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Opinion

Opinion

Marriage ‘redefiners’ make progress

July 14, 2010

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A federal judge in Boston has ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) passed by Congress (427 members voted in favor) and signed into law by President Clinton in 1996 cannot take precedence over a Massachusetts law allowing same-sex marriage. The ruling again raises serious questions about the origin and purpose of law. But before we get to that larger question, the “logic” of Judge Joseph L. Tauro’s ruling should first be examined.

Judge Tauro’s decision flies in the face of what the federal government has claimed and is claiming in at least two other significant cases. In 1973, the Supreme Court struck down all state laws restricting a woman’s right to have an abortion. In its lawsuit against Arizona’s new immigration law, the Department of Justice claims federal law (which the feds are not enforcing) trumps state law.

So let’s see: State laws are fine when they promote the interests of the ruling liberal and cultural elites, but they are to be ignored, or overturned, when they do not promote the objectives of the ruling liberal and cultural elites. Is that it? How can the federal government have it both ways?

A New York Times editorial says of DOMA “There is no rational basis for discriminating against same-sex couples.” Really? Has the newspaper forgotten the federal government’s “discrimination” against Utah when it forbade the territory from entering the Union until it outlawed polygamy? In 1878, the Supreme Court declared in Reynolds v. United States that polygamy was not protected by the Constitution.

If the federal government could reject polygamy then as a means of promoting the general welfare, why can’t it block attempts to redefine marriage now? If marriage is re-defined by courts, what is to stop anyone from declaring a “right” to any relationship they wish to enter and demanding “equal protection” under the Constitution?

Now to the larger question of law, which is also being re-defined. During her confirmation hearings, Elena Kagan said she loved the law. Too bad no one asked her which law she loves and what is law’s purpose? Law is meant to conform humans to a standard that preserves the cultural and moral order. The purpose of government is to “secure” unalienable pre-existing rights about which Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence (a document Kagan dismissed as irrelevant to the Constitution, though it is the Constitution’s moral and philosophical foundation). Government is not supposed to create new rights like national health care, or same-sex marriage.

The Times editorial dismisses the overwhelming approval for DOMA as a “wedge issue” during an election year. In fact, it reflected the principled position not only of a vast majority of members of Congress, but also the position of the public, which has almost universally rejected attempts to legalize same-sex marriage. In 2004, 11 states had ballot measures preserving marriage as between opposite sex couples. All passed. In 2008, three states had gay marriage ballot initiatives. Two passed. In California, a measure to overturn the State Supreme Court’s earlier 4-3 decision upholding the constitutionality of a legislative ban on same-sex marriage was approved by 400,000 votes, or 52 percent of those voting.

Marriage re-definers demand acceptance for their position that morality, as well as right and wrong, are to be determined by polls. If polls show the public disapproving of behavior the elites favor, the elites ignore majority opinion and seek to shove it down our throats anyway, because, you see, only they can be right. The rest of us have the equivalent standing of 1950s segregationists. Anyone arguing for tradition is branded a bigot, a label that is supposed to end all discussion, while the labeled one is exhausted trying to prove a negative.

Judge Tauro’s ruling will likely be overturned on appeal, but that won’t stop the marriage re-definers. In a morally exhausted society, they just might succeed. Polygamists were 130 years before their time.

— Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services. tmseditors@tribune.com

Comments

independant1 3 years, 9 months ago

I'm not "Right" and I proffered the horse quote. (Take the I'm not Right/right either way)

Live your life so that whenever you lose, you are ahead. (Will Rogers)

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beatrice 3 years, 9 months ago

I love how sick and twisted the imaginations of the Right are when human sexuality is discussed. Just mention homosexuals in a loving relationship, and they jump right in with stories of sex with animals, incest and group activities! What a twisted bunch the Wide-Stance Right can be! Very telling of what is really going on behind closed doors.

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tange 3 years, 9 months ago

Let the progressive marriage ‘redefiners’ have "legal_marriage." ( Force that hard_space. ) "Legal_marriage" isn't marriage, anyway. It's a contract, with legal ramifications.

Regardless of the label applied, or how you dress it up, "redefined_marriage" ain't marriage—that complementary union, one aspect of which is the potential for procreation and which is the basis for ALL human existence.

Marriage IS the existential metaphor. Humans can no more alter associated realities than the body of a man can be carved into the guise of a woman without EVERY cell still shouting, "XY!"

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independant1 3 years, 9 months ago

A man that don’t love a horse, there is something the matter with him. (Will Rogers)

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Corey Williams 3 years, 9 months ago

You yourself said, "When two homo sapiens enter into a traditional marriage, man and woman, one of the logical outcomes is procreation. The traditional family, man/woman/child(ren). Our laws reflect this."

Traditional, traditional, traditional. And I've heard a lot of arguments that a lack of procreation is a reason to forbid gay marriage. As you say, "Our laws reflect this."

Regarding common law marriage: Do your homework.
http://www.ksbar.org/public/public_resources/pamphlets/marriage_divorce.shtml

"A common law marriage will be recognized in Kansas if the couple considers themselves to be married and publicly holds themselves out to be married and if they are legally eligible to marry. No minimum period of cohabitation is required."

And, of course, no references to gay common law marriages.

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Corey Williams 3 years, 9 months ago

"The traditional family, man/woman/child(ren)."

So childless marriages aren't really marriages?

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Corey Williams 3 years, 9 months ago

What about couples who can't or don't want to have children?

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jafs 3 years, 9 months ago

So your idea is that we should discriminate because it means fewer laws?

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independant1 3 years, 9 months ago

Regardless -

As if life is not complex enough. When two homo sapiens enter into a traditional marriage, man and woman, one of the logical outcomes is procreation. The traditional family, man/woman/child(ren). Our laws reflect this.

So, lets codify different unions of people in the name of equal treatment in tax, property and inheritance in fed/state/local law/statute.

Don't think we have enough laws, let's make laws for every minority/special interest/good idea/preference/tendancy/genetic predisposition.

Let's do it because in a vacuum it's the right thing to do. And implant a gps/biometric chip/assign a lawyers to every child at birth so that they can navigate the already too complex world.

We need laws for every idea, the good ones and the bad ones. Then things would really be swell.

Oops, and we need a smoking park.

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RATM 3 years, 9 months ago

The fact is all our laws are based on a common sense of morality that is largely arbitrary.

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Armored_One 3 years, 9 months ago

"If it's okay for gays to be married, why can't I marry a goat, or my brother, or five women all at once?"

What a load of crapola.

Somehow, I get the feeling that the same people that spew forth such utter nonsense are the same people who argue that if smokers can smoke in restaurants, they should be allowed to carry radioactive materials around, or urinate on the tables and other such idiocy.

If marriage is such a sacred religious event, why do you need a piece of paper saying you are before it's legal?

It's a damned legal issue. Leave it to the lawyers and judges to figure out. Homosexuality isn't my personal thing, but no one cares other than me. Does it halt anyone's life what anyone else does in their own bedrooms?

All this whining and moaning and complaining about a "nanny state" and you arrogant fools are trying to do the exact same thing to a select group of people.

Hyporacy reigns supreme when it comes to morals. Everyone's morals are better than everyone else's and by George, we just have to make everyone else agree with us. Screw that.

It's kind of like an abortion, really. If you are opposed to them, Don't Get One! If you are opposed to two guys or two girls getting hitched, then don't do it yourself. It's really just that damned simple. Leave it to the courts to figure out, and regardless of what they decide, if you don't want one, don't get one.

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Roland Gunslinger 3 years, 9 months ago

Dena nailed it.

The Tenth Amendment states that powers not granted to the national government nor prohibited to the states by the Constitution of the United States are reserved to the states or the people.

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HomeSlice 3 years, 9 months ago

Sorry, but love is love and you can't stop it. I love my son and want to marry him. Who are you to tell me what to do? Alternatively, I love my daughter and want to marry her, and have more children. Animals mate with their offspring, and examples of gayness in the animal world is often cited as a reason all this dog piling is natural. Why is the government meddling in my affairs? Marriage is being reduced to the lowest common denominator - two people, no distinctions. So butt out, marriage is just some construct that has lost it purpose, and was misguided and misunderstood from the beginning. I get all the rights and privileges married men and women get - don't be a bigot, don't discriminate, and what I do in my bedroom is none of your dang business! Most of all, society has lost its moral compass, so there is no right and wrong.

Slouching towards Gomorrah.

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blindrabbit 3 years, 9 months ago

Just the facts; I have no "dog in this race", or religious bias. From a strictly biological point of view, no offspring will result from gay/lesbian couples, nor are there any genetic consequences of children of plural marriages. One the other hand, there is considerable evidence of genetic consequences of off-spring produced from incestuous relationships.

I think you have taken this a bit beyond the real issue. Gay marriage and plural marriage are political issues. Incest is biological!!

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HomeSlice 3 years, 9 months ago

As in brothers and sisters getting married. Just another relationship between consenting adults, right?

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HomeSlice 3 years, 9 months ago

For those that support gay marraige, and then go on to say there is are also no concerns with plural marraige, what makes incest right or wrong?

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jonas_opines 3 years, 9 months ago

Hardly odd. We don't have much of meaning to say in general, so we flock to the big bangs.

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jaywalker 3 years, 9 months ago

Thomas has to be the worst columnist we routinely get through the LJW and yet he usually inspires long strings. Odd.

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blindrabbit 3 years, 9 months ago

Cal carefully "crafts" his story to support what he vomits. His biased reasoning can easily be used to argue against his liberal vrs. conservative ""objectives.

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Liberty275 3 years, 9 months ago

Can we redefine government workers as parasites on society too. If we are going to change the meaning of words to fit the agenda of special interests groups, shouldn't all special interest groups be represented?

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jimmyjms 3 years, 9 months ago

Cal Thomas columns in two sentences: "The world has changed and I don't like it. You kids get off my lawn!"

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ksjayhawk74 3 years, 9 months ago

It's a nice touch that Cal throws in sympathy for 1950s segregationists... "Anyone arguing for tradition is branded a bigot"

That's because the "traditions" he is referring to are bigoted, racist, antiquated ways of thinking that need to stay in the past.

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Paul R Getto 3 years, 9 months ago

RATM: Who really cares if a man is brave/foolish enough marry more than one woman? That's a nonissue.

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RATM 3 years, 9 months ago

How many of you who support redefining marriage also support legal recognition for polygamists?

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staff04 3 years, 9 months ago

This decision kind of caught the teabaggers in a bind...states' rights and all.

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emaw 3 years, 9 months ago

I think that gays should be allowed to have the same tax advantages and legal rights as straight couples but I suggest we call it something other than "marriage", which I believe is a union between a man and a woman. Why can't we just call the union between 2 homosexuals something else and give them all the same rights? I think this would satisfy both sides of this issue. Any clever ideas on what we could call this union?

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mom_of_three 3 years, 9 months ago

I am morally exhausted because I feel gay marriage should be recognized, that everyone should have equal rights? What a moron.
Once upon a time, not so long ago, African Americans were not allowed to intermarry with whites, with many state laws against it. It was morally wrong, they said.
Funny how Cal didn't bring that one up.

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denak 3 years, 9 months ago

One day, Cal Thomas may actually read a decision before he writes an editorial. When that day comes, he might actually get it right. There were 2 cases involved in this ruling and even though Thomas wants to drag in Jefferson, the Declaration of Independence, Roe v Wade and Utah/polygamy, none of those things had anything to do with the 2 cases.

In Massachusetts v. Health and Human Services, the judge ruled that section 3 of DOMA encroaches on state rights. Rather than dismissing the Constitution, the judge reaffirmed a state's sovereignty --guaranteed by the 10th amendment-- to determine marriage rights.

In Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, Judge Tauro ruled that section 3 of DOMA violated the equal protection principles of the 5th amendment.

Cal writes that these decisions raise serious questions about the origin and purpose of the law. That government is not suppose to create new laws. And yet that is what DOMA did. DOMA mandated that the federal government would not recognize a same sex marriage even when that union was legal in a particular state. The federal government created new laws that denied states that right to govern as the state saw fit even when the federal government did not have a legitimate compelling interest. This ruling, which only applies to one section of DOMA, does not ignore history or give rights that did not exist before rather it reaffirms the Constitutional right of the state to govern independently and without undue interference by the federal government.

And correct me if I am wrong, but isn't that what Conservatives want? Smaller government. More state rights???? I guess like the liberals he so maligns, he only wants state laws when they promote the objectives he wants.

Dena

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Paul R Getto 3 years, 9 months ago

Marriage is an abstract commercial invention/arrangement based on an equally abstract invention, AKA religion. Government needs to stay out of personal relationships and concentrate on larger, more tangible issues.
Cal: "Marriage re-definers demand acceptance for their position that morality, as well as right and wrong, are to be determined by polls" == Morality is another invention, created by the people with castles, money and weapons. Take a deep breath and relax. No one is trying to tell you how to operate your life and your relationships.

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