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Cut Out the Rancor and Divisiveness, You Bigots:

Here's the Democratic National Committee's press release about the New York same-sex marriage decision:

WASHINGTON, July 6 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean today issued the following statement in response to the decision by the New York Court of Appeals that the state constitution does not guarantee the right to marriage for same-sex couples, but that the state legislature could provide this:

"As Democrats, we believe that every American has a right to equal protection under the law and to live in dignity. And we must respect the right of every family to live in dignity with equal rights, responsibilities and protections under the law. Today's decision by the New York Court of Appeals, which relies on outdated and bigoted notions about families, is deeply disappointing, but it does not end the effort to achieve this goal.

"As that essential process moves forward, it is up to the State legislature to act to protect the equal rights of every New Yorker and for the debate on how to ensure those rights to proceed without the rancor and divisiveness that too often surrounds this issue."

Commenter Max Hailperin makes a good point: Isn't it a bit odd to condemn (whether or not soundly) the New York Court of Appeals' decision as relying on "outdated and bigoted notions" and then urge that the coming legislative debate "proceed without the rancor and divisiveness that too often surrounds this issue"?

Salaryman (mail):

Isn't it a bit odd to condemn (whether or not soundly) the New York Court of Appeals' decision as relying on "outdated and bigoted notions" and then urge that the coming legislative debate "proceed without the rancor and divisiveness that too often surrounds this issue"


"Odd" in the sense of "unusual"? No, looks like pretty much standard political rhetoric to me. "Odd" in the sense of "illogical, internally contradictory and/or intellectually dishonest"? Sure, but what's that got to do with the business of legislating?
7.6.2006 8:23pm
TO (mail):
I'm with Salaryman. Illogical, yes. Unexpected or unusual, considering the source, no.
7.6.2006 8:28pm
mvargus (mail):
I'm getting sick of this issue, especially since its not about "marriage"

Marriage used to exist for one reason. It was a contract between a man and a woman. The woman promised the man that any child she had would be from his DNA, the man promised to help raise and protect the children and to provide for the family. That was it. It wasn't about "love" or "acceptance" it was a financial contract. That's why at one time brides had to have dowries, to basically purchase their husbands, or the husband might purchase the bride, depending on the culture. (basically its built out of the inheritance rights.)

Ist true, that now with most work not requiring a lot of physical strength and endurance most women can do as well as the average man in making money, but that doesn't change the social impacts of not having a mother and a father while growing up, and sadly the "free love" of the 60's has caused to many people to forget that important part of the marriage contract.

So to me being against "same-sex" marriage, has nothing to do with bigotry. It has to do with understanding the cultural realities that created the sacrament of marriage, and the pure evil and cultural nihilism required to attempt to mutate that contract simply to force acceptance of homosexuality.
7.6.2006 8:34pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
mvargus: I'm wondering why an institution ought to have one and only one function. Marriage may have originally been designed for the reason you describe (though if we focus on its origins, we should also recognize that it was often a contract between a man and several women, and sometimes, as you recognize, between the man and the women's fathers). But for centuries it has also been about love, about company in old age, about emotional tranquility, about sexual hygiene, and more.

I would think that this capacity of marriage to serve the other valuable functions is a sign of the strength of marriage, not something to be minimized or condemned. Do you find it repulsive when post-menopausal women marry? Do you find it a sign of pure evil and cultural nihilism? Or would you happily dance at their weddings, and appreciate the value of the marriage both for the parties and for society?

And if you do acknowledge that marriage can therefore have many functions, what's so "pure[ly] evil and cultural[ly] nihilis[tic]" about extending to marriage to couples who are unable to reproduce because of their gender, rather than because of their age or because of some medical condition? (I realize that you could make other criticisms of same-sex marriage -- I'm asking here simply about the "marriage used to exist for one reason" criticism.)
7.6.2006 8:40pm
jvarisco (www):
Is this the same Howard Dean who just said that the DNC platform did not include gay marriage? Is he trying to turn into Kerry or something?
7.6.2006 8:45pm
Nobody (mail):


Isn't it a bit odd to condemn (whether or not soundly) the New York Court of Appeals' decision as relying on "outdated and bigoted notions" and then urge that the coming legislative debate "proceed without the rancor and divisiveness that too often surrounds this issue"



Isn't a bit odd to condemn Chief Justice Taney's decision in Dred Scott v. Sanford, and then urge that the coming debate over the 13th, 14th and 15th proposed amendments "proceed without the rancor and divisiveness that too often surrounds this issue"?

Not a single member of the New York Court of Appeals sits in the Assembly or the Senate in Albany. To claim that members of that Court are bigots should not prevent other people, who are state legislators, from debating the subject without rancor. There's nothing wrong with calling a bigot a bigot. Watch me:

David Duke is a bigot. He hates black people and Jews and all sorts of minorities.

Am I being rancorous? Is that divisive? I'm stating fairly unimpeachable facts.

People who oppose gay marriage can claim that they're not homophobes, that they don't hate gays, or whatever they want. They can't really say they're not bigots though. They're in favor of denying people rights based on arbitrary classifications.
7.6.2006 9:12pm
SLS 1L (mail):
I think the idea is that it's supposed to proceed without rancor and divisiveness because people who oppose gay marriage should shut up, smile, and vote for a gay-marriage bill.

I'd be all in favor of this, personally. It is kind of stupid; it's just a standard attempt to capture the debate by defining your opponents as "divisive," just as only your political enemies can ever be guilty of "partisanship."
7.6.2006 9:21pm
Cornellian (mail):
Marriage used to exist for one reason. It was a contract between a man and a woman. The woman promised the man that any child she had would be from his DNA, the man promised to help raise and protect the children and to provide for the family. That was it. It wasn't about "love" or "acceptance" it was a financial contract. That's why at one time brides had to have dowries, to basically purchase their husbands, or the husband might purchase the bride, depending on the culture. (basically its built out of the inheritance rights.)

Old people have always been free to get married, despite the woman's inability to produce children. Presumably on your understanding, such marriages had no reason to exist, yet somehow society managed to carry on despite their existence.
7.6.2006 9:24pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Is this the same Howard Dean who just said that the DNC platform did not include gay marriage? Is he trying to turn into Kerry or something?


Could be:

After the gay rights group went public with its complaints about his remarks, Dean acknowledged: "I misstated the Democratic Party's platform, which does not say marriage should be limited to a man and a woman," and reasserted the party's commitment to equal protection for all.


Oops.
7.6.2006 9:29pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
I think the idea is that it's supposed to proceed without rancor and divisiveness because people who oppose gay marriage should shut up, smile, and vote for a gay-marriage bill.


Isn’t that pretty much the definition of “bipartisanship” – Republicans agree to do what Democrats want and Democrats agree to let them?
7.6.2006 9:31pm
noname (mail):
What in the world is the Democratic Party's position on gay marriage? As far as I'm aware, the party has never taken the position that it is in favor of gay marriage.

According to the story linked to above by Thorley Winston, the 2004 platform included a "plank that left the central question about what defines marriage to the states."

So now the highest court in NY says that there is no requirement in the NY constituion that same-sex marriage be permitted. And the head of the DNC says that is "disappointing"? Is Dean actually saying that the NY Constitution *mandates* same-sex marriage? What other state constitutions mandate same-sex marriage? All 50 of them? Just curious.

I haven't read today's decision, so I can't say whether I agree with it. But after reading Dean's press release, I honestly have no idea what the Democratic Party believes either.
7.6.2006 9:56pm
richard james (mail):
While I think that these decisions today are a boon to the Democratic Party, because they undermine the Republican talking point about out of control judiciaries, I continue to be suprised by the narrow-mindedness on display about the issue. I'm a little suprised by Republican's inability to understand that marriage is an innately conservative institution that creates conformity and diminishes leftist ideology. Marriage is conservativeness-creating, because it forces individuals into traditional models of economic and social activities, and it is almost impossible to imagine that allowing an aberrant group to enter a powerfully conformist social model will result in the institution being undermined. Everyone knows people who were political firebrands in their single youth who became scions of the ruling classes after marriage.
7.6.2006 10:55pm
Q the Enchanter (mail) (www):
One can without eliciting rancor say to someone, "I think the notions you are relying on to reach your conclusions are outdated and bigoted." So, no, the cited statement is not odd.
7.6.2006 11:23pm
AllOverButTheScreaming:
Are you seriously only now starting to realize the way this works?

It is only a matter of time before the 5 liberal U.S. Supreme Court Justices, no doubt citing to foreign law and cases, "invents" the right of homosexuals to marry. Or, as I like to put it, it is all over but the screaming.

Until that time, the Dems will pretend to be in favor of Federalism and suggest that maybe the legislatures are the way to go, until the minute they get the liberal court decision they want.

Those claiming that there is no way the U.S. Supreme Court will not force gay marriage on the nation are either pro-gay marriage people who are being disengenuous or conservatives who are naive.

Speaking of the politics of this and the courts, look to Washington State's Supreme Court. July 7 (this Friday) is the last day to file signatures for constitutional amendment initiatives for the November 2006 ballot.

The Washington State Supreme Court has sat on its gay marriage decision for over 18 months.

Wonder why? Because they are going to go in favor of gay marriage and this way, there is no way the people can do anything about it for at least a year if not 2 years.
7.6.2006 11:28pm
AllOverButTheScreaming:

While I think that these decisions today are a boon to the Democratic Party, because they undermine the Republican talking point about out of control judiciaries


Wait until Washington State Supreme, which is deliberately sitting on their decision requiring same sex marriage in Washington State until past the point (July 7) when the people can do anything about it.

As if you would need anymore proof of out of control judiciaries, how about one that withholds a decision for political calendar dating like this?
7.6.2006 11:30pm
Michael Hall:
Q the Enchanter: C'mon, man, really. You don't think calling someone a "bigot" -- and yes, stating that the notions upon which a person is relying are "bigoted" is tantamount to calling the person a "bigot" -- is rancorous? Sorry, but that's just silly.
7.7.2006 12:07am
therut:
The Democratic party is again lying. If they really came out and stated their true agenda there would never be a majority Democratic Party ever again in this country. Now the Repubs do come out and say loudly the party is aganist gay marriage. Huuuummmmmmmmm! One reason I could never be a Democrat. They lie by ommission and deceit.
7.7.2006 12:37am
Bruce Wilder (www):
"without . . . rancor and divisiveness"

That's Democratic code for, "without Republicans". We should all live so long.
7.7.2006 3:17am
The General:
"Yaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrgh!"

- Howard Dean
7.7.2006 3:09pm
KeithK (mail):

People who oppose gay marriage can claim that they're not homophobes, that they don't hate gays, or whatever they want. They can't really say they're not bigots though. They're in favor of denying people rights based on arbitrary classifications.

Yes I can. I simply believe that there is not now and never has been a right for two members of the same sex to marry. Marriage as I understandit is between a man and a woman. You are entitled to disagree with me and even to call me a bigot. But consider myself on firm footing when I say that I am not.
7.7.2006 3:41pm
Joegator (mail):
Does this mean we can look forward to the next democratic candidate endorsing and promoting gay marraige???
7.7.2006 6:38pm
Q the Enchanter (mail) (www):
Michael Hall, I don't at all see that characterizing someone's idea as "bigoted" is tantamount to saying that that person is a bigot--any more than characterizing someone's comment as "silly" is tantamout to saying that that person is silly. (Indeed, if I thought for a moment you meant to call *me* silly, well, there would be far more rancor in the instant comment.)
7.7.2006 7:20pm
Michael Hall:
Q the Enchanter,

You write that you don't "see that characterizing someone's idea as 'bigoted' is tantamount to saying that that person is a bigot." Of course it is, that is what a "bigot" is: someone who holds bigoted beliefs. A "racist" is someone who holds racist beliefs. If you "characteriz[e] someone's idea as 'bigoted,'" the necessary corollary of this statement is that you are calling the person a "bigot." This is true despite the fact that you do explicitly state "I hereby declare you to be a bigot."
7.7.2006 7:48pm
Michael Hall:
Pardon my typo, the last sentence should be "This is true despite the fact that you do NOT explicitly state 'I hereby declare you to be a bigot.'"
7.7.2006 7:50pm
hjgu (mail):
7.9.2006 9:52pm
NickM (mail) (www):
Cornellian - at common law, a woman was legally presumed to never be too old to bear children. Ever hear of the "fertile octogenarian"?

Dean's name-calling coupled with a plea for civility has become a standard feature of Democratic Party press releases and talking points over the last decade and a half. I don't think it actually works for them with the public though.

Nick
7.10.2006 6:29pm