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Archive for Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Gay-rights advocates observe Supreme Court proceedings with excitement, anxiety

March 27, 2013

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"Free at last!"

That will be Lawrence resident Lynne Green's reaction if, later this year, the U.S. Supreme Court makes same-sex marriage legal across the country. The court heard arguments Tuesday and Wednesday on whether to overturn a California ban on gay marriage called Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, which doesn't recognize same-sex unions at the federal level.

When Green was working to get anti-discrimination measures passed in Lawrence nearly two decades ago, as co-chair of the Simply Equal coalition, she never would have guessed this day would come so soon. And now the nonprofit director believes the court will change the definition of marriage nationwide to include gay couples.

"This will be the beginning of total equality," she said.

Many local gay-rights advocates were similarly optimistic that a ruling would come out on their side. The time has come, they say, and waiting for states to decide on their own won't suffice. Some advocates, however, say such a decision would only be the start of a long fight against discrimination over sexual orientation.

Joe McGehee, a 52-year-old landscaper from Lawrence and board member for the local lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender social group NetworQ, said a Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage would cause him to do one thing … get married.

"I should be able to marry who I love, not who someone else tells me I should marry," he said. "We would like to have the same benefits and rights that everyone else who is married."

If the court rules for gay marriage, Lawrence school teacher Kim Kreicker would elope as well — with her partner of 25 years. "Needless to say, we feel we're citizens of the U.S. and we would like to be able to enjoy the full services that citizens are entitled to," she said.

The conditions have improved dramatically for LGBT Americans in the past quarter-century, she said. Back then, Kreicker and her partner wanted to move to Lawrence but the city didn't yet have anti-discriminatory measures in place, so they relocated to Kansas City, Mo. After passage of the Simply Equal ordinance a few years later, they finally made Lawrence their home. Now they look to break down another barrier.

"I never dreamed that the U.S. would ever allow gay men and lesbians to marry," said Kreicker's partner, Arla Jones, the mentor to Lawrence High School's Gay-Straight Alliance. "As Kim and I have aged, the importance of having our relationship formally recognized has become more and more important."

Everywhere the 53-year-old women go, they carry legal documents to ensure they can visit and make health-care decisions for each other in the hospital.

Other advocates say issues of more direct importance to gays should be at the forefront of this debate.

"I feel like our community's efforts should be focused on issues that will bring us all closer to equality, like transgender and queer youth homelessness and suicide, immigrant rights, racism, universal healthcare, access to abortion, bullying, and transgender justice," said 25-year-old Rachel Gadd-Nelson, of Lawrence Queer Youth Voice. She calls the belief that marriage equality is the last barrier of gay rights the result of "strategic branding by organizations that have promoted a conservative agenda that hopes to portray our community as non-threatening as possible."

"Whatever the decision is," she added, "I hope that we all can put all our energy and money into movements that will fight for liberation and not assimilation."

Either way, gay-rights supporters praise the local community for its openness to their cause. In 1995, Lawrence became the only city in Kansas to have an anti-discriminatory policy for gays and lesbians, and later added transgender residents to the ordinance. Lawrence was also the first municipality in the state to enact a domestic-partnership registry.

If the Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage nationwide, Green's co-chair in Simply Equal, Ben Zimmerman, won't be around to see it. Zimmerman, a longtime community activist from Lawrence, died 10 years ago this September. "He fought his whole life for equal rights for same-sex couples," Green said. "He would have been overjoyed."

Green, though, says she will celebrate on his behalf.

"It's just beyond my belief that we've having this conversation," she said. "We've come so far, we really have."

Comments

Fred Mertz 1 year, 9 months ago

Don't think they will overturn the CA law but might overturn DOMA.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

I suspect a rather narrow ruling overall.

For example, they may overturn some of DOMA, but leave it up to the states to determine whether or not gay marriage is legal in that state.

And, I agree that the Prop 8 case will be narrow as well.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Right, so they wouldn't overturn the whole thing then, even if they ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.

jhawkinsf 1 year, 9 months ago

Can you think of another instance where one state can ignore what another state has approved? If, say a 16 year old licensed driver from Kansas drives into another state where the legal driving age is higher, is that driver's license invalid in that other state? May one state refuse to extradite someone if what is a crime in one state is not a crime in another?

It is my lay opinion that the full faith clause of the Constitution requires states to honor the laws of the other states. Therefore, even though I was not married in the state of Kansas, I'm still married. And I believe it is proper for a gay couple legally married in a state that allows that would still be married if they came here.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

I don't understand why that FF&C clause hasn't been used that way either.

Liberty275 1 year, 9 months ago

Marriage... licence. How many plumbers do you see working in Lawrence with just a Missouri licence?

FF&C doesn't include licences. Oddly enough, it does include divorces.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Well, that is odd, for sure.

If a divorce is honored under it, why not a marriage? A divorce is just a dissolution of a marriage.

A marriage license isn't really equivalent to a plumber's license, right? A marriage is more like a contract between two people. You know, a promise from each to love, honor, etc.

Liberty275 1 year, 9 months ago

"the Constitution requires states to honor the laws of the other states."

Really? Colorado just enacted a strict gun law. Do you think they can come to kansas and enforce their magazine-size limitation. I think not.

Gotta watch out.

That doesn't matter anyway. It isn't another state's "law". The marriage was performed in Canada, and we have no jurisdiction in their law, nor does their law have any business even crossing the minds of our judges.

SnakeFist 1 year, 9 months ago

The cases conflict to a large degree: The argument against DOMA is that marriage is a state issue and the federal government should recognize marriages sanctioned by the states, while the argument against Prop 8 is that marriage is a federal (i.e., constitutional) issue and the federal government should prohibit states from not sanctioning same-sex marriage.

Nevertheless, I predict DOMA will be thrown out, and the Prop 8 case will be decided on procedural grounds which will make same-sex marriage legal in California.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Maybe.

But, it can also be argued that marriage is a fundamental right, and that neither states nor the federal government should prohibit it, and that the federal government should protect it.

SnakeFist 1 year, 9 months ago

It is a fundamental right, but, like every other right, its not unlimited. Limitations on consanguinity and minimum age, for example, have to be established, and the issue is which level of government should do the establishing. I prefer that the federal government establish a nationwide standard - the notion that a couple can drive across the U.S. and literally be married as they pass through one state, then not married, and then married again is ridiculous.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Personally, I see no reason that consenting adults shouldn't be able to enter into polygamous marriages if they like.

Bradley Kemp 1 year, 9 months ago

If there's a slippery slope (which is a name for a logical fallacy), it doesn't begin with same-sex marriage. It begins with mixed-sex marriage. If a man and a woman can marry, then can two men or two women marry? "...[C]an a man marry more than one woman? Or more than one man?" And so on.

fiddleback 1 year, 9 months ago

I had this debate with jafs months ago, and it's total rabbit hole esp. given the tiny sliver of people truly interested in polygamous unions. My general thinking is that such relationships have inherent imbalances of sexual power and become exponentially less stable with each partner added (though that doesn’t constitute a legal reasoning for denying benefits). The patriarchal polygamy practiced in certain regions and cultures, with men collecting new wives every few years, is hardly something that this country would want to facilitate and encourage...

However, if you could imagine a committed three-some or four-some willing to brave public scorn and bring a case all the way to SCOTUS, I’m not sure how they would rule. On the one hand, unlike homosexuality, polygamy is not a biologically distinct sexual orientation being denied any chance for marriage benefits, and there’s certainly not a subculture creating any political momentum or pressure. On the other hand, I don’t know on what legal grounds they could deny granting rights, or how they could legally rationalize that state-sanctioned unions can only be 2 people...

jhawkinsf 1 year, 9 months ago

While we all remember the broad sweeping rules that the Supreme Court makes from time to time, they are more inclined to make narrow rulings on small points of law, that build on previous narrow rulings. That's too bad, if you ask me, because if ever we needed a Chief Justice to twist arms and come up with a broad consensus, as we did with Brown, now is the time.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Of course it's about rights.

As long as marriage confers a variety of legal rights and benefits, it will be about that. Of course, we could simply remove all of those rights and benefits for all married couples - would that be ok with you?

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Really?

You can do some research, of course, but there are many legal rights and benefits to marriage, including the right to leave money to your spouse which isn't taxed when you die.

Also the right to be somebody's designated health care proxy, which is often denied to unmarried gay spouses, even if they've specifically written an agreement to that end.

SS spousal benefits.

Etc. If you really think that being married doesn't include a long list of legal rights and benefits, then you're just not very well informed.

jhawkinsf 1 year, 9 months ago

As I get older, I may need someone to make medical decisions for me. Or I might get in an accident today and need someone to make medical decisions for me. That person would be my legally married spouse.

A gay couple who adopt a child may have only one parent recognized as the parent. Should a split occur, the non-recognized parent loses all rights.

And while you and your sweetheart may be in a tax bracket that does not have a benefit if you were married, that is not true for all couples. An 83 year old woman, with her sweetheart for a half century, and a named defendant in the case before the Supreme Court, estimated tax losses at well over $300,000 because she and her sweetheart could not file jointly.

If churches do not want to marry gay couples, that's their business. But as long as city hall marries people, as it did my wife and I, then city hall ought not be in the business of discriminating.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

So you're not only uninformed, but proud of it.

One of the cases in front of the SC is the case of a gay spouse, legally married in their state, who had to pay taxes on money she inherited from her spouse upon her death. If they had been heterosexual, that money wouldn't have been taxed.

It's one thing to be uninformed, and another thing to be stubbornly that way, even when people spend time and energy to inform you correctly.

States often have laws that only legal relatives can be health care proxies, so that they don't honor agreements drawn up between gay couples about that.

See jhf's post for more examples. And please don't waste our time any more - if you don't want to be informed, that's your choice, but why should we try to answer your questions if that's the case?

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Since you continue to ignore the many rights and benefits that marriage confers on heterosexuals, even though some of them have been pointed out to you, I see no reason to continue spending my time on this conversation.

I understand people being uninformed, but I don't understand people who choose to be willfully and stubbornly that way.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

That translation is about as good as your understanding of the rights and benefits heterosexual married couples get, which is to say not very good.

And, for the record, since I know people with your point of view often make everything personal, I'm a straight married white male. So I have nothing personally at stake with this issue - my concern is broader than that.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Good for you.

That doesn't explain your willful ignorance of the many rights and benefits straight folks have, a number of which have been explained to you already.

Maybe you can explain that to me - why would somebody want to be willfully and stubbornly ignorant?

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

It IS about rights. Your point is absurd. It's not about seeking approval for a lifestyle. We'll be dealing with this until we all admit that there are rights being conferred unequally.

(see how easy this is?)

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

Yep, rights are nothing more or less than the surrender of individuality to the strength of the collective, totally empty unless backed by sufficient force to protect them. The same as society. As such, sometimes frowned upon by those who are deluded enough to believe that they would survive just fine without either.

So, when are you going to go Galt, buddy? Can it be soon?

flloyd 1 year, 9 months ago

The ultimate oxymoron...gay marriage.

SnakeFist 1 year, 9 months ago

"We'll be dealing with this until we all admit that we should all be gay and that it's everyone else, not gays, who are abnormal."

No, you'll be dealing with it until you realize that there's nothing wrong with being gay, or at least until you recognize that your bigotry is your problem and not theirs.

Lisa Medsker 1 year, 9 months ago

Just an aside: People with Down's and autism are allowed to get married.

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

Do you go up to people with autism or downs and tell them that they're abnormal? The point isn't that they're normal or abnormal. The point is that they Are What They Are. So let's take this deformity of a comparison somewhere, shall we?

Are you saying that people with downs and autism should not be allowed to be married, then? Because they're, in your thoughts, abnormal?

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

You state that the claimed agenda of a large group of people is nothing but a front over something that you have no proof for; make tedious, tenuous comparative connections to other groups that have nothing to do with the topic, and then ask ME to be intellectually honest?

Making this claim . . .

"We'll be dealing with this until we all admit that we should all be gay and that it's everyone else, not gays, who are abnormal."

. . . strikes you from the ability to even associate with intellectual honesty.

gatekeeper 1 year, 9 months ago

No, it's called they want the same, basic rights that hetero couples get. I read this to a couple of gay friends. They just laughed. They feel totally normal. They don't need marriage equality to feel normal, they need it so they can have the same rights my husband and I have.

Peacemaker452 1 year, 9 months ago

Get the government out of the marriage business altogether. Their only involvement should be recording the legal contract between two or more people, if they choose to use one. Of course, the courts would then be involved in the dissolution of that contract if adequate provisions were not included in the first place.

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

Declaring the correct solution to be a hypothetical scenario that will not occur is not really a path forward in the current.

Unless, of course, you're going to start by convincing all of those heterosexual married people to start giving back their tax exemptions and benefits. Let us know how that works out for you.

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

No. Marriage has nothing to do with the church in our present society unless the individuals involved want the church involved. It already is a civil institution and all the benefits that it confers legally are civil ones.

So let's keep Marriage as the word defining the civil institution, and then the Churches can make changes to the word as they see fit for the aspect of the service that they offer, perhaps into Sanctified Baptist/Methodist/Catholic/etc. Marriage or some such. If they Really see the need to make sure that they're separate.

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

What are you talking about? I'm already married, legally, to my wife. We have a wonderful heterosexual relationship. I want rights conferred by the government to be conferred equally. And I don't want society to show tacit endorsement for the people who are so uncomfortable with the notion of homosexual marriage as to demand a change in the very wording of the institution. Making a separate but equal arrangement always leads to continued inequality.

Peacemaker452 1 year, 9 months ago

All of the scenarios presented so far are hypothetical, that is why we are discussing our opinions.

You do know what “opines” means don’t you?

Do you think it is a better idea to have 50 different sets of rules and another 1200 pages added to the tax codes to cover all of this? That is what is going to happen if the court strikes down DOMA in a limited decision with no other action.

I guess it is a good thing that all of those people who wanted rights for women and blacks just sat around and waited for the government to do something instead of advocating for ideas that were considered “hypothetical scenario(s) that will not occur” at the time. But, based on your comments above, you seem to think that you should just wait around and let “society” decide everything according to its whim. After all, rights are just a fallacy, the collective must decide all.

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

To claim that all the scenarios presented are hypothetical is fallacious. The scenario that heterosexual couples can get married in a civilly-recognized union that confers a variety of tax and other related benefits, and that homosexual couples are currently denied this, is not hypothetical. That is reality. Another reality is that the hetero couples are NOT going to give up what they currently have. They have numbers, they have tradition, they have power. As a collective, they are stronger than any push would be to take away those benefits. So ultimately, while I agree that it would be the simple solution, it also must be pointed out that it's a simplistic solution, not founded in an honest examination of reality. Much the same as people who, when discussing birth control and family planning, just wave their arms and yell about not having sex until marriage.

Call me crazy if you want, but I prefer solutions that have at least a basis in demonstrable reality.

Peacemaker452 1 year, 9 months ago

First, the status quo is not what I was referring to when I talked about hypotheticals, I was talking about the proposed solutions. You knew that but thought you could make some kind of point by challenging it.

Your tactic failed.

In one of your comments you rightfully say that “separate but equal” leads to continued inequality but you seem to be arguing for solutions that will lead to exactly that condition. You can call my idea simplistic if you wish but what you really mean is that it would not be easy. All you seem to care about is what will be easy to get the collective to agree on. If everyone believed as you do we would still live in a country that only allowed white males to vote and own property.

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

Change "easy" to "possible" in that analysis and you'd be on to something.

I would say, likewise, that if everyone pushing for change believed as you do, we would also still be living in a country that only allowed white males to vote and own property. It takes all types. The idealists to keep pushing for the potential ideal, and the pragmatists to allow change to happen in a manner in which change can actually happen. Or have you forgotten the many, many, many interim steps it took from the white-male centered society of the Revolutionary period through the Civil War, to now? (With many more steps left to go)

Pastor_Bedtime 1 year, 9 months ago

I see even The Druggie admits the inevitability of marriage equality, and O'Reilly confesses that his position is "evolving". Even Republican pundits realize that uness their party quits embracing bigotry as a plank in their platform, they'll soon be toast in the years to come.

Pastor_Bedtime 1 year, 9 months ago

Feel free to not take me seriously then ~ lord knows we never hear nicknames EVER applied to our president or others. Oh, and the nickname rings true, as Rush's history shows. Too bad he and his listeners cannot recognize the disconnect between the illegality of his habits ~ and lack of respect for the nation's drug laws ~ and the conservative party line he's been known to represent.

gatekeeper 1 year, 9 months ago

There was a great discussion on Pierce Morgan the other night. He had Suze Orman on and she did the best job of describing the financial rights that marriage gives. Her "wife" of 12 years, who has always been a home maker and hasn't earned SS benefits, would be given nothing if Suze passed away. Just think if a woman that has kids and is a stay at home mom, but is also gay and being supported by her female partner, loses her partner. The kids don't get the SS death benefits and she doesn't get the surviving spouse benefit. The homophobes in this country would rather see this mom and her kids suffer, go on wellfare and foodstamps than to provide the same basic benefits a mom in a hetero relationship would get. Just sickening.

The homophobe representing the other side claims that marriage only exists to provide a stable household for raising children. When asked if women over 50, sterile women or women that don't want kids should be able to wed, he agreed they should, but only because the marriage would keep the man from getting a younger woman pregnant, out of wedlock.

Loved hearing how my husband and I (together for 20 years and have no children) should have only been allowed to marry to keep him from producing kids with other women out of wedlock.

When you sit and listen to the arguments from the religious right and homophobes on why gays can't be given the basic right to marry, it's pretty entertaining.

I'm glad I was brought up in a church that taught love, acceptance and respect for others.

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

Repeating this ad-nauseam does not make it true.

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

And my answer to that "exact" statement of preference is the same.

The problem is your extrapolation of that exact statement into the rest of your unfounded and untrue paragraph.

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

And? Church's wouldn't be required to change anything at all unless they wanted to feel somehow superior, nor would they be forced to marry people whose relationships they didn't approve of. But Marriage is not a religious institution in our society. This is a demonstrable fact. You can get married without ever stepping foot into a church, having a pastor, taking communion, or anything else. You sign the civil form and you're done, if that's all that you care to have. But unless you sign that form, you can have a full blown ceremony in the church and it won't mean anything at all. In the meat of the contract, what a marriage actually, tangibly DOES, a church has no involvement. So why should they be allowed to monopolize the term? That would be, as you say, a forced acceptance of their choices, and a forced legitimization of their lifestyle choice, unwillingly on the rest of us.

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

Yes, clearly a scenario where I don't accept the idea of special privileges conferred by our government onto a certain subset of society means that I hate certain people. I'm glad you cleared that up for me.

Is this how you define "intellectual honesty"?

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

Yes, yes. Separate But Equal. Got it. That Always works.

If they're the same, then why would we need different terms?

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

You're already convinced of that, and have been from the start. It's demonstrably untrue, but you don't seem to be all that interested in the truth, so I don't really feel the need to attempt to change your mind on the subject.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Marriage is both civil and religious - that's part of the problem.

What difference does it make what word we use, as long as the actual rights and benefits are equal?

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

The "separate but equal" argument may have some validity, though.

But I think it's possible in theory for things to be separate but equal - in the historical case that refers to, it wasn't equal in practice.

gatekeeper 1 year, 9 months ago

You are wrong on so many levels. If the laws were changed so that ALL people would have civil unions instead of marriages, gay couples wouldn't have issues with this. Your statements clearly show that you do not have gay family members or close friends, thus don't understand the issues at hand. Telling gays that they can only have a civil union, when hetero couples can have a marriage, is creating the old precident of equal but separate.

There are many, many legal rights that come with marriage.
•Filing joint income tax returns with the IRS.. •Creating a "family partnership" under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members. •Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate •Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for property leave to your spouse. •Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples •Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse •Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses •Receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans. •Receiving public assistance benefits. •Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer. •Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness •Receiving wages, workers' compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse. •Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse's close relatives dies •Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility. •Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment. •Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures •Making burial or other final arrangements. •Filing for stepparent or joint adoption. •Applying for joint foster care rights. •Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce. •Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce. •Living in neighborhoods zoned for "families only." •Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse. •Receiving family rates for health, homeowners', auto, and other types of insurance. •Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities. •Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families. •Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy). •Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can't force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage. •Receiving crime victims' recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime. •Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse. •Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

I'd be fine with calling everything a "civil union", and letting churches call their ceremonies whatever they like, provided that the civil and legal rights and benefits are equal for both unions.

Marriage is both a civil and a religious term, and that's part of the problem.

In the gay community, opinions are divided on this issue, as is true in the straight community. Part of the mistake that "anti" people make is treating a large diverse community as if it's one person, with one opinion and point of view.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Most people who are opposed to gay marriage are also opposed to civil unions that confer the same legal rights and benefits to gay couples.

Do you know any gay people? Your idea of what they're about seems quite off base to me.

And, it's unlikely that "many" churches would marry gay couples - there's a small handful that currently support same sex unions - Unity, Unitarians, and maybe a couple of others.

The gay and lesbian people I know don't care a whit whether or not you think they're "cool" - they do care about equal treatment under the law. And, I've met a lot more straight folks consumed with hate than gay folks.

But, I would certainly understand their anger at the discrimination they face, just as I understand that anger among black folks, women, etc. who have been historically denied equality. In fact, I can understand it a lot more easily than I can the anger of straight white males, who've enjoyed many privileges over the years.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Please list the "many" churches you're referring to.

As I said, those opposed to gay marriage are also usually opposed to civil unions that grant equal rights, so just dropping the term wouldn't immediately result in acceptance of those, and legal equality.

All of the major churches I know of - Catholic, Methodist, Episcopalian, 7th day Adventist, etc. don't support same sex unions.

You seem pretty angry - I wonder why? As a straight person, you can marry anybody you like, in most faith traditions, your marriage would be recognized in any state in the union, you and your spouse would get all of the legal rights/benefits of being married, etc.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Yes you can - you can legally marry anybody you like, in a civil union. And that marriage will confer all of the same legal rights and benefits as a marriage in a church would.

And, sure, most churches expect certain things from couples they marry, but you have a much larger choice of churches than gay folks have, so it's pretty likely you can find one that would marry you.

I don't hate churches - I majored in religious studies, and seriously considered the ministry several times. Your perception of me seems to be as off base as your perception of gay folks.

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

"I'd be fine with calling everything a "civil union", and letting churches call their ceremonies whatever they like, provided that the civil and legal rights and benefits are equal for both unions."

I used to hold that position, but now I disagree. Because it would still be forcing everybody who is currently married that doesn't necessarily have or want a religious sponsorship into retroactively having to obtain it or accept a redefinition of the terminology of their marriage. It's involuntary change forced on each individual union. It seems better, and more in-line with a culture of liberty, to keep the terms the same, and allow individuals and/or non-governmental organizations, such as churches, to voluntarily re-define their own union as they fit.

It also becomes problematic when you consider that there are Churches who Would grant marriages. So what then? Do you claim that only ones from a certain monastic tradition are capable of granting an actual marriage? Would, for instance, the Catholics or Baptists be acceptable, but not Unitarians? Would Christians be acceptable, but not Islam? What would the religious test for a legitimate "Marriage" be?

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

I don't care what my marriage is called, personally. I could call my wife my partner - it wouldn't change anything meaningful for me.

Since it's currently a religious as well as civil term, churches have some stake in the matter. If everything was called a civil union, then they can do as they like. Some could call their ceremonies marriages, others "coupling" ceremonies, "jointly yoked", etc. There wouldn't be any reason for all churches to call them the same thing if they didn't feel like it.

Religious traditions differ, and so each one could define what they believed about commitment ceremonies, and who they grant them to and why.

But none of that would matter, since everybody, whether joined in a civil union, or in a ceremony at a church as well, would have the same rights and privileges.

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

"I don't care what my marriage is called, personally."

But then, it's not just about you, personally.

If we're going to make ALL of that change in order to protect the word "marriage", do you not see Any possibility, really absolute certainty, that the next step would be for the various denominations to fight among themselves in order to claim the word "marriage"? Words mean things, and the very idea that we should have this debate proves that the word "marriage" has a particular, and coveted, meaning or significance to it.

Anybody could use any term they want? That's the situation that we'd have now. That's not the question. The question is: who gets to use the term "marriage" legitimately? What happens when they disagree?

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

I couldn't care less about fights among churches over who should get to use the term.

Let them fight about it, if the word is that important to them, or do the more sane thing, and simply pursue their own paths. What difference does it make?

The term does have a significance, both in a religious sense and in a civil sense - that's part of the problem, that we're mixing those two things. It would be simpler to un-mix them, in my view.

I thought the important thing was legal equality for gay couples - simply allowing all consenting adults to enter into civil unions, which confer the same rights and benefits to all of them would provide that, regardless of what churches do.

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

The point being, this solution is NOT simple. It's simple to you because you, as you say, don't care about terms. But lots of people Would care about it.

"Let them fight about it, if the word is that important to them, or do the more sane thing, and simply pursue their own paths. What difference does it make?"

When you bet on mankind as a group to act sane, you typically lose. It just seems that going this route, to me, provides a rather clear hierarchy of legitimacy, and makes a single word into the potential of a grail to be chased and argued over. That would continue to involve everybody -- it's not something, I think, that would so simply be dealt with as "letting them fight it out." By taking the word away from the general usage, it's pretty inevitable that you'd be tacitly conferring it, in the minds of many, to elite status, which would then make it coveted.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Why would you care? Does your relationship depend on what you call it?

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

Not at all. I'd keep calling my wife my wife, and my marriage my marriage.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

And, would it make any difference if you called her your partner, and your relationship a life partnership?

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

Doesn't really matter, because I wouldn't do that. Those names sound stupid and overly PC, to me. Other people can call their marriage that, if they want.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Sounds like it does matter to you.

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

I've answered that already. I think it would be an absurd farce to please a group of people that won't be pleased by it. You said that you disagreed with my description of it as an absurd farce.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

First you said it wouldn't matter to you, and then you said that certain terms seem stupid, and you'd keep using marriage and wife.

If terms don't matter to you, then it shouldn't matter what you call your wife.

Since you seem attached to the words "wife" and "marriage", then terminology does matter to you.

And, the idea isn't to "please" the religious folks, it's to remove their objection, so that gay folks can get concrete legal equality sooner and more easily. The real problem is that most of them would object to that equality regardless of what we call it.

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

moving to another section down the thread where it is still able to be read.

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

"I thought the important thing was legal equality for gay couples - simply allowing all consenting adults to enter into civil unions, which confer the same rights and benefits to all of them would provide that, regardless of what churches do."

The question here doesn't have anything to do with what homosexuals deserve anymore, but rather how much change we're expecting the Rest of society to absorb in order to accommodate the equality of benefits, while placating the people opposed to the idea.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Well, either way somebody has to absorb something.

If I were gay, I'm pretty sure I'd be glad to get the ability to have a legally recognized union that conferred all the same legal benefits as marriage, regardless of what it's called. And, if that were more easily and quickly achievable, without so much resistance from religious folks, that's what I'd go for.

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

I'm sure that the reality of the situation will force homosexuals accept it, though I can imagine that they'll still be somewhat appalled by the idea that it has to come to that. But again, it's not necessarily about them, alone. We're still forcing other people to make a change, and telling them that, legally speaking, their no longer married. Even if we swear up and down at the same time that we're not really changing anything.

If it's a necessary interim step to move forward then so be it. But here is, essentially, what we'd be doing. We're openly giving a small consolation of a change that is utterly meaningless in the ideal application, so that one group of people can lie to themselves that they are still different and more special than another that they disprove of.

In the interim, telling Everybody Else that, due to the problems this one group has with the other, everybody has to accept a redefinition of what they had. Even if this redefinition is totally meaningless in the ideal practical application. At the same time we're not really considering what the aftermath of the change will be, and if it will Really be as meaningless as we claim it's going to be.

Not to mention, of course, that the people we're trying to placate with this don't seem to show the sign that they'll actually be placated by the action.

It all seems incredibly petty to me. If that's the way it would have to be then fine, let the chips fall where they lay. But let's not pretend that it's anything other than a politician's short term solution, that will then be addressed again a few generations from now.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

The only thing I agree with in your post is that most people who oppose gay marriage would also oppose civil unions, if they did in fact grant equal rights.

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

You can agree or disagree, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I'm wrong. Or that I'm right.

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

It doesn't matter what the government decided my union had to be called, I would simply continue using the same terminology as I always had. Terminology does matter to me. One is comfortable and what I've always used. The other is not. I see no compelling reason to change. I think you're fooling yourself if you think that the mass reaction by most people would be anything other than that when the government decides that everybody's union is going to be redefined.

"the idea isn't to "please" the religious folks, it's to remove their objection, so that gay folks can get concrete legal equality sooner and more easily. The real problem is that most of them would object to that equality regardless of what we call it."

There is no functional difference here between what we are saying, except perhaps for the level of cynicism behind our personal observations. The objection has nothing to do with the term being used, and the opposition will not go away if we decide to change it. So why pretend that this is the case?

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

That's fine, it's more honest. I don't care at all about terminology - it's meaningless to me. What's in a name?

Well, for one thing, if we remove that particular objection, then their real motives and objectives will become clearer, and more ugly. It won't be possible any more for them to say "We're just trying to protect ourselves, and our practices and beliefs". That means that if they want to object, they'll have to actually say "We want to deny equal legal rights to gay and lesbian folks, regardless of what we call their union".

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

Honest? Actually, there was just one disconnect. Where I responded to your question of what it matters what "I" call my marriage, I was responding more to the question of what it would matter what "others" called my marriage. Regardless, I would still find it absolutely petty.

Honestly, I can't see how you can look at what you yourself just wrote and NOT see it as petty or completely self-deceptive. Why in the world should we go through all of that just to prove something that Everybody Already Knows?

I'm also not entirely sure why you think it would help facilitate the process in the slightest. The "compromise" of relegating every current marriage to a civil union has less chance of happening than simply allowing homosexuals to get married. Because now you're creating a pool of affected individuals that encompasses a huge majority of the country, and they're not going to allow it to happen.

FYI: The answer to the next question: "Why do you mind when nothing but the name is going to change?" is: "Prove to me that there will be no change but the name."

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Really, you should make up your mind. Either you care what your marriage is called, or you don't, both by yourself and by others. The substance of my relationship with my wife has nothing to do with names.

You don't seem to understand how politics works, I guess. Why allow them to claim they're just protecting their rights if we can force them to openly say they want to deny rights to others?

"Relegating" implies that somehow a "marriage" is superior to a "civil union", even if the latter entails the exact same legal rights and benefits - it's an odd thing for you to write.

If civil unions confer the same legal rights and benefits as marriage, why would anything else change?

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

Of course. The point being that this wouldn't end the arguments of legitimacy in the slightest, but rather it would probably compound them.

Liberty275 1 year, 9 months ago

"They were legally married in Toronto"

That raises an interesting point. What compels the federal or several state governments to recognize marriages performed in other countries? In my opinion, that completely nullifies the case.

Canadian law is fine and all, but I'm not subject to it sitting here in the middle of cornfield Kansas. Why is the government? If the law of another country is about to be imposed on America, it's time to take out the pitchforks.

I probably hold a wider belief in freedom including the freedom of 2 or more persons to enter into a consensual marriage and that all levels of government have no choice but to accept them. You can pretty much say I'm pro gay rights.

That said, the premise of the argument in favor of gay marriage based on another country's laws does not pass muster. Nowhere in our constitution does it mention another country's laws therefore those laws and the products of those laws have no business in our courts. The cause is just, but violating the constitution is not an acceptable means of enforcing other parts of even the constitution itself (which I take is a14 in this case).

You need something better.

Now if you have a treaty that we might have to follow and therefore tie us to Canada's laws regarding marriage, I'd be interested in hearing about it.

Liberty275 1 year, 8 months ago

That's nice. Under what law do they have to recognize it?

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

I had a similar thought.

But I believe that the state in which they lived recognized their marriage. Thus, they were legally married in that state. So, the issue is whether or not the feds can deny benefits to people legally married in their state.

It does muddy the waters a bit, though, I agree.

jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

Wow.

It's unnerving to carry on a long conversation with somebody, and then have them just disappear - makes it look like I was talking to myself a lot :-)

jonas_opines 1 year, 9 months ago

Indeed. Seems better to leave behind a record of the conversation for when they come back, having forgotten about the personal attacks, claiming to be persecuted for their ideological lean.

Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 9 months ago

It tends to happen on here. Not the first time, not the last time.

Dave Greenbaum 1 year, 9 months ago

Does anyone know if the Journal World will change their policy of refusing to list domestic partnerships, civil unions, or same-sex marriages on the weddings or anniversary pages. Previously I was told it wouldn't be until Kansas law allows it.

mom_of_three 1 year, 9 months ago

I have never understood how gay marriage could be illegal, because it isn't treating a portion of the american population equal to others. I am glad when two consenting adults can marry.
Religious reasons shouldn't have anything to do with it. It doesn't affect your or your religion if two women get married. Now, i have a question. The bible is used as a reason for not allowing gay marriage. The bible tells us not to do a lot of things. Now, according to some religions, it tells them not to smoke, drink or dance. Other religions allow it. But if they are all reading the same bible, how is that possible?
There are those that say drinking will send you to he!! , so why don't they fuss about the people drinking in restaurants or liquor stores. Why are they okay with that, even though their bible says it isn't allowed?
So why not have that same logic with gay marriage??

tomatogrower 1 year, 9 months ago

http://www2.ljworld.com/users/photos/2013/mar/30/252258/

This picture has it down pat. Marriage is a legal contract. The license you get from the state is a legal contract between 2 hopefully consenting adults. As far as I'm concerned it could be between more than 2, as long as they were consenting and not coerced; although I might question their sanity. No church will be required to perform a ritual of matrimony for a couple with whom they don't agree. They can do that now. Catholic priests won't perform matrimony for a Protestant couple. Jewish rabbis wouldn't perform matrimony for 2 muslims. I assume that most preachers won't perform matrimony for people who are not members or somehow otherwise associated with their church. There are enough Christian sects who aren't opposed to homosexuals, so they would still be able to join a church and get married in one, and judges can still legally perform a service, as can anyone who registers themselves. And in the end everyone will have the same rights under the law, but not necessarily under your church. It wouldn't really change anything for the vast majority of people.

tomatogrower 1 year, 9 months ago

I think I typed too much. Here's the photo.

Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 9 months ago

DOMA does not make sense on any level. How could two homosexuals in love getting married and having the legal rights of marriage possible keep same gender couples from getting married and living in a totally traditional marriage?

However, this argument can be made forever and with some people it is going to go in one ear and out the other. They are going to want to see society mirror their own beliefs. It is not going to happen.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 1 year, 8 months ago

Everyone deserves equal rights. Extend them or renege them.

I wonder if the desire to have indoctrinated babies is entering, stage right, into this play.

Separate the church and army state from our lives. We don't need human bodies. We need humanity...and nuclear arms to end the charade of our unquestioned sanity.

:)

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