The Republic of T.

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

Straight Civil Rights Questions

One of the things that’s interesting in the whole discussion about the various legal statuses that may or may not be applied to same-sex couples is the question of just who else they may or may not apply to. For example, if you establish a reciprocal beneficiaries status that’s available to same-sex couples, and other eligible adults who are interdependent relationships but for some reason can not marry, should unmarried heterosexual couples be eligible as well? If they’re not, is that discrimination?

One woman in Washington state thinks so, and she’s filing a civil rights suit.

The complaint, filed last week, is one of four that have spawned full-fledged investigations under the sexual orientation section of Washington’s antidiscrimination law.

It was signed by Sandi Scott-Moore, a Redmond-based employee of manufacturer Honeywell International. Scott-Moore claims health insurance coverage for her male partner was denied because the unmarried couple is not of the same gender.

…The measure was aimed squarely at protecting Washington’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender residents. But its language is broader, banning any discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Joseph Fuiten, chairman of the conservative Faith and Freedom Network, said opponents of the gay rights measure predicted scenarios such as the Honeywell-related complaint.

“(Gays and lesbians) basically said, ‘Treat us fair, treat us the same as everybody else,”‘ Fuiten said. “I don’t know how you’re going to get around treating heterosexuals the same.”

… Jennifer Pizer, a lawyer for the gay-rights firm Lambda Legal, said similar cases have been raised elsewhere without much success. But the group generally supports efforts that are aimed at ending discrimination, she said.

“It’s marital status discrimination. You’re telling people, in essence, they will be paid less” because they can’t get the same benefits, Pizer said.

As I mentioned before, this is part of a discussion we’re going to be having for a while, at least among people who agree that same-sex couples should have some (many? most? nearly all?) of the same rights and protections as married couples but disagree on just how (and how soon?) we can accomplish that. If it comes down to fairness, and we start with the assumption that it’s unfair to deny these rights and protections to same-sex couples, is it equally unfair to create a separate legal status for “people who cannot legally marry” — a set of the population which would include same-sex couples among many others — and thus deny those rights and protections to heterosexuals who choose not to marry?

I mentioned earlier what’s happening in Colorado where politics have made strange bedfellows of gay rights organizations and James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, as both sides support a bill to establish reciprocal beneficiary status for same-sex couples and others not eligible to marry. Unmarried heterosexuals in the state have said the bill doesn’t go far enough.

The reciprocal beneficiary bill would give a few legal benefits to two unmarried adults who are not eligible to marry each other, such as blood relatives or same-sex couples. Among the protections are rights to hospital visitation, medical decision making, disposition of remains, inheritance without a will, and worker’s compensation survivor benefits.

… Left out of the debate in Hawaii and Vermont, and now Colorado, is the legal status of unmarried heterosexual couples. They have been consistently excluded from the definition of “reciprocal beneficiaries” in these states since they are eligible to marry. They are also excluded from “domestic partnerships” or “civil unions” because they are not gay.

Like it or not, to the scores of opposite-sex couples who are delaying marriage or who would prefer being considered domestic partners rather than spouses, the political message seems apparent: let them eat wedding cake.

God forbid that unmarried heterosexual couples should have a legal option other than marriage.

Have we come to a point at which on one hand we deny same-sex couples the legal option to marry, and on the other we deny unmarried opposite-sex couples the option to choose any other legal status besides marriage? It gets fuzzier if common-law marriage — under which heterosexual couples may qualify as legally married if the live together and “act married” for long enough —is factored in, because it’s only available in 15 states and the District of Columbia, and it’s probably administered differently in each of those states. So, without claim to some legal status, unmarried opposite-sex couples aren’t much better off than same-sex partners in terms of (a) clarity on what their rights and benefits are and (b) the portability of those rights and protections.

Well, except for one thing. Unless they’re legally ineligible because of age or blood relationship, they do have the option to marry even if they choose not to. If it’s unfair to bar them from choosing legal alternatives to marriage, is it unfair to grant them access to those alternatives in addition to the right to marry while restricting same-sex couples only to the legal alternatives and barring them from legally marrying? Why or why not?

It may be a bad analogy but if we are choosing between, say, flavors of ice cream and there are three flavors to choose from, are we basically saying to unmarried heterosexuals “You can only have one flavor,” and to same-sex couples “You can choose from these five, but you can’t have that one”? And if heterosexual couples succeed in legally expanding their options to, say, all six flavors, are we still saying to same-sex couples “They can have any flavor they want, but you’ll have to chose from just these two?”

Is either fair? I don’t know. I’m asking.

9 Comments

  1. You know, this is a very interesting question.

    Health benefits are really where the rubber meets the road, and one area where I think a lot of pressure for social change will be focused. Health benefits cost a lot, but they’re also something employers really have to offer to get skilled employees. And since many skilled employees have same-sex partners, you’re going to see a lot of pressure on companies to provide them to those partners. They can’t deny their employees coverage if they offer it to other employees, but the employees may very well walk if they don’t get partner benefits. And soon you have unmarried het employees why they can’t get benefits for their committed partners.

    The funniest part of all this? Focus on the Family hasn’t caught on that one way to defuse this issue is to push for universal health coverage. If health care is not tied to a job or a partner (and there’s really no reason it should be), there will be less pressure to acknowledge and accept the very kinds of relationships Dobson abhors. If they were smart, they’d push for single-payer health care.

  2. This reminds me of the irony that Judge William Downing noted in his opinion striking Washingtoin’s denial of the right toi marry to same sex couples (the decision the Washington Supreme Court recently overturned). He said:

    The Court is inclined to offer this perhaps gratuitous observation. If there is indeed any outside threat to the institution of marriage, it could well lie in legislative tinkering with the creation of alternative species of quasi-marriage. With the creation of “civil unions”, “domestic partnerships” or other variations on the theme including, worst of all, something like a “five year plan with opt-out”, there could be a real danger. When cohabiting heterosexual couples can sign up for a renewable or revocable fixed term contract to define the terms of their state-recognized relationship, then marriage, as an institution, could be weakened.

    I’m very inclined to agree with that statement. Marriage is not threatened by same sex couples seeking to marry, but ironically by those that, in their zeal to deny marriage to said couples, craft looser, weaker forms of marriage thatare less binding. If such marriages-lite are to be offered to opposite sex couples as well as same sex couples, they may actually be doing more damage to marriage than “protecting” or “defending” as more and more younger couples seem to be going for the marriage-lite agreements than marriage itself, the woman above included. In essence, marriage needs defending from its so- called defenders that would rather give “domestic partner benefits” and “civil unions” than marriage. This is certainly one of the issues that I think has been entirely overlooked in the debate over what marriage is and what it should be.

  3. Craig,

    If providing marriage-lite arrangements undermines marriage, then what does reducing the marriage ideal into marriage-lite arrangements do?

  4. Define “reducing the marriage ideal.” If by “reducing the marriage ideal” you mean the inclusion of same sex couples in the fundamental human right to marry, I’d say you are being bigotted in attempting to enforce a heterosexist discrimination. And if you are thinking of dragging the procreation arguement into this show me one state that 1) makes procreation a prerequisite of marriage including denial of marriage to postymenopausal or infertile women and impotent men and 2) dissolves any marriage after such time procreation and child caring is complete. Then and only then will procreation have any standing to be mentioned entailed to marriage.

    From the pragmatic standpoint, I think it is good that same sex couples have atleast some access to some of the rights of marriage since all states save Massachusetts deny the fundamental human right to marry to same sex couples. But I don’t think these “marriage lite” arrangements should be available to opposite sex couples since they have the option to pony up and get married. Same sex couples don’t have that option and the marriage lite arrangements likely would not even exist if same sex couples 1) were allowed to exercise their fundamental human right to marry or 2) were denied that fundamental human right and weren’t fighting the denial of the fundamental human right. And #2 is not going to go away, ever. PERIOD. These marriage lite arrangements didn’t start popping up until lawmaking and policymaking bodies started creating them trying to deflect some of the heat of not letting same sex couples marry or have marriage benefits. And in Massachusetts, companies are, justifiably, doing away with domestic partner benefits now that same sex couples may legally marry.

    If I were an employer, I’d give equal benefits to the same sex partner of an employee that I’d give to the married spouse of an employee and maybe then some to offset the fact that the same sex couple gets double dinged for those benefits come tax time. However, if I’m a member of a state legislature, I’d vot against domestic partner benefits, reciporcal benefits and civil unions. Why? Because this country rightly killed Jim Crow and I will not cast a vote for a separate but “equal” (Wink, wink, wink) institution. It is degrading and disrepectful if not unconstitutional. Can you really imagine Virginia in not wanting to “reduce the marriage ideal” in 1967 after miscegenation laws were struck down by the Supreme Court getting away with still denying interracial couples the right to marry by offering them “mongrel unions”? Why should states expect to get away with that with same sex couples then.

    And like I explained above, the true danger in all this is not the inclusion of same sex couples in marriage, but rather the watering down of the commitment of marriage for opposite sex couples all in the name of spiting same sex couples.

  5. If by “reducing the marriage ideal” you mean the inclusion of same sex couples in the fundamental human right to marry, I’d say you are being bigotted in attempting to enforce a heterosexist discrimination.

    I wonder if Brown V Board of education would then be considered “attempting to enforce a hetero-racist discrimination”. Swept under the rug here is that marriage brings about equality through equal gender participation. That is swept under the pejoritive use of the word “heterosexual”.

    What you call marriage equality is really just a euphamism for neutered marriage. Marriage is reduced from its ideal of the gender-complete arrangement. An arrangement that has the best opportunity to preserve children’s rights and promote equality in our most fundamental institution, marriage. Removing the gender reference of marriage is nothing more than neutering marriage. What is being neutered? The collective understanding of our ideal of marriage.

    In your advocacy, when we look under the rug, we see that segregationism is the new integration, and that what you portray as an extension is really a neutering.

    What you promote is not a passive equality, but a destructive one. You destroy everyone’s right to get married, and like a shell game simply replace it with something of the same name. Thats a bait and switch, not an extension.

    From the pragmatic standpoint, I think it is good that same sex couples have atleast some access to some of the rights of marriage

    That would be a call for a program like Reciprocal Beneficiaries. If its a matter of benefits there is no need to neuter marriage.

    I’d give equal benefits to the same sex partner of an employee that I’d give to the married spouse of an employee and maybe then some to offset the fact that the same sex couple gets double dinged for those benefits come tax time.

    And you can do that now, even with out RB’s or neutered marriage.

    And like I explained above, the true danger in all this is not the inclusion of same sex couples in marriage, but rather the watering down of the commitment of marriage for opposite sex couples all in the name of spiting same sex couples.

    The problem is watering down the commitment of marriage, and I’m still interested in why you feel it is okay to water down (e.g. neuter) marriage for the sake of homosexuality when you feel it is bad to do in general. What that arguments amounts to is a special pleading for homosexuality. I’d even go so far as to call that bias and bigotry, unless you had a good reason that is.

  6. Marriage does not “bring[] about equality through equal gender participation.” Through most of history, marriage has been a means of enforcing the subjugatiuon of women. It has been a relatively recent phenomenon for women to have any say in marriage, to be able to own property, vote, hold public office, sue in their own name. Marriage was a a legal agreement betwene two men. One man contracted with another man, a dowery was, depending on the culture, paid or received and in exchange legal title and ownership of a woman was transfered from one man to the other. We still see the remnants of this in many church marriage services when the priests asks what man gives this woman away. I always find it amazing the people bitch, moan and pout about same sex couples trying to destroy marriage as though marriage is an unchanging institution that should not and cannot be changed. They ignore the fact that marriage has changed in the past, is changing at present and will change in the future. The ending of miscegenation laws, repeal and striking down of coverture laws and the transforamtion of women as equals to men at law have been just three examples in the last 150 years. And under the logic of your one man and one women in marriage makes the sexes equal argument, if such an arrangement is to be enforced at law, shouldn’t the same be done of race? After all, by that logic, blacks and whites can only be truly equal if all marriages are force to be between a black and a white.

    Thye only thing I select to destroy is ancient bigoted hetero-normative, and sexist male chauvinistic stereotypes about the “proper” roles of men and women and their roles in any interaction between the two. It may be novel but how’s this for the role of men and women in marriage: Let each couple decide for themselves what works best for them. Give them the choice and everyone else’s conception of what their “proper” roles should be be damned. See you keep touting some nebulous “marriage ideal.” That may be what you want. If you find a person willing to marry you on those terms, great. But you have no right to enforce your ideal on me, on Terrance, his partner and thjeir child, on any same sex couple, on any opposite sex couple, on any interracial couple, on any interfaith couple, on any multi ethnic couple, on any couple.

    And this fight for marriage rights for same sex couples is more than just about benefits. That’s a big reason why “civil unions” and “domestic partner benefits” and “reciprocal benefits” won’t do. It reinforcing the stereotype that opposite sex couples make love, gays just have sex. Marriage is more than just an arrangement of benefits. Even the Supreme Court has recognized this in its marriage case law. In 1987, the Court struck down a regulation relating to prison marriages. In so doing, the Court listed four important qualities or attributes of marriage: first, that marriages “are expressions of emotional support and public commitment” and that these expressions are “important” and “significant”; second, marriages have a “spiritual significance” and “the commitment of marriage may be an exercise of religious faith as well as an expression of personal dedication”; third, was physical intimacy and last, but not least was the quality that “marital status often is a precondition to the receipt of government benefits (e.g., Social Security benefits), property rights (e.g., tenancy by the entirety, inheritance rights), and other, less tangible benefits (e.g., legitimation of children born out of wedlock).” Each of these aspects is important and that’s why a “benefits only” solution isn’t enough.

    Moreover, the should have no role in determining who one can marry unless there is an overwhelming reason to do so, what is known in legal circles as a compelling state interest. The Court had a very good discussion of this liberty in a 1984 case where it wrote:

    The Court has long recognized that, because the Bill of Rights is designed to secure individual liberty, it must afford the formation and preservation of certain kinds of highly personal relationships a substantial measure of sanctuary from unjustified interference by the State. Without precisely identifying every consideration that may underlie this type of constitutional protection, we have noted that certain kinds of personal bonds have played a critical role in the culture and traditions of the Nation by cultivating and transmitting shared ideals and beliefs; they thereby foster diversity and act as critical buffers between the individual and the power of the State. Moreover, the constitutional shelter afforded such relationships reflects the realization that individuals draw much of their emotional enrichment from close ties with others. Protecting these relationships from unwarranted state interference therefore safeguards the ability independently to define one’s identity that is central to any concept of liberty.

    The personal affiliations that exemplify these considerations, and that therefore suggest some relevant limitations on the relationships that might be entitled to this sort of constitutional protection, are those that attend the creation and sustenance of a family – marriage, childbirth, the raising and education of children, and cohabitation with one’s relatives. Family relationships, by their nature, involve deep attachments and commitments to the necessarily few other individuals with whom one shares not only a special community of thoughts, experiences, and beliefs but also distinctively personal aspects of one’s life. Among other things, therefore, they are distinguished by such attributes as relative smallness, a high degree of selectivity in decisions to begin and maintain the affiliation, and seclusion from others in critical aspects of the relationship. As a general matter, only relationships with these sorts of qualities are likely to reflect the considerations that have led to an understanding of freedom of association as an intrinsic element of personal liberty. Conversely, an association lacking these qualities – such as a large business enterprise – seems remote from the concerns giving rise to this constitutional protection. Accordingly, the Constitution undoubtedly imposes constraints on the State’s power to control the selection of one’s spouse that would not apply to regulations affecting the choice of one’s fellow employees.

    The state has no more business barring two men from marrying each other than it does in decreeing that heterosexual white Anglo-Saxon Protestant male Republican under age 40 that earn $30,000 a year or more can only marry black Jewish lesbian Democrats that earn less than $30,000 a year.

    It it your opinion that smae sex marriage would water down marriage, not mine. And it isn’t special rights for homosexuality, it is EQUAL rights. Everyone, man or woman, should euqlly have the right to marry the person, man or woman, of their mutual choosing unless the government can put forth a compelling state interest against such a choice. It is not equal for a man to have the ability to choose a woman, but a woman lacks that same right. Likewise a woman should not be limited to choosing a man.

  7. Marriage does not “bring[] about equality through equal gender participation.” Through most of history, marriage has been a means of enforcing the subjugatiuon of women. It has been a relatively recent phenomenon for women to have any say in marriage

    Your statement agrees and supports mine, yet you present it as a contradiction.

    Lets give an example. Woman’s sufferage. Men willingly, on their own, voted to share their government influence with women. What political leverage did women have for persuasion greater than their marriages?

    Marriage was a a legal agreement betwene two men. One man contracted with another man, a dowery was, depending on the culture, paid or received and in exchange legal title and ownership of a woman

    If anything you are presenting a very narrow example that didn’t recieve prevelance. Not even in the cultures that presented dowrys. Dowrys were not a payment for property by in large, they were a way to provide an inheritance for a woman and provide support for her to the new person responsible for taking care of her. For instance, in China it was an embarassment for a man to spend a dowry on himself.

    Also, even middle eastern countries, some of the most mysoginist around, the contract is between the woman and man. The father is an intermediary, and has a role in contracting the dowry. But he is not a signer of the marriage contract. In fact historically in the middle east the contract was drawn out with expected labors of both parties, and was disolvable if one or the other wasn’t doing their chores.

    But even so, it is the equal gender representation that holds the majority of the credit for increasing equality between the genders over time.

    After all, by that logic, blacks and whites can only be truly equal if all marriages are force to be between a black and a white.

    For the sake of argument, you are absolutely right. That would achieve equality. But lets see how.

    An inter-racial marriage produces a child of mixed race. Soon, there is no more white or black, just a mix. You’ve equalized both by destroying their distinctiveness. You tell me, is that equality or not?

    Chances are you might say that is not equality because of the destructive nature of the attempt. Christian wrote about this on Opine noting this was cultural genocide. But here is where your analogy breaks down. A man and a woman combine to create a child and it will still be (for the most part) a man or woman. There is rarely if any mixing of the genders in the children even though all are products of mixing genders.

    Yet your analogy has many simularities to the discussion in its destructiveness in the name of equality. The destruction of races by forcing mixing of them is exactly the same way neutering marriage is supposed to achieve marriage equality. It takes away from marriage the unique capacity it has to recognize procreative responsibility, keeping families in-tact. It removes the significance of fatherhood and motherhood. It removes the significance of gender-integration.

    As said before, you turn integration into the new segregation. And that contradiction is enough to dismiss the claim even through your continued insistance to the contrary.

    But you have no right to enforce your ideal on me

    I don’t believe you really mean to say that marriage is co-ersive to homosexuals. It is not. It cannot, people are not forced to get married. Alternative familes are free to form up as they wish, with absolutely no jack-boot of government enforcement ever so much as touching their neck.

    Equal gender representation says nothing about homosexuality, any more than saying chocolate’s rich flavor is an affront to vanilla’s delicate flavor.

    Marriage is more than just an arrangement of benefits.

    I agree, and in fact say something to that effect in my latest article on Opine.

    The state has no more business barring two men from marrying each other than it does in …

    You have it backwards. It is not barring that requires a good reason, but promoting a special status in the first place. The state has to establish a purpose in recognizing marriages as a priveledged status, period. The purpose of the heterosexual union being recognized and given status is well understood. That purpose is recognized (not established) in case law including the one you quoted. It was recently re-affirmed as a rational purpose in Washington and New York.

    You now have to present a case that establishes the purpose of the state recognizing the one-sex-short arrangement. I hope I can help you present such a case. The first step is by answering Chairm’s question

    And that is only fair, that is equality. To say that homsexuality doesn’t need such a review or process to get the same benefits is a special pleading, and one that is frankly a biased and bigoted demand. It is a fine line between a call for equality and a call for oppression, and honestly I see the movement to neuter marriage as stepping well over that line. Especially when what they are asking for is not access to an institution because that already exists for everyone to find someone of the opposite sex and marry them. What they are asking for is that the institution be neutered for their own appeasement.

  8. Your statement agrees and supports mine, yet you present it as a contradiction.

    Hardly. The argument that marriage cannot change to include same sex couples is belied by the fact that marriage has, is and will change.

    For the sake of argument, you are absolutely right. That would achieve equality. But lets see how.

    That is all well and good, but you missed the point that if racial equality is a good goal, why isn’t it LAW, a mandatory requirement that people marry a person of a different race? If it is so necessary that to achieve gender equality that men must only be able to marry women and women only men then the logical conclusion would be the same must hold true for race, a basis of discrimination which has been far more insidious and divisive in American history than sex or gender. And while we’re at it, under your logic, religious equality should entail no person being able to marry a person of the same religion. No Christian-Christian marriages, no Jew-Jew marriages, no Muslim-Muslim marriages, etc. And in today’s political climate, we have deep rifts forming between the political parties, so to achieve equality of ideas no one should be able to marry a person of the same political affiliation. And social class has been a continuing problem in America for generations, so the obvious way to achieve social equality is to disallow any marriage between two people of the same social class. Again, under your logic, you have the government essentially mandating that heterosexual white Anglo-Saxon Protestant male Republican under age 40 that earn $30,000 a year or more can only marry black Jewish lesbian Democrats that earn less than $30,000 a year. If you get to choose race, poltical afflicaition, religion, social class, etc, why is sex and only sex a verboten choice?

    I don’t believe you really mean to say that marriage is co-ersive to homosexuals. It is not. It cannot, people are not forced to get married. Alternative familes are free to form up as they wish, with absolutely no jack-boot of government enforcement ever so much as touching their neck.

    Really? So actions such as this recent case in Missouri are lies or figments of the imagination. And no interracial couple in the south was ever prosecuted for cohabitation or marriage. And no government would ever trying telling a grandmother she can’t raise two of her grandchilren in the same household or force non-traditional family to be broken up. Sorry OnLawn, that shtick won’t work. If a same sex couple chooses to marry each other, that is their right, a right currently denied in 49 states. The Supreme Court has long affirmed marriage to be among the most important of rights. Whether that marriage is interracial, involves a deadbeat dad or a person in prison it doesn’t matter.

    The state has to establish a purpose in recognizing marriages as a priveledged status, period. The purpose of the heterosexual union being recognized and given status is well understood. That purpose is recognized (not established) in case law including the one you quoted. It was recently re-affirmed as a rational purpose in Washington and New York.

    And been repeatedly denied and overturned by the highest court in the land. See Griswold v Connecticut, Roe v Wade, Eisenstadt v Baird, Cleveland Board of Education v LaFleur, Zablocki v Redhail, Carey v. Population Services International, etc, etc, etc. The right to marry exists independent of the decision to procreate. In so far as the controling case law of this country is concerned your right to marry the mutually consenting partner of your choosing is independent of your right to decide whther to procreate with that person. Thus the procreative status of the relationship is of no consequence to the right to marry.

    Indeed in most states, if not all, you cannot dissolve a marriage solely on the grounds of inability to procreate. Generally there is an additional element that is ALWAYS overlooked or intentionally ignored by same sex marriage opponents. That other element is that the person asking for the marriage to be annulled/divorced grant on the grounds of inability to consummate must not have known of the condition prior to the marriage. IOW, if a man knows the woman he is about to marry is irevvocablly infertile, he cannot after the marriage claim such as grounds for divorce or annullment. Thus it is not the ability to procreate that is the central element. The central element is consent. It is the notion that, if prior to the marriage you had knowledge that you could not procreate with your partner, your decision to marry that person would be different. The mere existence of these requirements show that it is recognized in law that marriage between infertile couples is not only permitted, but that it is permitted even if it is known beforehand. Thus if some couples are permitted to marry with the full knowledge that the cannot procreate, why should same sex couples be denied marriage, especially given that same sex couples can adopt children as a couple in numerous states, are only explicitly prohibited from doing so in two state and cannot adopt as an individual in only one state.

    And a better question than Chairm’s is this: What is the purpose of state elevation of the can’t or won’t procreate arrangement for opposite sex couples to marriage but the denial of marriage rights of same sex couples, many of whom already have chrilden? If Marriage=Procreation, the the religious right wingnuts of this country ought to be pounding the pavement to drummed the non-procreative opposite sex couples out of marriage, not just same sex couples. Yet we haven’t seen such “Defense of Marriage as Procreaton” amendments or laws proposed or passed though in the debate over Texas’ hate amendment, one senator proposed an amendment to resolution that was sent to the voters that required “A union in this state, of one man and one woman, must include some sexual intercourse.”

    But since marriage does not depend upon procreation (or vice versa for that matter) I sumbit to you that the purpose of marriage is that which the great Justice William Brennan penned and that I quoted in my earlier response:

    The Court has long recognized that, because the Bill of Rights is designed to secure individual liberty, it must afford the formation and preservation of certain kinds of highly personal relationships a substantial measure of sanctuary from unjustified interference by the State. Without precisely identifying every consideration that may underlie this type of constitutional protection, we have noted that certain kinds of personal bonds have played a critical role in the culture and traditions of the Nation by cultivating and transmitting shared ideals and beliefs; they thereby foster diversity and act as critical buffers between the individual and the power of the State. Moreover, the constitutional shelter afforded such relationships reflects the realization that individuals draw much of their emotional enrichment from close ties with others. Protecting these relationships from unwarranted state interference therefore safeguards the ability independently to define one’s identity that is central to any concept of liberty.

    And your last paragraph makes about as much sense today as the trial court judge’s ruling in Loving v Virginia: “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.” Damn those race mixers! How dare they soil the gentile white purity of marriage and thereby threaten the Supremacy of the White Race. <snark>

    OnLawn, your grandchildren will look down on your opinions like the grandchildren of today look down upon the Storm Thurmonds, George Wallaces, Orval Faubas’s, etc of yesteryear. Your side has already lost the war despite the recent string of wins in a few battles. Young people of today simply don’t agree with your position and as the bigotted generation dies off, so does their bigotry.

  9. The argument that marriage cannot change to include same sex couples is belied by the fact that marriage has, is and will change.

    As I said before on this site, poor reading comprehension on your part is not a problem in my argument. You attempted to re-write the history of the discussion, and that is simply dishonest.

    What changes in marriage are regulations, policies, protocols and cultures. You propose changing the definition, neutering it of any meaning that is equal in gender representation.

    And that was the point you were contending, and now you write as if the point was some ill-defined and vague reference to change. The point about equality in marriage, and on that point I agreed that the change was towards more equality. I even presented an example with woman’s sufferage.

    but you missed the point that if racial equality is a good goal, why isn’t it LAW, a mandatory requirement that people marry a person of a different race?

    Again, poor reading comprehension on your part is not a problem in my argument. That was already answered…

    An inter-racial marriage produces a child of mixed race. Soon, there is no more white or black, just a mix. You’ve equalized both by destroying their distinctiveness. You tell me, is that equality or not?

    Chances are you might say that is not equality because of the destructive nature of the attempt. Christian wrote about this on Opine noting this was cultural genocide.

    If it is so necessary that to achieve gender equality that men must only be able to marry women and women only men

    I’ll let the neccessity be up to the people, the point is the hypocrisy of people who are destroying equal gender representation because they feel their sex life is a more important identity trait. That is gay-chauvanism.

    And while we’re at it, under your logic, religious equality should entail no person being able to marry a person of the same religion.

    You don’t have a good grasp of my logic, as demonstrated above. Perhaps you should read more carefully before making up stuff like that.

    An ideology is different than race or gender. I’m not going to really cast to many aspersions on your intelligence, but they way you conflate these principles shows you really have no clue. But that is alright because you aren’t the first to attempt such chicanery and sophistry. It is easy to spot and point out.

    So actions such as this recent case in Missouri are lies or figments of the imagination.

    Actually, it only further validates my point.

    And no interracial couple in the south was ever prosecuted for cohabitation or marriage.

    To say that marriage is not forced on people means that no one has to get married. Pointing out where people were prosecuted for being married certainly doesn’t impact that point at all. Neither does prosecution of co-habiting where it looks too much like an undocumented marriage. That would be, in fact, the opposite of what you would need to show to disprove the point.

    And no government would ever trying telling a grandmother she can’t raise two of her grandchilren in the same household

    I don’t believe you read the case you linked to.

    MR. JUSTICE POWELL, joined by MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN, MR. JUSTICE MARSHALL, and MR. JUSTICE BLACKMUN, concluded that the ordinance deprived appellant of her liberty in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

    And that is the second zoning law you presented as coersion to get married. Even if the grandmother was married she would have run afoul of the law. You are making some very basic mistakes here, and again it invites the question of just what you are attempting.

    force non-traditional family

    Once again, the nephew and his girlfriend being married would not have changed their violation of zoning laws.

    to be broken up.

    The decision provides the best commentary against your use of this case.

    It is said that the Belle Terre ordinance reeks with an animosity to unmarried couples who live together. 6 There is no evidence to support it; and the provision of the ordinance bringing within the definition of a “family” two unmarried people belies the charge. [416 U.S. 1, 9]

    The ordinance places no ban on other forms of association, for a “family” may, so far as the ordinance is concerned, entertain whomever it likes.

    I hate to grandstand here, but you are really commiting some bone-headed mistakes in your counter arguments. What echo-chamber did you pick them up from? Because they don’t withstand even the lightest scrutiny when applied to the subject at hand.

    What is makes it even more fun is when you grandstand on top of those mistakes with something like, “Sorry OnLawn, that shtick won’t work.” Yes, I’m chuckling as I write this.

    If a same sex couple chooses to marry each other, that is their right, a right currently denied in 49 states.

    You hit on one of the items in Op-Ed’s FAQ. You should review the whole thing, just to know what next quip you might make that has already been discredited.

    The right to marry exists independent of the decision to procreate.

    Only because the disabled are a protected class. In the case of prison fellons, the Zobloki ruling doesn’t say procreation is impossible for the inmate and his spouse. In the ruling they mention that it is possible his sentance is pardoned or reversed, or if not his then other fellons. Then they would be able to have children.

    The case law that affirms the procreative impetus of marriage include the following:

    “[T]he first purpose of matrimony, by the laws of nature and society, is procreation.” Baker v. Baker, 13 Cal. 87, 103 (1859). “he procreation of children under the shield and sanction of the law” is one of the “two principal ends of marriage.” Sharon v. Sharon, 75 Cal. 1 (1888) (quoting Stewart on Marriage and Divorce, sec. 103. “Procreation, if not the sole, is at least an important, reason for the existence of the marriage relation.” Davis v. Davis, 106 A. 644, 645 (N.J. Ch. Div. 1919). “The great end of matrimony is . . . the procreation of a progeny having a legal title to maintenance by the father.” Laudo v. Laudo, 197 N.Y.S. 396, 397 (App. Div. 1919); Poe v. Gerstein, 517 F.2d 787, 796 (5th Cir. 1975) (“[P]rocreation of offspring could be considered one of the major purposes of marriage. . . .”); Singer v. Hara, 522 P.2d 1187, 1195 (Wash. App. 1974) (“[M]arriage exists as a protected legal institution primarily because of societal values associated with the propagation of the human race.”); Baker v. Nelson, 191 N.W.2d 185, 186 (Minn. 1971), appeal dismissed for want of a substantial federal question, 409 U.S. 810 (1972) (“The institution of marriage as a union of man and woman, uniquely involving the procreation and rearing of children within a family, is as old as the book of Genesis.”); Heup v. Heup, 172 N.W.2d 334, 336 (Wis. 1969) (“Having children is a primary purpose of marriage.”); Zoglio v. Zoglio, 157 A.2d 627, 628 (D.C. App. 1960) (“One of the primary purposes of matrimony is procreation.”); Frost v. Frost, 181 N.Y.S.2d 562, 563 (Supr. Ct. New York Co. 1958) (discussing “one of the primary purposes of marriage, to wit, the procreation of the human species.”); Ramon v. Ramon, 34 N.Y.S. 2d 100, 108 (Fam. Ct. Div. Richmond Co. 1942) (“The procreation of off-spring under the natural law being the object of marriage, its permanency is the foundation of the social order.”); Stegienko v. Stegienko, 295 N.W. 252, 254 (Mich. 1940) (stating that “procreation of children is one of the important ends of matrimony”); Gard v. Gard, 169 N.W. 908, 912 (Mich. 1918) (“It has been said in many of the cases cited that one of the great purposes of marriage is procreation.”); Lyon v. Barney, 132 Ill. App. 45, 50 (1907) (“[T]he procreating of the human species is regarded, at least theoretically, as the primary purpose of marriage . . .”); Grover v. Zook, 87 P.638, 639 (Wash. 1906) (“One of the most important functions of wedlock is the procreation of children.”); Adams v. Howerton, 486 F. Supp. 1119, 1124 (C.D. Cal. 1980), aff’d 673 F.2d 1036 (9th Cir. 1982) (observing that a “state has a compelling interest in encouraging and fostering procreation of the race”);

    Also cross reference the recent rulings in NY and Washington.

    Indeed in most states, if not all, you cannot dissolve a marriage solely on the grounds of inability to procreate.

    Your statement is vaccuously true. Most states don’t require *any* reason to dissolve a marriage, so procreation doesn’t figure into that at all. That is the meaning of no-fault divorce.

    But beyond that inability to procreate is a disability. Yet so are homosexuals. So you feel the same exeption should be presented to homosexuality? If so you are either saying homosexuality is a disability or expecting to commit a fraudulent claim. What do I think? Homosexuality is not a handicap. It is just in your zeal for homosexuality you see no one unworthy of being thrown under the bus for your goals. That isn’t equality that is oppression.

    And a better question than Chairm’s is this:

    If someone asks a question you don’t have an answer to, answer the one you were prepared for. Sorry, but your commentary here is luaghable.

    I’ll tell you what, rather than quibbling over questions you answer Chairm’s question and I’ll answer yours right after that.

    And your last paragraph makes about as much sense today as the trial court judge’s ruling in Loving v Virginia

    You really do make it fun. Another case believed that inter-racial marriage should be banned because there was no procreation possible between them. Andrew Sullivan pointed out that one.

    Seperating races with continents as a way to seperate races is problematic because it is solved with a good pair of shoes (essentially). Intercontinental travel has been possible from the early get go. The problem in their logic is not the appeal to how things are, but the fact that they are so clueless as to how things really are. Same with the mulatto case Sullivan points to.

    So tell me, just how do homosexual couples procreate? All they need is just a good pair of shoes? It really already happens and the government is stopping them?

    Yes, I’m still chuckling.

    OnLawn, your grandchildren will look down on your opinions like the grandchildren of today look down upon the Storm Thurmonds, George Wallaces, Orval Faubas’s, etc of yesteryear.

    That doesn’t seem very probably. Why they would conflate gender integration with racial segregation is beyond me. If an analogy to Wallace is to be made, it is with Newsome’s illegal stand in San Fransisco. If an analogy to racial segregation is to be made, then it is in noting that you are advocating sex segregation be allowed and equalized with sex integration. If that were schools, you’d not only want the ability to have an all-white school in a school district but the government would have to spend all the money it could to ensure their scores were as good in every respect as any racially integrated school around. And, just becase the all-white school had a right to exist they could purchase children from other schools.

    Truely, if marriage is neutered it will in the future be considered one of the most oppressive things one segment of society did to another along with slavery and abortion as a convenient contraceptive.

    I’ve already pointed to how your goals throw the handicapped under the bus. I’ve pointed out how neutering marriage attacks UN recognized rights of children, and turns them from miracles of creation into commercially viable accessories for relationships. And those are just the most foreseeable problems.

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