The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Quick Hits on the N.Y. Court Ruling

The New Your State Court of Appeals ruling on gay marriage is all over the wires and the blogs by now, and I should (and will) leave it to others more expert than I to suss out the legal issues in the wake of the ruling. But there are a few things worth pointing out.

First, the court didn’t so much ban same-sex marriage as it declined to recognize same-sex marriages, finding that the state constitution doesn’t requires it do so. Instead, the ruling kicks the matter back to the legislature.

The New York State Court of Appeals refused to recognize same-sex marriage in a ruling issued on Thursday, saying the issue was a question for the Legislature to decide.

The New York case involved 44 gay and lesbian couples who filed four separate cases seeking to overturn as unconstitutional a 97-year-old state law that defines marriage as between a man and woman.

The couples claimed the law violated their constitutional rights because it defended sex discrimination. The cases were heard together by the court in Albany.

"We hold that the New York Constitution does not compel recognition of marriages between members of the same sex," the appeals court said in its 70-page ruling. "Whether such marriages should be recognized is a question to be addressed by the Legislature."

This may not be a bad thing. As I pointed out earlier, sometimes state legislatures decide in our favor, as was the case in California. I’ve noted before that polls show the tide of public opinion is turning in favor of marriage equality, with a greater number of Americans supporting either same-sex marriage or civil unions. And younger generations of voters — a future majority? — are more supportive of marriage equality than their elders. According to Keith, polls show that a majority of New Yorkers support same-sex marriage, and opposition has decreased. It’s looking more and more like opponents of marriage equality are running out of time.

It’s ironic that the ruling comes on the heels of a study that knocks a leg out from under one popular argument against marriage equality. Mombian notes that the majority decision cited the baby-making benefit to support their ruling. This in the same week that the American Academy of Pediatrics reported that marriage equality would benefit children of same-sex couples.

Civil marriage is a legal status that promotes healthy families by conferring a powerful set of rights, benefits, and protections that cannot be obtained by other means. Civil marriage can help foster financial and legal security, psychosocial stability, and an augmented sense of societal acceptance and support. Legal recognition of a spouse can increase the ability of adult couples to provide and care for one another and fosters a nurturing and secure environment for their children. Children who are raised by civilly married parents benefit from the legal status granted to their parents.

Gay and lesbian people have been raising children for many years and will continue to do so in the future; the issue is whether these children will be raised by parents who have the rights, benefits, and protections of civil marriage. Same-gender couples are denied the right to civil marriage in every state except Massachusetts and the right to civil union except in Connecticut and Vermont. The federal government and other state governments do not recognize those civil marriages and civil unions.

There is ample evidence to show that children raised by same-gender parents fare as well as those raised by heterosexual parents. More than 25 years of research have documented that there is no relationship between parents’ sexual orientation and any measure of a child’s emotional, psychosocial, and behavioral adjustment. These data have demonstrated no risk to children as a result of growing up in a family with 1 or more gay parents. Conscientious and nurturing adults, whether they are men or women, heterosexual or homosexual, can be excellent parents. The rights, benefits, and protections of civil marriage can further strengthen these families.

Well, duh. If anyone requires proof, I’ve got a happy, healthy 3.5 year-old at home, thriving with same-sex parents since he was four days old. (And the second adoption is currently in the works.)

In that regard the Academy joins a broad range of professional organizations that all say pretty much the same thing: gays & lesbians can make equally good parents, our kids fare just as well developmentaly as kids in other families, our families have the same needs as other families, and our kids would fare even better if their families had equal rights and protections.

So, the New York decision is a disappointment, but I wouldn’t chalk it up as a loss just yet. In the long run, I think time, history, and the majority of Americans — most of whom, I still want to believe, are fair-minded people — will be on our side in the final analysis.

21 Comments

  1. Pingback: Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator

  2. First, the court didn’t so much ban same-sex marriage as it declined to recognize same-sex marriages, finding that the state constitution doesn’t requires it do so.

    Agreed. I for one am tired of the “banning gay marriage” rhetoric. In fact, any phraseology based on “gay marriage” is destined to be a misnomer.

    I kept hearing over and over again the term “same-sex marriage” and “gay marriage”. Now that I think about it, I have no idea how that became a media standard. True, its an oxymoron. But only to people who already are set in a man-woman definition of marriage. I think there is a better reason to re-think the phrase — it’s misleading.

    To me, using the adjectives like “same-sex” to describe a change in marriage is problematic, and worse is “gay” marriage. It is misleading because it only describes who is going to benefit from changing marriage, not the change itself. And “gay” only describes a small subset of homosexuality. In fact because it just concentrates on a small subset of people it acts like a pair of blinders. Many, I believe, are taking this superficially and think there is no change to marriage at all or any prospective harm. And others are rallying behind their pet homosexual agendas when they should be looking at the broader ramifications.

    I submit that the proper term to describe that change is “neutered”.

    Exactly what would be neutered about marriage, and why? The shared public meaning of marriage across society is neutered, even if it only happens in one state. The Massachusetts Supreme Court decision Goodridge v Public Health decided that for the sake of the plaintiffs the current view of marriage needed to be changed. Marriage in its current form, they found, is defined by gender integration and that was a barrier to the same sex couples.

    So the order came down from the bench for marriage to be neutered. The people in individual marriages were not set to be neutered but all references to gender in official documents and law were to be removed neutering marriage as an institution. Every significance of fatherhood, motherhood needed to be struck down. And everything gender integration was capable of the state was required to expend its own resources provide to gender segregationists. In its stead is a parenthood which includes purchased children from a medical industry set up on creating unwanted babies. Procreation is an industry, parenthood is the customer? Talk about trampling on children. More on this is from NYU Professor David Velleman.

    And the court went further, painting the ideal of gender integration as the moral equivalent to white supremacy. Government instituted integration becomes the new bigotry, and allowing segregation is the new equality. And ironically the neutering is portrayed as an extension.

    sometimes state legislatures decide in our favor, as was the case in California.

    For the most part it is the people directly that are speaking through popular referendum in the 45 states that have explicitely passed laws on this issue. It is quite an embarassment to California that the legislature felt it could attempt to pass an unconstitutional law like wool over the populaces eyes. If the legislature can’t represent the people, it isn’t a representational democracy.

    According to Keith, polls show that a majority of New Yorkers support same-sex marriage, and opposition has decreased. It’s looking more and more like opponents of marriage equality are running out of time.

    Wishful thinking. With 45 states already on the books, and others following this year, and the vast majorities supporting these laws I think you are spinning out of control here.

    The more this debate is in the public eye the more people realize that marriage means something to us, and that homosexuality is a seperate issue. Rhetoric against marriage amendments say that the issue is solved, we already have laws affirming marriage. Now you seem to wish to say the same evidence means that support for marriage is waning.

    And younger generations of voters — a future majority? — are more supportive of marriage equality than their elders.

    It is always interesting to me that the people with the least experience with marriage are held up by the desperate marriage neuterers as experts. How orwellian.

    This in the same week that the American Academy of Pediatrics reported that marriage equality would benefit children of same-sex couples.

    As a conduit for government welfare, who is to say they wouldn’t benefit? This is one of the problems with the blinders I noted above, with such a narrow focus the APA misses the point. What about other unmarried people with children? These include polygamous, polyamorous, incestuous, and non-romantic arrangements. Wouldn’t these arrangements benefit to under the same argument?

    That the APA is concerned with such a narrow subset of these unmarried arrangements undermines their objectivity.

  3. I agree –
    I am a straight white woman, ordained minister, unmarried, childless, happy to be so – and have several lesbians and gays who are blood relation to me. I love them. They should be able to enjoy the same rights and priviledges as everyone else.
    Why is it any of our business, anyway?
    Americans will be a lot happier when we learn to butt out of other’s bodies, religions, relationships, beliefs, homes and personal lives.
    *sigh*

  4. Precisely, how would gay marriage directly benefit the children?

  5. Precisely, how would gay marriage directly benefit the children?

    You’re kidding. Right?

    Name all the ways that marriage benefits children in other families.

    Civil marriage is a legal status that promotes healthy families by conferring a powerful set of rights, benefits, and protections that cannot be obtained by other means. Civil marriage can help foster financial and legal security, psychosocial stability, and an augmented sense of societal acceptance and support. Legal recognition of a spouse can increase the ability of adult couples to provide and care for one another and fosters a nurturing and secure environment for their children. Children who are raised by civilly married parents benefit from the legal status granted to their parents

    .

    Children of same-sex couples would gain those same benefits through marriage equality.

  6. protections that cannot be obtained by other means

    Second-parent adoption is more straightforward and establishes directly creates the parent-child legal relationship that SSM does not.

  7. Second parent adoption does not provide the rights and protections of marriage beyond parental right; rights and protections like social security, pension inheritance, etc., that are essential in situations where one parent dies; rights that are not accessible through any other avenue besides marriage; rights that benefit children by making families more stable during times of crisis.

    There are over 1,000 of them. Second parent adoption provides none of them. We adopted our son jointly, but do not have any of the rights and protection mentioned in the study or in the link above.

  8. The 1,000 thing is misleading as these are legal incidents, and few of them are necessarily benefits to married adults let alone direct benefits to the children.

    What direct benefit to children would you expect to get from SSM if you do not first have the second-parent legal status?

  9. Second parent adoption isn’t the issue. In most states where gays & lesbians can adopt, second parent adoption is already available. Beyond second parent adoption, marriage equailtywoudl provide gay & lesbian families with the same resourcses heterosexuals alerady have access to in order to help provide support and stability to their famiiles in the event of the loss of a parent, etc.

    Go back and look at that post. The items mentioned there are all the things that heterosexuals have access to in order to provide support and stability to thier families. Second parent adoption, which is already available in states where gays can legally adopt, doesn’t provide any of those.

    For example, my partner and I adopted jointly. We are both our son’s legal parents. However, if my partner were to die accidentally, I would still have access to fewer resources to keep my family afloat than would a surviving heterosexual spouse in the same situation. Being able to jointly adopt doesn’t provide that.

    For that matter, childless heterosexuals would have all of those rights in the same situation. But I and others in gay families do not.

  10. The tide of public opinion may well be turning, which is good, but Georgia is still as bass-ackward as ever. :( :( :( I swear we’d move to Oregon if D. wouldn’t fall into deep depression due to the winters there.

  11. I disagree with Terrance that the New York Court of Appeals ruling is a “disappointment” but “not a loss.”
    We (the LGBT folk who want marriage equality) lost, “big time” as Lord Vader would say. Yes, it is true that same-sex couples could not get married in New York the day before the ruling, and can not get married the day after the ruling. However the ramifications of the ruling are (and the 1950s reasoning) are disturbing. Note that courts of last resort in New Jersey and Washington state are both considering similar marriage challenges.

    It’s more than just disappointing that a putatively liberal court simply could not recognize not only the searing nature of the discrimination inherent in current marriage laws but the also the necessary remedy.

  12. Terence, sexual orientation is not a qualifier for what you want. Rather, it is to form a marriage — which is comprised of husband and wife — rather than to form a nonmarital alternative that segregates based on sex.

    As for the indirect benefits to children, via the welfare state, that is a different matter that can be addressed by modifying access. Be more specific and an appropriate reform or change can be put on the table that fits the problem.

    Reciprocal Beneficiaries does not presume sexual relations of any sort, but it provides the mutual trust relationship with recognition and direct benefits. That is the way to go. No need to touch the state’s recognition of the social institution of marriage.

    I think that it does not boildown to government bestowed benefits. There is something else that is behind the SSM project. The imposition of a particular morality on the rest of a society that tolerates what the SSM project wishes for society to approve of. It remains a matter for the democratic process outside of the courtroom.

  13. Neutering marriage for the sake of only homsexuals is rather bigoted towards a sexual orientation. Not only does it make a special pleading based on a lifestyle, but it actively commits state resources in ways that are well beyond the already discredited 1000 point list. (I mean really, what do lesbians do with presumed paternity? Its unreal.)

    Neutered marriage provides a procreation industry, lets think about that, because some people are angry that their lifestyle isn’t as good as another we are treating procreation as commerce. Massachusetts, home of the largest fertility industry in the USA, sells children. And now the state is commited to foster the commerce of this baby selling industry because their court ruled it was the equivelent of white supremacy not to do so.

    People endorsing neutered marriage on the false premise of equality are misguided. What happens is not equality at all, but a number of subjected minorities to exhault the wishes and selfish desires of another selected minority. The crimes against humanity that are swept under the carpet for this already pampered class is entirely inhumane.

    “But we want our 1000 benefits” some say. Of course you do, access to state money and benefits is what everyone wants. But you need to take a cold dispationate look at yourself and what the state is really doing.

    And that is why 45 states have already acted. That is why neutered marriage is a step backwards.

  14. I swear we’d move to Oregon if D. …

    Hate to rain on your grass-is-greener parade, but not only did the Oregon Supreme Court rule roundly against gay marriage, but Oregon also recently added a one-man-one-woman definition to their constitution. Much as Oregon appears to be a bastion of hope for aging hippies bent on smoking weed and killing themselves before they get older, on the subject of remolding marriage to match the sexual whim of the day they seem to have fallen in line with the rest of the nation. Try Massachussets. At least there the citizenry has been prevented from voting on the issue for now.

  15. Neutering marriage for the sake of only homsexuals is rather bigoted towards a sexual orientation.

    On Lawn in 1860: “Emancipating the slaves for the sake of only blacks is rather bigoted toward a race.”

    On Lawn in 1890: “Neutering suffrage for the sake of only women is rather bigoted toward a gender.”

  16. There is one human race and it is two-sexed. The race analogy falls apart.

    The racist filter was an identity-based filter, just like sexual identity. The subjective criteria do not qualify for an objective classification. Skin color, for example, while inheritable just like “blood lines”, does not provide an objective criterion for classification of subspecies — or a superior species — of humankind. Sex, not gender roles, but sex, is an objective criterion when it comes to the combination of sex integration and responsible procreation. Thus, the sexual identity filter, not some claim to immutable homosexual orientation, would segregate the sexes, just as the racist filter once did, on the basis of an irrelevant basis.

    Racism is extrinsic to marriage; sexual identity (i.e. “gay”) is extrinsic to the conjugal relationship of husband AND wife. Either filter presents a denial of both the diversity (two sexes, all skincolors) and the unity (one human race) of our humanity.

    By the way, the racist filter did more than deny certain combinations of man-woman the right to state recognition of marital status; it segregated, and positively punished, even casual sex relations, prostiution, and “dating” when the false criteria of racial subsepecies was enacted.

    Meanwhile, the one-sex towsomes may be short one of the sexes for marriage, but they are free to live and love in New York and elsewhere. Theirs is a liberty exercised, not a right denied.

  17. Typo correction and clarification: “on the basis of an irrelevant physical feature or on the basis of an irrelevancy, ancestory, when it comes to the societal interest in sex integration and responsible procreation.”

  18. Jeff,

    How interesting.

    I write a post that says why I’m against neutering marriage. Some of the points include how the act of neutering marriage encourages treating human life as a commodity, and subjects minorities for the sake of a pampered minority.

    And then you take that as pro-slavery?

    On Lawn in 1860: “Emancipating the slaves for the sake of only blacks is rather bigoted toward a race.

    It is dissapointing that you have decided to sell your respectability on this argument with such an easily discredited lie. Do you often debate here? Do you often try to lie about others? Have people around here come to respect you for the fantasy world you hold to that is so far from reality?

    Slavery was abolished for the sake of individual freedom. After slavery was abolished we learned that the fight for fairness in opportunity wasn’t over. Racial integration in schools and marriages was a way to bring about ideal goals. Seperation was a way to create disparity between races.

    In endorsing same-sex marriage one inherently endorses gender segregation.

    So not only is your quote made up, examining it shows that it is entirely misplaced.

    On Lawn in 1890: “Neutering suffrage for the sake of only women is rather bigoted toward a gender.”

    Woman’s sufferage was brought about largely due to the infuence women were able to weild through their marriages. Rarely in history do we see such an event as with woman’s sufferage. A set of people voluntarily vote to share their power with others. And what influence woman had greater than their marriages, I haven’t seen.

    Gender integration, like we’ve seen with racial integration, increases the fairness. Being for same-sex marriage is to be for creating a gender segregation option and then expecting the government to make up the difference.

    If these were schools it would be like a public school deciding to be all-white, as long as there is an integrated school too people could choose. But beyond that the government would ensure that anyone who graduated would be given a job of equal or greater value as the anyone who attended the integrated school. Or just give them that much money.

    But Chairm’s point is well taken. Race and gender are not interchangable analogies.

  19. “…A set of people voluntarily vote to share their power with others.”

    It only took about a few thousand years. And to this day, in many parts of the world, your “nonneutered” non-gay marriages haven’t given women their share of power. Is it a coincidence that these societies also happen to be more homophobic? Without looking it up, I bet you that where women have weiled enough influence, they have influenced men that had to put up being demeened for their lack of “manliness”…and so, I bet you, they were called whatever equivalent insults they had for “fags.”

    Your “gender segregation” “equal gender representation” nonsense is that…nonsense.

  20. Arturo,

    What is nonsense is your unbelievable clasp onto homosexual superiority, your gay-chauvanism. So much so that you speak actively against diversity and integration and its documented influence in order to forward your gender segregationist ideals.

    I don’t see anything in that post beyond such an attempt. When you have something more important to say, you’ll know where to find me.

  21. On Lawn:

    More than anything, your fantasies of “gay chauvanism” are good for a laugh. So thanks. You do care to keep me amused.

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