Saturday 11 October 2008 — This is over 14 years old. Be careful.
Connecticut has joined the ranks of states allowing gay marriage, good for them. The process was similar to Massachusetts and California: couples sue for the right to marry, eventually the state Supreme Court finds that either existing laws don’t preclude gay marriage, or the state constitution won’t allow distinguishing between straight and gay couples. I for one am glad. I believe that eventually this will be accepted across the country, and people will wonder what the fuss was about. Those predicting the downfall of society will be proven wrong. We continue to have thriving families here in Massachusetts even after four years of gay marriage.
For a vibrant “debate” on the issue, check out the comments on Hot Air’s post about the news. The post itself, while disagreeing with the decision, does a good job analyzing the legal arguments in it. The comments, though, consist mostly of people hurling invective at each other, no one being swayed by either sides’ arguments.
This decision will bring the usual complaints of judicial activism (actually, they were interpreting the constitution, that’s their job), the collapse of morality (how exactly?), harm to families (by creating more of them? I don’t get it), the disenfranchisement of the people (the whole point of judges is to decide independently of public opinion) and so on. To all of them I say, open your eyes and close your mouths. Everything is fine. The boogey-man of gay marriage simply doesn’t exist.
So 3 down, 48 to go. :)
Like all wicked problems, when the system does fall, it will be equally difficult to prove whether this was a factor or not. Our memories just aren't that long and our histories aren't that detailed. So believe whatever god, government, or guru you prefer which claims to know better at that point.
@Robert: I was being a bit facetious with my four-year claim. Although, to listen to the chicken littles on the other side of this debate, you'd think the devil was walking amongst us already...
You may think that they have misinterpreted the state constitution, and I could understand why you would. The interpretation is of course the tricky part of the job, and why judges are required in the first place. (I once discussed this with a simplistic conservative who wondered why the constitution needs interpretation at all: why could we just do what it says?)
To argue that they are ignoring laws and writing their own is to completely overlook the actual process involved. I think your claim here and the "activist judge" label in general are mere demagoguery, taking a complex and subtle process, turning into something simple and bad. With these labels we have clear villains in the piece: the populace can be riled up against the demon judges, and we needn't look at the actual issues involved.
What I don't like is the timing, 3 weeks before the general election. Issues like this become a flash point for the religious right, which I believe is the most powerful political force in the country today.
I'd really like to see the elections decided on the basis of the candidates' stands on things like the war, the economy, health care, the environment...
Just my .02.
The timing is bad from the perspective you describe. I feel extremely threatened by the Religious Right of any faith, and the RR in our country is definitely getting stronger.
However, timing is definitely just that: perspective. If you are part of a couple who really wants to get married officially, and start your lives together with the excitement and joy of any newlywed couple, then you will probably feel like the timing could not be better.
Talk about slippery slopes: isn't it a very tricky matter to decide who can and who cannot raise children?
And why is it that the discussion of gay marriage invariably leads to debates about its effect on families and children, when it really has very little to do with that? Gays are forming families now even where they cannot be married: most states allow adoption by gay couples. The changes in marriage statutes won't change the way families are formed for the most part, so why do we always end up there?
I think the question of gay marriage is really about respect for the relationship.
Ned, I think it's different than lack of respect. I think it's really more about fear and ignorance. How many gay couples have the bible thumpers ever even been exposed to?
Maybe at the end of the day, it's pretty much the same thing.
Tolerance is good. Intolerance is bad.
Sorry for 2 comments in the same day, but I love this kinda discussion.
After California, Massachusetts and Connecticut, New York would be a logical state to follow suit, but the State Senate refuses to consider the issue. Meanwhile, Governor Patterson has issued an executive order recognizing all same sex marriages carried out in other states. At some point, every NY resident who wants to marry a same sex partner is going to take a quick trip to CT and get the papers filed. I foresee a brisk business in marriage tourism if CT doesn't place bureaucratic hurdles in front of nonresidents.
Let's not forget that gay marriage is a very new idea. When Phyllis Schlafly said in the 70s that the ERA would lead to gay marriage she was laughed at for suggesting something so preposterous. Government only got into the marriage licensing game in the first place because it was so common and agreed upon. Gay marriage will probably be common and agreed upon in a short time (by human standards) so let's wait for that.
NB, some of my best pals in my bowling league are gay. Yes, you read that right; there is even a gay bowling league at my alley but the more competitive bowlers bowl other nights.
And both sides are to blame for getting caught up in it. I can't blame pro-marriage advocates for jumping on the chance to push their cause, but I wish people would see that in doing so, they are aiding the Republican party in their campaign to push the emotion button amongst their constituents. It is a damned-if-you-do damned-if-you-don't scenario, but I think the evidence that advocates are getting played for political gain for the opposing party is overwhelming.
The fact is, gay marriage is a difficult issue because people are not willing -- and throughout history have not been willing -- to acknowledge social change. Look at the civil rights movement in the 60's. Not until the law of the land changed did any sort of social acceptance occur. But one thing I do know: there is a separation of Church and State in our constitution, and yet religion seems to be the main force against this particular change. That is utterly unconstitutional, no matter who your judge is.
Yes technically the majority discovered that the constitution already allowed gay marriage and didn't pass a law or invent a new right. Call me cynical but the idea that this constitutional right went unnoticed for 200 years until just now implies that maybe it isn't in the constitution after all.
I went and read the majority opinion, and both the dissents (one, and two - technically there is a third but it is only a "me too" paragraph). The decision was 4-3 and that the majority had to write over 80 pages to justify their opinion. In doing so they also amended the CT constitution to include gay persons to the already enumerated list (like, actually in the written constitution) of protected groups. They also had to invoke "intermediate scrutiny" instead of "strict scrutiny." The dissents mainly had a problem with the intermediate scrutiny because it opens the door for others to assert constitutional claims under the lower standard. All the dissents include the phrase "judicial fiat."
Again, I don't dislike the particular result but I very much dislike the channel. We don't need a more politicized judiciary than we already have.
So you are saying that you believe it to be complete coincidence that the states that have passed gay-marriage laws happened to do so in the months preceding the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections? What didn't Connecticut pass this in 2005 when the topic was still fresh in peoples' minds? Or last year. What about 2004 and 2008 is so special to trigger states to finally take action?
Or, if you look at it a different way, what is it about 2004 and 2008 that made the opposition step aside to allow these laws to finally pass?
Do you honestly believe there is absolutely nothing significant in the *exactly* 4 year delay between Massachusetts and California passing gay-marriage laws and Connecticut finally following suite? Especially when it was such a polarizing topic in the 2004 presidential debate. I, for one, find the coincidence to great to ignore.
Also to say that there is something to the various roles and responsibilities of the nuclear family after all. And perhaps to ask, who is really disenfranchised?
My own framing of this issue is strange to most people: Marriage is for the children, and that society has a say in the matter (re: respecting
the relationship and special designation of marriage or not). These values keep getting me back to parenting. Instead of the civil rights of the same sex partners, I'd be more concerned with the civil rights of children to both a mother and a father, and that taking priority.
Apparently the state isn't complaining when gays adopt, but it's difficult for me to accept a relationship designed for child-rearing that is not mother-father.
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