conservatives been able to hide the rapacious plundering that’s been going on in America (ever see that poll asking how much money people THINK the 1% have vs what they actually DO?)

        Obamacare is a successful attack on the right’s attempt to garner more and more assets for the wealthy while having the middle class pay ALL the bills (one reason Paul Ryan wanted to completely eliminate capital gains taxes).

        Hopefully people are starting to wake up to the right wing shell game and realize it’s the middle class, not the 1%, that makes America rich.

        • azt24

          California is a shining example of the Blue Model. The Blue Model is taking a state which is overflowing with resources and managing to drive it towards bankruptcy and a Latin American profile of the gated rich and subsistence poor. The class which suffers the WORST in the Blue Model is the tax-paying, law-abiding middle class.

          • bpuharic

            And TX is a model 3rd world country. Highest percentage of minimum wage jobs, and people without health insurance in the country. A right wing paradise.

    • bankerdanny

      So the ‘outrage’ of blacks or gays should be the primary point of consideration for SCOTUS, not the actually constitutionality or reasonableness of the law in question?

      • azt24

        By Jove, I think he’s got it.

  • ojfl

    One question that seems to be lost in all of this discussion is what exactly is government’s interest in marriage? After the allowance of no fault divorce and now this issue of gay marriage, why do we still allow government to regulate the activity? If the government simply went away from regulating it there would be no discussion whatsoever. I think that should be the direction of the debate and it is being missed.

    • bankerdanny


      Government’s ‘blessing’ of a marriage should consist of three tests only (1) all parties are adults (2) all parties consent and (3) all parties are mentally competent to provide consent.

      If all three are yes, the Government should accept the marriage as valid.

      • ojfl

        I am with you bankerdanny. But I still think that we need to debate what is civil marriage in this century. Civil marriage is but a contract. We cannot and should not demand government get involved in regulating feelings. In that sense civil marriage’s days are come and gone. It should be converted into a personal partnership with standard rules for asset sharing, legal decision making and dissolution. A version of the LLC. People should be able to get into those and out of those as they please and agree, following the 3 rules you outlined.

        • Richard S

          As long as there are tax beenfits for people who are married, and other such legal benefits, the federal government has to have a definition of marriage, or several. The latter case, is, however, problematic. The argument that the federal government may not define marriage itself ultimately might imply that federal law may not distinguish between married and married persons.

          • ojfl

            Is that not the way it should be Richard, that the government should not distinguish between a married and an unmarried person?

          • Richard S

            Don’t know. But the question has always been a legislative one, which is as it should be. Diminishing the importance of our elected representives, either by delegating law writing to unelected bureaucrats, or by selective enforcement is another trend of the day. And it is problematic.

          • ojfl

            Agree on both accounts Richard.

      • crazymary

        Okay, what if five parties meet all your tests? Or twenty?

        • bankerdanny

          Then they should be able to marry each other. I don’t get this problem with plural marriage. One wife is plenty for me, but if someone wants more and all participants are OK with it, have at it. Why should government have a say in this purely personal matter other than the 3 tests I list?

  • circleglider

    There are things that could be said about all of these cases. For instance, the unusual majority in Hollingsworth (Roberts, Scalia, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan) confirms the impression we got when the Court upheld Obamacare: The Roberts Court is political but not politicized.

    Yeah, too bad the usual majority and ruling in Windsor completely blows that idea…

  • bankerdanny

    Should individuals and states then also have the right to limit freedom of the press, the rights of women and blacks to vote, and the practice of religion?

    Why is the right to marry the consenting mentally competent adult of your choice something that individual states should be able to regulate?

    This is NOT an issue of individual and states rights, and is exactly the kind of thing that the 14th amendment was created to address. And it is the size and cultural diversity of America that makes it even more important that certain rights are protected at the federal level.

    • Lienathan

      The right of the State to decide whether or not it recognizes marriages is derived from the provision of certain benefits as a result of that recognition, including but not limited to preferential tax treatment and matters of the management of estates. If you want the state out of it, you have to render the state blind to it, and let the chips fall where they may. No more tax deductions (or penalties), and you will need to set up legal contracts dealing with the formation of a household corporation and the disposition of property because the State will assume nothing based on your ‘family’ relationships.

      • bankerdanny

        For the record, I think the state should get out of the business of rewarding tax breaks based on marital status and also for deductions for making the choice to have children.

        That said, I think just the opposite of what you wrote. I think that because the government has chosen to make certain benefits available based on marital status, it is obligated under the equal protection clause to provide said benefits as uniformly and with as little restriction as possible. It is not the government’s place, and I mean government at any level, to define what constitutes a legal marriage to as micro a level as the sex, race, or religion of the participants.

        I believe that as it applies to tax breaks you could limit the number of people in a married relationship who can file jointly to 2 without saying that a plural marriage is invalid.

        • Lienathan

          The term ‘marriage’ was defined before the state ever got involved. It referred to a specific and well understood concept of the conjugal union of a man and a woman, which included the possibility of progeny. The complicating factor here is the redefinition of terms, not the unequal application of law. All, gay or straight, have always had the right to obtain a license to enter into a conjugal union with a member of the opposite sex. the race (tribe) issue has been disposed of, properly, long before now. Gay unions, no matter what they are called, are not and can never be the equivalent of the union of man and woman, no matter how we twist the language. It is simply not the same thing, it never will be, and lying to ourselves about it is hubris, not wisdom.

          • bpuharic

            Au contraire, mes ami, not true. Until the “Lawrence” decision of a few years ago, being gay in many places was a felony. You could be sent to prison.

            As to your ex cathedra statement about ‘twisting’ language, you’re certainly welcome to that assertion. It’s utterly irrelevant

          • Lienathan

            You entry into the debate of sodomy laws is non-sequiter because my argument does not assert that sodomy was never punishable by law. It most certainly was, because it was considered a perversion on the order of bestiality, incest, and pedophilia. Now it’s been ‘mainstreamed’ and is no longer illegal, which is fine with me because the other three contain a dynamic of lack of consent that is not neccessarily the case in homosexuality. Even in that case, having homosexual urges was not in and of itself illegal, only the act was. It still didn’t prevent a gay person from marrying an opposite sex spouse. So your ‘point’, to the extent you had one, is moot.

            I said that the status quo law of being able to marry a member of the opposite sex is not applied unfairly. Civil law regarding marriage doesn’t require or even care about ‘love’ as part of that arrangement because it’s a social and property contract, not a recognition of an emotional relationship. If you are currently married and decide you don’t love your spouse anymore and fall in ‘love’ with somebody else, you are not allowed to marry them, either. Not without dissolving the original marriage. Our current law only allows one person to be married one time, hence polygamy is banned, regardless of how many somebodies love other somebodies.
            The argument that opens marriage to homosexuals, that it is about the ‘love’ relationship, also opens the door to polygamy, undeniably. because otherwise you are denigrating people with different sexual mores than you have. You then have no right to dictate that the polyamourous are not allowed to marry the people they love.

            That marriage has since time immemorial been defined as a man/woman relationship is plain fact. The debate over ‘gay marriage’ rests entirely on redefining what ‘marriage’ means. the very fact that ‘gay marriage’ has to be employed as a term of art is demonstration and proof that there is a redefinition occuring. That is simply the fact of the matter on it’s face, and requires no ‘ex cathedra’ dictat from me or anybody else. So au contraire yerself, there, buddy, It is THE relevant issue at hand.

            In point of fact, many people who oppose gay marriage were for allowing for gay unions that provided all the same legal rights and protections. the LGBT movement was not satisfied with that because the end game has never been equal legal protections – they want their relationships recognized as ‘normal’ and sanctioned by the state, and dissenters from that view punished by the law.

          • bpuharic

            May I remind you of your words above? I quote:

            “All, gay or straight, have always had the right to obtain a license to enter into a conjugal union with a member of the opposite sex”

            How can that POSSIBLY be true when, as you admit, it was a FELONY to be gay? Can’t have it both ways, sorry.

            You can’t contract a marriage if it’s a felony.

            It’s not a redefinition of marriage since, to people like me (and I am STRAIGHT), we ALWAYS supported gay marriage. Your use of language is certainly Byzantine.

            As to civil unions, ‘separate but equal’ has never been equal at all.

            And NJ is now seeing the folly of the ‘civil union’ fiasco since the NJ Supreme court previously ruled that civil unions had to protect ALL rights of qays, equal to marriage. When DOMA was struck down, this was no longer possible since civil unions are not recognized as a marriage by the Federal govt. So the civil union solution in NJ is unlawful.

          • Lienathan

            Read my quoted statement again and try to comprehend it this time. It does not state what you are saying it does.
            The ‘ex cathedra’ statement is coming from you. “Marriage is what -I- say it is.” No. Marriage had a definition that is only in recent times being challenged.
            Granting ‘marriage’ rights to homosexuals requires a redefining of that term, full stop.

            Seperate but equal is as good as you can get when trying to reconcile (A+B) with (A+A) or (B+B). It doesn’t matter how much you delude yourself that a homosexual relationship is the same as a heterosexual conjugal union it IS NOT and CAN NOT be equivalent, ever. It doesn’t matter how people feel about it, It’s simple science. biology. Facts of Life, if you will. Apples and oranges writ large. interracial marriage is not an equivalent argument because tab A still goes in slot B regardless of what color the parts are.

          • Lienathan

            Just to make it easier on you , I’ll point it out:
            “All, gay or straight, have always had the right to obtain a license to enter into a conjugal union with a member of the >OPPOSITE SEX<"

          • bpuharic

            And if you disagreed you went to jail or to a mental hospital

            Who could POSSIBLY disagree with that, right?

          • Lienathan

            I already stated that I’m fine with not having homosexuals jailed or confined to mental facilities. You’re the one that even brought it up. It’s a largely benign psychosexual dysfunction, it’s not like it requires confinement to protect other people from it. but then you missed where I said that to, which essentially means at this point you are arguing with a strawman.

          • bankerdanny

            Lienathan, your obsession with the ability of a married couple to produce children is the straw man in this argument. Yes, there was a time when the assumption was a married couple would produce children and the apparent inability to produce children was grounds for divorce. But this is not 1850 when the physical union of a man and woman is required to produce children. The definitions of words are constantly evolving and that is true for the term marriage too.

          • Lienathan

            It’s not obsession to state the truth. That was the purpose of marriage was the creation of families, which are the cornerstone unit of civilization. You all are the ones who wish to change it into something akin to ‘going steady’, but then no fault divorce and a rise in single-parent situations and other factors have rendered the institution close to meaningless at this point. Society ultimately will not benefit, but this is where we’re headed.

            You asked why the state thought it could regulate marriage, and I explained it to you. That you want to knock the house over and build something else in it’s place doesn’t make me ‘obsessed’ for pointing out why it was there in the first place.

            The State has no reasonable interest in providing breaks, benefits or legal protection to pairs of lovers. Childbearing relationships were the State’s interest. If that’s no longer the reason for marriage, then the State should just back out of it entirely, as I said at the start.

          • bpuharic

            We redefined marriage in the 17th century when we turned it from a business relationship into a romantic one

            So you lost that one several centuries ago. As to no faults, that’s something we STRAIGHTS did to has NOTHING to do with being gay. Good luck in resetting the clock on that one.

            And gay marriage has NOTHING to do with how we straights view marriage. Gay marriage ELEVATES marriage since it extends it as a social institution to disadvantaged people.

            The state has an interest in gay marriage since it is a property relationship, like any other marriage

          • bpuharic

            First you’re wrong that it’s a ‘psychosexual dysfunction’ since the APA disagrees.

            And Scalia said it was fine to jail gays. He ruled that way in the “Lawrence” decision. So, again, you’re wrong.

            Let me know when you have a position that’s even close to being right.

          • Lienathan

            It’s flatly obvious that it’s a dysfunction, regardless of what politically motivated pointy-headed academics want to say to make the broken people feel good about themselves.

            Properly functioning sex drive points you toward a mating pair that will pass on your genes. This is basic biology and is that way in all aspects of the animal kingdom.

            Homosexual conduct has no chance of procreation and no evolutionary or societal advantage whatever.

            If you think this is ‘normal’ or ‘healthy’ sexual function you’re, frankly, deluded and you’re opinion of what you think is right and wrong is worth less than nothing to me.

            I don’t care what Scalia said, I said *I* don’t see a reason to prosecute gays, but neither should we treat homosexuality as a ‘preferred’ condition and elevate it to be equal with healthy and productive sexual relationships.

          • bpuharic

            A psychological dysfunction has NOTHING to do with passing on your genes. That’s YOUR opinion, based on…well, based on nothing. Most people who have sex are doing so NOT because they want to pass on genes.That’s why the world is not flooded with people so your argument is,again, wrong on its face.

            It’s a bigoted, ad hominem attack on gays.

            Gay sex has the same ‘societal advantage’ that we straights have…it’s pleasurable and provides social bonding. No one cares that your arbitrary view of gays makes ALL human beings into Von Neuman machines

            And it’s not ELEVATING gays to a ‘preferred’ condition to recognize them as equals any more than it was doing the same to interracial couples for the same reason

            Your perverted obsession with gays notwithstanding.

          • bpuharic

            Rather odd to see folks who JAILED their opponents tell us that they know the ‘true’ definition of the reason they jailed them. Trust me you’re not going anywhere with this argument because it’s wrong on its face.

            Full stop? Again and again you keep telling me to play in your sandbox. Sorry. Not going to happen; you bring your own sand!

            Your focus on marriage as a genital relationship is self defeating. That’s why it’s wrong. You want to redefine marriage?

            You just did.

          • Lienathan

            Sigh. You DO know why marriage even has a place in civil law, yes? Because it is the relationship by which CHILDREN are generated, which requires two complementary sets of GENITALIA.
            In various cultures at various times, the two people in a marriage were put together by their familes. “Love” had no place in it. it’s a societial and property contract for dealing with heredity and inheritance.
            Are you that much of an idiot?

          • Fred

            No, just an ideologically blind fanatic.

          • bpuharic

            Guess the same was true of Martin Luther King.

          • bpuharic

            Sigh…if that were true only couples that were fertile could get married.

            Nowhere on a marriage license is there a requirement to have children

            So you’re wrong.

            And marriage was redefined when we made it a love relationship. It’s done.

          • bankerdanny

            So then union between a man and woman which cannot produce children due to medical conditions is not a marriage? As with same sex partners, procreation between the pair is not possible. Should the sterile or menopausal be denied the right to marry?

            And thanks to modern reproductive technology gay men and women become biological parents every hour of every day. The entire human race could suddenly become homosexual and maintaining the species would not be a problem.

            The argument that gays have the same right to marry a member of the opposite sex as straights is simply a tiresome nonsequitor.

            All of your religious arguments mean nothing in this discussion because we are talking about the civil recognition of marriage. Churches remain free to sanctify or not sanctify same sex unions as they see fit.

          • Lienathan

            I haven’t brought up religion once. That’s your assumption. Pro SSM people, when confronted with an argument on the fact that homosexuality is not and can’t be identical to heterosexual relationships can’t deal with that so they whip out the Christian card. It doesn’t matter what the Bible says, ultimately. Biology says those parts don’t work together mechanically even if it feels good to rub them together. Sorry if that hurts your feelings.

            Homosexuality is a psychosexual dysfunction that makes a person inappropriately sexually attracted to members of their own gender. Males and males are biologically incompatible, same for females and females. neither pairing is ever capable of unaided procreation. Period. This is essential biology. I.e. science, which is supposed to be the religion of all progressives everywhere. That gay couple can adopt or use surrogates doesn’t change the fact that the pair of them cannot procreate together. That is pretty much inarguable. That doesn’t change even if technology finds some way to combine their genetic material into a child through artifical means. Gays CAN’T procreate without intervention. Ever. That’s just a fact.

            Pro-SSM people always bring up the edge cases (sterility, age) because they can’t argue the main case. In case you hadn’t noticed, law, especially federal law, is really good at ‘one size fits most’ but can’t really account for every edge case that comes along. That’s not how legislation is or should be done. It doesn’t matter if the couple ultimately are infertile, they are still male/female and so fit within the bounds of the law. If you want the government to start digging into your medical records or make you give samples to determine whether you are fertile before sanctioning a marriage or dictating a maximum age, well, that’s on you, I ain’t going there. The government set a very easy to understand test – Over the age of consent, consenting, male/female. It’s really not that hard to follow.

            SSM changes that equation. It redefines our understanding of marriage, and your arguments as presented prove that out. You need to do all sorts of contortions to make the square peg fit in the round hole, and you pretty much prove my point.

          • bpuharic

            Homophobes have a machine view of human beings. Biology is destiny and we’re nothing more than machines for making babies

            And since even Paul Clement couldn’t tell us of any SECULAR reason for banning SSM, the ONLY reason to oppose it IS the “Christian’ card.

            When you, with your crude vulgar biological reducationism, create a SECULAR case THEN you’ll have an argument against SSM.

            So far better people than you have tried

            And failed.

          • Lienathan

            And there’s the ad hominem, right on time.

            Anybody that doesn’t celebrate and applaud homosexuality is a ‘homophobe’. Who’s the narrow minded one, here? If you can’t win the argument, call somebody a name. I applaud you.

            I’m not arguing here to convince you, and at this point I think we’re done. You’re quite obviously cemented into your position, and you’re certainly not going to convince me.Those who view this discussion can draw their own conclusions. Your verdict was predetermined.

          • bpuharic

            You don’t like being called a homophobe? Think it’s ad ‘ad hominem’ comment?

            Rather strange from someone who thinks gays are ‘psychologically dysfunctional’. If that’s not an ‘ad hominem’ argument, perhaps you need a Latin dictionary.

          • Lienathan


  • Recovering Lutheran

    “On the state level today, the big news is the setback for Texas Republicans hoping to use a special session to enact some of the most pro-life legislation in the country. Republicans announced that the law, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, had passed, only to quickly recant. The vote was invalid because it hadn’t followed proper legislative procedure.”

    The vote was invalid because a tiny handful of demonstrators disrupted the legislative process of an entire state by literally shouting down efforts to have a vote. This is the sort of thing one would expect in a thugocracy like Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela, but not in America.

    At any rate, it says nothing about your thesis.

  • Laurel Lowrey

    Wrong! Gay marriage is about societal norms, hence societal pressure. There will be no ‘tolerance’ for those who oppose it. You have got to know that. Nothing stops gays from setting up house. They want everyone forced to accept them. Same with abortion. Steps are slightly different, but it’s still a dance. Change the language? Baby to fetus, murder to ‘ensure fetal demise’ and so on. Check. Invent a new right no one ever heard of? Penumbras and emanations, anyone? Require gov’t support? See Planned Parenthood’s money pipeline. Yep. It ain’t about individualism. And, oh yeah, Obamacare is also requiring abortion coverage. So, tell me again, with a straight face this time, how the individual is just making out like crazy under our glorious elite. Perhaps you might also consider the USSSC throwing citizens under the bus with the decision on Prop 8.

    • bpuharic

      There will be no tolerance? Proof?

      Well…the messages beamed into your tin foil hat, I suppose. Of course, it makes as much sense to say that gay marriage OPPONENTS want death camps (some preachers in NC and AZ HAVE said this, but they’re fringe.)

      • azt24

        The proof is in Justice Kennedy’s declaration that opposition to gay marriage can only be motivated by “animus”.

        So the whole deference to states is a fraud. Kennedy defers to states but give them only one right answer. If states oppose gay marriage, he has declared them in the wrong and their laws will be overturned on that basis. Just like the will of the voters of California has been overturned, with a handy pocket veto handed to conniving officials who refuse to defend their people.

        • bpuharic

          So you’re saying animus…discrimination…IS a state interest?

          Paul Clement, the attorney arguing FOR prop 8, couldn’t tell the court what secular interest the state had in banning gay marriage. He called ZERO expert witnesses

          So the evidence, primae facie, is that banning gay marriage is discriminatory.

          No one is going to be jailed for hating gays. Sorry. I realize that’s a great fund raising point but you’ll still be free to hate gays as you always have.

  • Richard S

    Good post. But one trend is missing. In California, Gov. Brown, representing elite opinion, did not feel obliged to defend the Constitution of his own state, as modified by the people of the state.
    There is also a growing elitism in American life, along with populist revolt.

    • bpuharic

      Let’s see…when I lived in Pittsburgh, the local sheriff, Gene Koon, refused to enforce eviction notices and foreclosures during the height of the financial storm.

      A few years ago, a DA in WI refused to prosecute non violent trespassers at abortion clinics

      Yet the right pretends MIRABILE DICTU!!! This has NEVER NEVER NEVER happened before!!

      In fact, several southern states have a requirement that all officeholders believe in god. Anyone here want to tell us when that last time THAT was enforced?

      • Richard S

        Precisely. The more laws we have, the more common it is for public officials to decide which laws to enforce and how to enforce them. Most of your examples are rather recent, and that’s not a coincidence.
        There is also a difference between a law that is no longer enforced, although still on the books (in the common law there was actually a title called, “non user,” and this is a related practice), and selective enforcement of a law.

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