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Civil unions pass in Oregon:

Two weeks after the state house did so, today the state senate voted to grant same-sex couples all of the rights, benefits, and responsibilities of married couples under state law. The governor has said he will sign the bill. As in the other states that have adopted civil unions, the new status is limited to same-sex couples and includes the age, consanguinity, capacity and other requirements to enter a marriage. Unlike marriage, there is no requirement of a solemnizing ceremony. The bill itself describes the status as a "binding civil union contract." Its text can be found here.

From the legislative findings:

(3) Many gay and lesbian Oregonians have formed lasting, committed, caring and faithful relationships with individuals of the same sex, despite long-standing social and economic discrimination. These couples live together, participate in their communities together and often raise children and care for family members together, just as do couples who are married under Oregon law. Without the ability to obtain some form of legal status for their relationships, same-sex couples face numerous obstacles and hardships in attempting to secure rights, benefits and responsibilities for themselves and their children. Many of the rights, benefits and responsibilities that the families of married couples take for granted cannot be obtained in any way other than through state recognition of committed same-sex partnerships.

(4) This state has a strong interest in promoting stable and lasting families, including the families of same-sex couples and their children. All Oregon families should be provided with the opportunity to obtain necessary legal protections and status and the ability to achieve their fullest potential.

(5) Sections 1 to 9 of this 2007 Act are intended to better align Oregon law with the values embodied in the Constitution and public policy of this state, and to further the state's interest in the promotion of stable and lasting families, by extending benefits, protections and responsibilities to committed same-sex partners and their children that are comparable to those provided to married individuals and their children by the laws of this state.

(6) The establishment of a civil union system will provide legal recognition to same-sex relationships, thereby ensuring more equal treatment of gays and lesbians and their families under Oregon law.

Oregon joins California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Vermont in extending all of the benefits and responsibilities of marriage to same-sex couples. Hawaii, Maine, Washington state, and D.C, grant legal recognition and some of the rights of marriage to same-sex couples. That makes ten states (plus DC) recognizing and protecting gay families to some extent. Seven of these have done so legislatively; the other three under court compulsion.

Oregon is different in one important respect from the other states that have so far adopted civil unions. Unlike the other civil-union states, there's a possible legal challenge to the new law in Oregon: the state passed a constitutional amendment in 2004 limiting marriage to one man and one woman. While the new law does not let gay couples marry, opponents can be expected to argue that granting the substance of marriage to gay couples without the name nevertheless violates the state constitution. However, a difference between the Oregon constitutional amendment and many other state marriage amendments is that it did not ban marriage and "the equivalent of marriage" for same-sex couples. It was thus a narrower amendment than the ones that have passed elsewhere. Whether that sort of difference will save the new civil union law in Oregon state courts remains to be seen.

Jiffy:
The precise wording of the Oregon constitutional amendment should be encouraging for defenders of the new legislation. The amendment provides:

It is the policy of Oregon, and its political subdivisions, that only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or legally recognized as a marriage. (Emphasis added)

This suggests, perhaps, that relationships that are recognized as something other than a marriage, such as a civil union, are not prohibited.
5.2.2007 7:34pm
Aleks:
If the SoCon Right does run to courts on this, they will be showing their hypocrisy off in full living color. All along they have moaned and groaned about "unelected judges" making social policy in defiance of legislatures. Should they attempt to overrule the legislature in the courts now, how will they be able to ever make that argument with a straight face again?
5.2.2007 7:35pm
rc:
"Many of the rights, benefits and responsibilities that the families of married couples take for granted cannot be obtained in any way other than through state recognition of committed same-sex partnerships."

I always thought that power of attorney, inheritance, etc could be gained to ANYONE with the proper documentation. Granted, common-law marriage does not acoomodate modern-day gay live ins, but I think modern-day live-ins might think common law marriage to be a hindrance as much as a benefit. Is automatic common-law marriage a convenience, or a right?

If you are gay, why not just sign a few papers? If you are so settled and committed and legitimate, why not go through a few hoops to get the same rights as married folks?

Is it possible that gay folks cannot by legal gymnastics get the same contractual bondage as married folks, or is it just that same sex folks are whining that they don't get the same simple 'package deal' that the hetero's can easily aquire?
5.2.2007 7:45pm
Robert West (mail) (www):
There is at least the theoretical possibility of a similar challenge to California's Domestic Partnership rules, as being a violation of Proposition 22.
5.2.2007 7:48pm
Robert West (mail) (www):
RC: is there a way to get the right not to be compelled to testify against your spouse? Or the right to sue for wrongful death when your spouse is killed through someone else's negligence?

Outside of getting married, that is?

In California, you can get those by signing up as domestic partners. But otherwise, AFAIK, you couldn't.
5.2.2007 7:49pm
Ramza:
Robert West that lawsuit failed 3 years ago, more info here

After the lawsuit failed there was an attempt by the same people to recall the judge.
5.2.2007 7:53pm
rc:
I believe that there should be a route for domestic gay couples to secure the same rights as hetero couples.

Common law marriage says that hetero couples gain certain rights just by tolerating one another for a certain amount of time.

I agree with Robert West, even though I don't agree with gay marriage: committed, consenting adult individuals should be accorded the same rights by the govt, through one path or another.
5.2.2007 7:55pm
Bernie Shearon (mail):
Isn't there an equal protection problem with the limitation of "civil unions that are not marriages because that would be contrary to the state constitution" to homosexuals? What if a heterosexual couple wants to enter into a "civil union that is not marriage because that would be contrary to the state constitution" instead of a marriage. The statute on its face appears to prohibit that CUTINMBTWBCTTSC.
5.2.2007 8:01pm
Ramza:

I always thought that power of attorney, inheritance, etc could be gained to ANYONE with the proper documentation. Granted, common-law marriage does not acoomodate modern-day gay live ins, but I think modern-day live-ins might think common law marriage to be a hindrance as much as a benefit. Is automatic common-law marriage a convenience, or a right?

If you are gay, why not just sign a few papers? If you are so settled and committed and legitimate, why not go through a few hoops to get the same rights as married folks?

Is it possible that gay folks cannot by legal gymnastics get the same contractual bondage as married folks, or is it just that same sex folks are whining that they don't get the same simple 'package deal' that the hetero's can easily aquire?

First such contracts are a power granted to the people by the states, the states get to decide if the contract is legal or not. Virgina has a law that purposefully prevents such contracts for the legislatures feel things such as power of attorney and all that is thing that should be only allowed for a marriage. The law that does this is as follows.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That the Code of Virginia is amended by adding a section numbered 20-45.3 as follows:

§ 20-45.3. Civil unions between persons of same sex.

A civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement between persons of the same sex purporting to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage is prohibited. Any such civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement entered into by persons of the same sex in another state or jurisdiction shall be void in all respects in Virginia and any contractual rights created thereby shall be void and unenforceable.

Link
This law includes private legal documents people write up. Luckily this isn't a constitutional amendment to the state constitution (there is also a 2006 Virgina DOMA state constitutional amendment but it doesn't go as far as this law it bans Same Sex Marriage and Domestic Partnerships but doesn't deal with private contracts) thus a future law and not a constitutional amendment can easily revoke what this current law is (and thus it is a far easier to do)
Jonathan Rauch talks about this Virgina law here

And as the strength of these legal documents, well they aren't as a sure thing as marriage. They have never been a sure thing, if a person, angry family member, hospital wants to take you to court they will, and the outcome is not for sure on your side plus the additional expense of court due to that family member taking you in the first place.

This area has been discussed before on both sides, for example it was recently brought up again in the previous thread and here is a response to such arguments that put it better than I can possibly can.
5.2.2007 8:10pm
rc:
Bottom line, as far as I'm concerned, is that any legal adult Americna citzen should be allowed the same contractual bondage to another legal adult Areican citzen. This sets aside my opinions on what marriage means, but then that means very little when I address the government.

My problem is that gay-marriage advocates are trying to change culture by tweaking the legal rules. If indeed there should be a separation of culture (or religion) and state, then stop trying to change culture by browbeating the state.

If gays want the same rights as married hetero's, fine. But stop whining that the legally equivalent term 'civil unions' does not accord the same 'prestige' as 'marriage'.

Folks are trying to use law to affect cultural change. That's jacked. If gay activists were just trying to gain equal legal rights, I would be in favor of it.
5.2.2007 8:23pm
rc:
Okay, I just misspelled 'American' twice. Everyone laugh. Preview? For sissies!
5.2.2007 8:26pm
rc:
ReVonna LaSchatze: "Those legal papers cost $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$"

Surely you whine and exaggerate. Despite my complete ignorance I ask, what do these submissions cost, relative to a marriage license?
5.2.2007 8:28pm
ThomasL (mail):
Ah, yes: the Oregon voters said no to "gay marriage" but they didn't say no to "gay smarriage", which is what we'll call it. I'm sure that the Oregon courts won't have any problem with it, but that doesn't make it right.
5.2.2007 8:30pm
rc:
ReVonna LaSchatze:"They can buy their way out the the disrespect of second class citizenship."

Are you talking about second class citzenship, or second class cultureship? I have heard proposals to allow gays the exact same legal rights and straights, but called 'civil unions'.

But still the shieking continues, calling this 'second class citzenship'. It's not second class citzenship, it's second class cultureship. Why are you trying to use the government to affect cultural change?
5.2.2007 8:33pm
rc:
ReVonna LaSchatze: "How about, no special rights for anyone? That seems fair to me. The same exact procedures and pricetag for any couple, regardless of sex."

Agreed! Take the government completely out of the business of cultural acceptance.

Only, I don't believe that this will make the 'gay-rights' nazis back off....
5.2.2007 8:39pm
Ramza:

Agreed! Take the government completely out of the business of cultural acceptance.

The government is still is in the middle if it says Marriage for one group and Civil Union for another. Even if they mean the same rights and benefits, it still feels the need to say these two things are different.

Second if the part of DOMA is repelled that allows gay married couples to get federal benefits, then states with civil unions will still not gives those federal benefits to gay couples while states such as Massachusetts which has no distinction between gay couples and straight will instantly give them. There will be more legislative changes and battles if that part of DOMA is changed. Of course this will be in the future, and doesn't concern us now for no one is changing DOMA in the next two years.
5.2.2007 8:44pm
Ramza:

Only, I don't believe that this will make the 'gay-rights' nazis back off....

Second can both sides please avoid words such as gay right nazis and such. These words aren't necessary for descriptive purposes and only seek to inflame one side by painting caricatures of a person's position.
5.2.2007 8:45pm
Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
What I find interesting is the idea that "civil unions" are somehow an adequate remedy for gay couples even if they convey the same rights and responsibilities within a given state. They are not because of remaining issues concerning their legal effect outside a state. For example:
1) Federal Income Tax.
2) Ability to file an immediate relative immigration petition on behalf of the "spouse" of a U.S. citizen, or a immigration petition on behalf of the "spouse" of a lawful permanent resident.
3) Full faith and credit.
5.2.2007 8:53pm
rc:
Ramza- sorry about the 'nazis' word. Too loaded.

ReVonna LaSchatze: "Civil rights are always scary for some."

Yet civil priveliges are considered an entitlement by many. Tell me, with gay couples (an arraingement not accepted by the majority of civilizations since the dawn of the human race), why should they autmoatically get a membership into the marriage club?

Despite modern challenges, why should gay marriage be treated culturally the same as ideal hetero marriage? Folks spout theories, but while hetero marriage has been supported through gobs of cultures throughout time, gay marriage doesn't have a leg to stand on.

I understand the civil-rights argument, and I think it's strong, but does gay marriage have a cultural leg to stand on?

This is the question to ponder before whining about gay couples as 'second class citzens.' Legaly, they should be the same, but culturally, what are you trying to do? Legislate cultural change? That's jacked.
5.2.2007 8:54pm
Ramza:
Note as I have said before, I can care less if ultimately the US settles on the word Civil Union or Marriage. Just as long as the union is treated the same for all state and federal purposes. What a private institution does (with a few exceptions such as hospital visitation rights) does not concern me, people should have the freedom to be complete bigots and assholes no matter how much it angers me.

Yes a private company should have the right to give health insurance to a married couple and not a civil union couple. No matter how evil and bigoted this is. The government on the other hand should not engage in discrimination.
5.2.2007 8:59pm
Ella (www):
RC -

First, DOMA prevents homosexuals who enter into civil unions, domestic partnerships, and (in Mass.) marriage from enjoying all the right and obligations of marriage, whatever name a state chooses to give the union. This is the problem most SSM advocates have. A few of the federal privileges include the right to social security and pension survivor benefits for homosexual partners, family medical leave, and benefits for government employees. Then there's that pesky little problem of other states not recognizing the relationship, so that if one member of the partnership gets hurt out of state the other member faces a battle at the hospital, or if they move out of state they lose all the mutual legal rights and benefits that they intended to build into their relationship.

Second, you and many others focus so much on SSM advocates "whining" for rights that you forget that they are also "whining" to assume the duties and obligations that marriage entails. Marriage confers privileges in exchange for the couple assuming certain legal duties. A few of these duties include property division in the even of divorce or separation, spousal support, and consideration of both partners' assets when applying for Medicaid nursing home benefits. Clamoring to assume all these responsibilities and headaches is not something I usually associate with "whining."
5.2.2007 9:01pm
rc:
Charles Chapman: "What I find interesting is the idea that "civil unions" are somehow an adequate remedy for gay couples..."

What you don't acknowledge is that the gay rights agenda will not be satisfied until the issue reaches cultural acceptance. You can comprimise and give gay marriage legal equivalence: you can make gay marriage and straight marriage completely parallel... but that won't be enough.

The gay lobby will not be satisfied until it is legislated that gay marriage is the moral equivalent to straight marriage. Am I the only one who has a problem with that?
5.2.2007 9:01pm
Ramza:

The gay lobby will not be satisfied until it is legislated that gay marriage is the moral equivalent to straight marriage. Am I the only one who has a problem with that?

Some yes, the people for gay rights are very pluralistic and have different motives and reasons for what they want. Just like the anti-same sex marriage group/anti gay rights is also very pluralistic in their reasons to resist change or to undue it.
5.2.2007 9:08pm
rc:
Ella- 'Clamoring to assume all these responsibilities and headaches is not something I usually associate with "whining."'

Normally, I would agree, but whiners have a way of shooting for the priveleges, and not the responsibilities. Example: does the gay lobby fight for fidelity as much as it does gay rights? Demographics indicating the high number of gay folks' partners per year vs the number of straight folks' partners would say no. That's a loaded statistic, but still.

This argument is all about rights, and not about responsibillities.

My feeling: I think the govt should get out of the marriage business and into the civil union business, for everyone. But of course, this won't be enough for the gay marriage activists. They won't rest until it's a law that our culture accepts gay marriage.

Problem?
5.2.2007 9:10pm
Ramza:

My feeling: I think the govt should get out of the marriage business and into the civil union business, for everyone. But of course, this won't be enough for the gay marriage activists. They won't rest until it's a law that our culture accepts gay marriage.

Problem?

And this won't work for a large amount of the far right. Can you just image what tirade James Dobson would throw if everybody is now civil partnered in the eye of the law even if the only difference is a word, they are still as much married as they were before the law changed.

Politics is pluralistic, not all groups of people think with the same "mind"
5.2.2007 9:17pm
Ella (www):
RC

I obviously can't speak for all SSM advocates, but the gay couples I know understand that marriage entails responsibilities and legal duties. When they advocate for the right to marry, they know that they are advocating for the right to assume both the benefits and the costs.

I don't think most of the SSM lobby would care if the government started calling everything we now call a marriage a civil union - they want equal rights and equal LEGAL recognition. Many also want equal cultural acceptance, but almost all realize that this is not something the government can grant.
5.2.2007 9:21pm
Perseus (mail):
[Eugene Volokh, April 9, 2007 at 12:19pm] Trackbacks
Deleted Comments:

As I noted a couple of months ago, I've been trying to block a commenter who goes by the unlikely name of ReVonna LaSchatze; the commenter has personally insulted other commenters, and in a vulgar way. Unfortunately, LaSchatze's posts come from different IP addresses, and don't use a fixed comment account that I can block. (To make things convenient for commenters, I don't require people to set up comment accounts, though I may have to change that.)

My solution to the problem has been to delete LaSchatze's comments; this kept LaSchatze away for a couple of months, but now this unpleasant person is back, commenting up a storm. I have therefore deleted LaSchatze's recent comments, but this has at times either required me to delete or edit other comments that respond to LaSchatze, or has led some of those comments to be hard to understand. I'd rather avoid either result, because those responses come from valued commenters and took some time for them to post. So the request: Please don't respond to LaSchatze's comments.
5.2.2007 9:21pm
Randy R. (mail):
And so what? Even if what you are saying is true, what's the problem? If you don't want to attend a gay wedding, then don't. If you don't want to refer to a gay man's husband as a husband, but prefer partner, then so what?

Furthermore, gay people can have all sorts of papers drawn up. IN fact, in a case in Maryland, there was a gay couple that had all the papers drawn up. Then one partner died, and according to the papers, the partner had him buried in a cemetary in MD. The dead partner's parents didn't like this, so they challenged the papers and have lost in every court. Still, the living partner is now bankrupt from the legal fees, and it's still on appeal by the parents. If they had been legally married, the case would have been thrown out of court at minimal expense.

You can have all the papers you want, but if a partner goes into the hospital, they can still deny you visitation as you are not married. Sure, you can have the papers, but do you carry them with you at all times just in case you get into a car accident? Probably not. or the hospital can say that they have to wait until their attorney reviews the papers and judges them as adequate. What if you got an incompetent lawyer? What if you lost the papers? So many things can go wrong. it's simpler to just say, we are married and be done with it.

But I understand that none of these arguments will persuade you, RC. How do I know that? Because you raised an argument of animus: the old gays are so promiscuous so they don't deserve marriage rights. Of course, I can say that there are plenty of heteros who are promiscuous, such as Newt Gingrich and Rudy Guiliani, who actually cheated on their wives, but you will dismiss that as not important. Or I can say that studies have shown that lesbians exhibit far more fidelity in their partnerships that most hetero couples, but you will dismiss that. Nope -- it all means nothing because gay men are having too much sex, and that in your mind disqualifies them for any rights in our society.

What I suggest to you is that you not concern yourself with how much or how little sex everyone else is getting, and then perhaps the issues wiill become a little more clear to you.
5.2.2007 9:28pm
Randy R. (mail):
rc:"This argument is all about rights, and not about responsibillities. "

No, that is not at all true. In fact, the Oregon legislature specifically stated that they are granting the same rights AND responsibilities, especially when it comes to child support and the like. Is there a problem with that?

Finally, RC, you must understand that there are currently tens of thousands of gay couples who are raising children, and these children do not have the benefits of being raised by a married couple. This affects them if one partner dies or leaves, specifically because of child support issues, social security issues, and adoption issues. Why would you want to punish those children just because they're parents happen to be gay and not permitted to marry?
5.2.2007 9:32pm
Jeremy T:
Gay couples raising children shouldn't have any benefits because they shouldn't be raising children.

The children of gay couples should be taken from them, as gays are unfit parents.
5.2.2007 9:38pm
About to be a Groom (mail):

Surely you whine and exaggerate. Despite my complete ignorance I ask, what do these submissions cost, relative to a marriage license?


I bought a marriage license today--in expensive New York City--for $35. The reasonably priced attorney who is doing my pre-nup charges between seven and ten times that per hour. She happens, coincidentally, to have a practice in alternative family arrangements, so I'll ask her about what it would cost to have her set up marriage lite and get back to all of you. I suspect the ratio will be at least fifty to one.
5.2.2007 9:46pm
John Wilkinson:
rc writes:


This argument is all about rights, and not about responsibilities.


For an example of a marriage organization that explicitly and repeatedly links rights and responsibilities, see the Legal Marriage Alliance of Washington site.

For example:

On the "Why Marriage" page, the words "commitment" and "responsibility" are peppered throughout the page.

On the "Marriage Is . . ." page there is a section giving examples of the responsibilities that married couples shoulder, such as:

• Commitment to remain married;
• Voluntary assumption of mutual financial responsibilities that might otherwise be carried by government;
• Support following divorce;
• Child support and parental responsibilities.

The organization has a study of Washington state marriage-triggered laws that shows that about one-third of such statutes impose burdens and responsibilities on married couples.
5.2.2007 9:48pm
Mark Field (mail):

Should they attempt to overrule the legislature in the courts now, how will they be able to ever make that argument with a straight face again?


They can't make it with a straight (pardon the pun) face now.
5.2.2007 9:53pm
Randy R. (mail):
Jeremy T: "The children of gay couples should be taken from them, as gays are unfit parents."

And given to you, I presume.
5.2.2007 10:02pm
Perseus (mail):
you must understand that there are currently tens of thousands of gay couples who are raising children, and these children do not have the benefits of being raised by a married couple. This affects them if one partner dies or leaves, specifically because of child support issues, social security issues, and adoption issues. Why would you want to punish those children just because they're parents happen to be gay and not permitted to marry?

Knowing this very possibility, why do gay couples deliberately choose to raise children in the first place and "punish" those children by putting them at such risk? Legally, it is the equivalent of deliberately choosing to be a single parent.
5.2.2007 10:06pm
Randy R. (mail):
With ten states granting some sort of substantive rights to gay couples, that pretty much kills and hopes for the anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment.

Even if it were to pass both houses of congress in the future, they would then need to secure the approval of 37 states to amend the US constitution. If ten states are already granting civil unions or marriage rights, presumably they are very unlikely to pass an FMA, which means that the anti-gay crowd would need to woo virtuallly every remaining state in order to get it passed, with only a very slim margin of three states. So it's highly unlikely they would reach their goal. And of course, with each passing year, it will be harder and harder, as acceptance of SSM has grown quite a bit over the last ten years.

Thank goodness for that!
5.2.2007 10:08pm
Rick Wilcox (www):
By the by, rc:
Per Wikipedia, only eleven states and the District of Columbia grant common-law marriages. Twenty-six states used to grant common-law marriage, but no longer do so. The remaining thirteen states never granted common-law marriage. Of note is that Oregon is one of the states that never granted common-law marriage.

Of course, there's still the difference in that a common-law marriage granted in one state is still considered a marriage when one moves to another state, even to those that never granted common-law marriage. Not so for same-sex marriage. Then again, I'm all for abolishing the term "marriage" for the legal entity, since it carries loaded (and ostensibly religious) interpretation. Call them all "spousal contracts", restrict them to consenting (or parental-consent-able) humans, make them all the same. Then we don't have the "separate but equal" argument, nor do we have the "sacred institution of marriage" argument.

"Hatchet, axe, and saw" indeed.
5.2.2007 10:13pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Knowing this very possibility, why do gay couples deliberately choose to raise children in the first place and "punish" those children by putting them at such risk? Legally, it is the equivalent of deliberately choosing to be a single parent."

Well, I guess for the same reasons heterosexual parents want to raise children. I'll leave it to others who have children to say why they choose to do so, but I suspect their reasons are as valid and various as any hetero person.
And why you consider it punishment when a gay couple takes a child out of foster care and raises it in a loving family? A recent study of foster care children said that most children would prefer to be raised by gay parents than remain in foster care.
My sister (who is straight) adopted a five year old girl from Russia, and believe me, any child there would much prefer to be in a home of parents, whether they are gay or straight, then remain in an orphanage. I would hope that you think have as much concern for the children as that.
5.2.2007 10:13pm
Aleks:
Re: If you are gay, why not just sign a few papers?

Because a contract between two people is not binding on third parties. Whereas marriage (or legal civil unions) are. For example, insurance companies are not required to recognize a contract between two people pledging to share their benefits with each other. But if the pair are married (or legally unionized) the insurance company must provide those benefits if it offers them to anyone at all.
And let's not forget there are some substantial tax issues here to. I am getting dunned by the IRS for every last dime of the money that is paid for my domestic partner's health insurance under my policy-- not just what I pay, but what my employer kicks in as well. That's just plain wrong.

Re: Virgina has a law that purposefully prevents such contracts for the legislatures feel things such as power of attorney and all that is thing that should be only allowed for a marriage.

I very much doubt Virginia has limited Power of Attorney to spouses only. If the state had, businesses would be fleeing the state en masse as normal business operations would become impossible under such a restriction. Power of attorney has never been limited to spouses or relatives only and could not by any stretch of anyone's imagination be classed as a "spousal benefit".

Re: They [civil unions] are not because of remaining issues concerning their legal effect outside a state.

But the same problem exists with marriage. After all, the federal government does not recognize the full-fledged same sex marriages that exist in MA either.

Re: Demographics indicating the high number of gay folks' partners per year vs the number of straight folks' partners would say no.

These so-called statistics compare apples to oranges. Since gay marriage exists only in MA (and just since 2003), I don't think you can compare gay and straight relationships because they take place in different legal and cultural millieus.
5.2.2007 11:02pm
Justin (mail):
"The gay lobby will not be satisfied until it is legislated that gay marriage is the moral equivalent to straight marriage. Am I the only one who has a problem with that?"

"gay lobby" and other euphamisms aside, no, you are not the only person who has a problem with it. Unfortunately. But one day you will hopefully have the some numbers of the people who still have a problem with granting minorities the "moral equivalent" of citizenship.
5.3.2007 12:16am
Mark F. (mail):
Here's my take on the Oregon situation. Oregon voters outlawed gay marriage in a statewide initiative. The state legislature does an end run around voter's intentions by passing a gay marriage bill, but doesn't call gay marriage gay marriage. (But these civil unions are de facto legally identical to heterosexual marriage. )

I don't get how the legislature can legally get away with this. It's as if the voters outlawed "intoxicating beverages, " but the legislature decided the next day to legalize "alcoholic beverages." Would a court uphold that?

BTW, I am strongly for gay marriage, but this a shameless end run around Oregon law, which states that the voters at large can always overrule the legislature unless they violate the Constitution by so doing.

Oregon courts should void the law and the legislature should put "civil unions" to the voters. Once the voters approve civil unions, then the anti-gay conservatives should admit they lost fair and square.
5.3.2007 1:24am
Hewart:
Agreed, Justin.

The law can't legislate cultural acceptance of gay unions, miscegenation or women and minorities voting. But it can certainly provide for the equal protection that makes those things legal.

"Cultural acceptance" is certainly something that many gays would like to see, but the law will never change a bigot's heart.
5.3.2007 1:24am
Daniel950:
"Here, grant identical legal rights, and then see if your fears are justified regarding the same push for cultural changes. (Are you thinking they will try to force cultural change in the churches and private religious institutions?)"


Catholic charities may soon be put out of the adoption business. Adoption agencies require a license from the state, and Massachusetts and other says will refuse to license Catholic charities that have a religious stance against servicing an adoption of a child to a gay person or couple. Hence, in order to avoid compromising their religious beliefs, Catholic charities will no longer provide adoption services. It should be noted that they are amongst the largest providers of adoption services in Massachusetts.

Do you know what else is licensed by the state? The ability to provide a marriage. Will the state make it illegal for Catholic priests to perform marriage ceremonies, since the Church won't provide them for gays?

Back to the catacombs, apparently. What was all this garbage about legal rights and cultural change?
5.3.2007 1:27am
Elais:
Daniel950

Why should religious groups be exempt from the law? There are certainly religious adoption agencies that are more than happy to arrange adoptions for gay couples because it DOESN'T conflict with their religious beliefs.

Sounds like more Catholic whining about being 'victimized'
5.3.2007 1:47am
Randy R. (mail):
"Will the state make it illegal for Catholic priests to perform marriage ceremonies, since the Church won't provide them for gays? "

No. The state merely allows gay marriage, but can't force any institution to perform. You can form a church that refuses to perform interracial or interfaith marriages, and the state can't force you to perform them. Your argument is a straw man, as no one has suggested such a thing.

"Catholic charities may soon be put out of the adoption business. Adoption agencies require a license from the state, and Massachusetts and other says will refuse to license Catholic charities that have a religious stance against servicing an adoption of a child to a gay person or couple."

Nope. Catholic Charities in Massachusetts, until recently, had no problem compromising their religious beliefs by placing adoptive children into the homes of gay parents. Only after gay marriage became legal there did they suddenly decide that they can no longer do that. (They didn't really explain their reversal). The state merely said that they cannot discriminate against gay couples and recieve state aid at the same time. Catholic Charities could still do adoptions without state aid, but they refused to do so, and so voted to stop all adoptions. No one forced them to do that.

Mark F.: (But these civil unions are de facto legally identical to heterosexual marriage. )

Wrong. Gay marriages are subject to DOMA, and are not recognized at the federal level at all, whereas heterosexuals marriages are.

Part of this whole argument, had you been following such on these boards, is that there is a large swath of public opinion that is in favor of granting gays all the rights and responsibilies of marriage, but they don't like having gays 'married.' The word itself is the contention, not it's legal meaning. They say that the word marriage is all bound up in history, tradition, religion and so on, and is exclusive to heteros.

And that is, of course, correct. Imagine this: A hetero couple may be married or civil unionized, both of which grant the exact same rights and responsibilites. But only a married couple can be called married, with the right to say husband and wife, and the civil unionized couples can only claim to be partners.

If you have a problem with that, I suggest you contact the anti-gay marriage people, because they are the opposed to gay marriage, but often support civil unions. They can probably explain the difference better than I can.

"What was all this garbage about legal rights and cultural change?"

Well, Daniel, it was about treating gays and lesbians with dignity, and recognizing their relationships as we recognize yours. Too bad you can't.
5.3.2007 1:53am
rc:
Rick Wilcox: "Then again, I'm all for abolishing the term "marriage" for the legal entity, since it carries loaded (and ostensibly religious) interpretation."

Interesting, then, that the gay lobby demands the recognition and the word 'marriage' from the government. It's like you say, marriage has a loaded and religious connotation, so why do folks demand its banner by judicial fiat?

Bottom line, the gay lobby is trying to influence culture and religion through the courts. (Thats why Christians and conservatives should really favor the separation of church and state.) And that's why screeching opponents of the religious right are hypocrites when they demand court-sanctioned respect for the institution of gay 'marriage'.

As far as Uncle Sam is concerned, we should have civil unions for all. And then, if gay couples still want to whine about not getting cultural respect, they can deal with that in the cultural forum.

Aleks: "For example, insurance companies are not required to recognize a contract between two people pledging to share their benefits with each other." And what should insurance companies be 'required' to recognise in the first place? Just because marriage has a long and storied history over thousands of years and dozens of traditions does not necessarily mean gays can just jump in and claim to be part of the pack.

Stone cold demographics can demonstate that gay couples are different than hindu married couples, christian married couples, atheist married couples, muslim married couples, etc. There's something fundamentally different. Because we live in America, I think gay couples should still be able to have a civil union. But automatically trying to glom on to all the tradition and history of 'marriage', and claiming it as a civil right goes way over the edge.

Justin has a prblem with "people who still have a problem with granting minorities the "moral equivalent" of citizenship." That, of course, is crap. Gay citizens have the same rights as straight citizens. Just because the state does not sanction gay marriage and our culture does not hail it as part of the tradition to which it has never belonged... that's not the same as being immoral, and that's not the same as denying citizenship.

Can any gay marriage pundit advocate civil unions without going over the edge? I can say with experience that many religious folk do not fear gay marriage in terms of governmental civil rights, but they do resent the issue's role as a proxy to weasel a cultural change.
5.3.2007 1:56am
Ella (www):
Daniel

Enough with the persecution complex. First, Catholic Charities not only took the state's license - they took the state's money. The antidiscrimination laws apply either way, but stop making it seem like the state law interfered with a Catholic organization's private actions.

Second, clergy do not now and will not in the future have to marry couples that don't conform to their religion's rules. Catholic clergy, for instance, can and do refuse to marry non-Catholic couples, divorced individuals, and (in at least one diocese) pregnant women.

Third, clergy aren't licensed by the stateto perform marriages, at least in the three states I'm familiar with. One requires ordained clergy to present their credentials to the county probate judge, but that's it.

Finally, even if the law undergoes a radical change and the free exercise clause is repealed, all that would happen is that the ceremony provided by a noncompliant clergyman would not constitute a LEGAL marriage. Churches can and do perform purely religious marriage ceremonies that don't have legal effect, most often when a couple has been married civilly and wants to have a religious ceremony.

"Back to the catacombs". Spare us.
5.3.2007 2:06am
Ramza:

Catholic charities may soon be put out of the adoption business. Adoption agencies require a license from the state, and Massachusetts and other says will refuse to license Catholic charities that have a religious stance against servicing an adoption of a child to a gay person or couple. Hence, in order to avoid compromising their religious beliefs, Catholic charities will no longer provide adoption services. It should be noted that they are amongst the largest providers of adoption services in Massachusetts.

Do you know what else is licensed by the state? The ability to provide a marriage. Will the state make it illegal for Catholic priests to perform marriage ceremonies, since the Church won't provide them for gays?

Back to the catacombs, apparently. What was all this garbage about legal rights and cultural change?

This is because the state of Massachusetts actually pays the Church to provide this service. State law says you aren't allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and still recieve state funds. It is similar to race, a contracting company can't be racially discriminating and still expect to get state funds to build highways.

The state doesn't pay churches to marry people, thus there is no threat that the state will force churches to marry people.

Link 1 about the Catholic Decision to stop doing adoptions in Mass.

Link 2 about the event
5.3.2007 2:08am
Randy R. (mail):
Thank you, rc, for explaining to Daniel the difference between civil unions and marriage, and why it's so important to you to keep them distinct and separate.

RC:" And that's why screeching opponents of the religious right are hypocrites when they demand court-sanctioned respect for the institution of gay 'marriage'.

I don't see how they are hypocrites. Opponents of the religious right (I claim myself as one) are asking for the STATE to recognize gay marriage, not any religion. I frankly don't care about any religion at all, and we don't need any religion to be married.

Which, of course, is why many libertarians have stated that the state should get out of the marriage business altogether. All people should be merely civil unionized, as sanctioned by the state, and marriage would be left to religions. I think that's an excellent, though pie-in-sky, solution, dont' you?
5.3.2007 2:34am
Randy R. (mail):
rc: "But automatically trying to glom on to all the tradition and history of 'marriage', and claiming it as a civil right goes way over the edge."

Interesting thought. (Hey, it's late and I still don't feel like going to bed, hence all these postings from me!). In Canada, Spain, and Massachusetts, gays now have marriage as a matter of right. I guess that means that they have 'gone way over the edge' in these jurisdictions.

My question: What does it mean to 'go way over the edge"? I've noticed that people in Canada and Mass still get up to go to work in the morning, birds still sing, the tvs sets are working fine -- what is different in those places that you find so awful? And how does that affect you? Have you divorced your wife because gays can get married? Has your son or daughter told you that now that gays can get married in Canada, well, marriage is no longer in the cards for them? Or were you invited to a gay wedding and you didn't know what sort of gift to bring?
5.3.2007 2:40am
Informant (mail):
"Should they attempt to overrule the legislature in the courts now, how will they be able to ever make that argument with a straight face again?"

They'll complain that "activist legislators" need to be reined in by "strict constructionist judges".
5.3.2007 3:10am
Daniel950:
Randy, Ella, Ramza,

Regardless of whether Catholic charities was paid by the state, the decision to end adoptions there had nothing to do with financing or being tied to state coffers. It had to do with the fact that a licensed adoption agency could not "discriminate", and there was no exemption for religious organizations that were licensed to perform the services. It would be like a licensed psychiatrist refusing to service gay clients in the face of a state law requiring no "discrimination" against gay psychological patients.

But prove me wrong if you can about the state payments, if they exited, being the issue. They were not like a contracting company with the state. They were like licensed medical professionals, or licensed barbers, or licensed plumbers, etc. I followed the story closely, re-read the links Ramza provided, and found no evidence that state payments existed or had anything to do with the issue. The issue was an "anti-discrimination" law that had no exemption for religious organizations that had an adoption license. They were NOT ALLOWED to continue to provide adoption services, even without state aid, in the face of that "anti-discrimination" law.

The important point is proponents of gay marriage made the argument, "How does gay marriage affect your rights? This is about providing the same rights that you currently have, it won't affect you at all, blah blah." Only then we learn out that Catholic charities can't provide adoptions. Gee, it looks as if our rights ARE affected after all! What ELSE is next? Catholic schools being shut down because they don't adhere to state educational standards about homosexuality? Catholic students being denied college loans or other student aid if they attend Catholic colleges? Catholic law schools denied accreditation by the ABA, with approval from the Education Department?
5.3.2007 3:16am
Ramza:
There license was not revoked.

Since you were blind to reading the links, here are the relevant paragraphs.

The social services arm of the Roman Catholic archdiocese has provided adoption services for the state for about two decades, but said it would discontinue once it completes its current state contract. It said that the state law allowing gays to adopt runs counter to church teachings on homosexuality.
...
Catholic Charities has been involved in adoptions for about a century, but has had a contract with the state Department of Social Services to provide special needs adoption services to children with severe emotional and physical needs since 1977. The contract expires June 30.
5.3.2007 3:34am
Perseus (mail):
My point was simply to turn around the question posed to the opponents of SSM, "Why would you want to punish those children?" If children of same-sex couples are punished because their parents cannot obtain the benefits of legal marriage, then it is same-sex couples who are in effect punishing their children when they deliberately choose to raise children without being legally married.
5.3.2007 5:55am
Smallholder (mail) (www):
IANAL.

If Oregon has alowed civil unions granting the same rights as marriage, could a person get a civil union and then sue the state to recognize it as a marriage under Brown v. Board's precedent that "seperate is inherently unequal?"

Secondly, regardless of how people feel about gay marriage on its own merits, will Virginia's constitutional amendment about refusing to accept marriage contracts in another state survive a "full faith and credit" challenge?
5.3.2007 9:16am
Randy R. (mail):
Daniel: "Only then we learn out that Catholic charities can't provide adoptions. Gee, it looks as if our rights ARE affected after all! "

Not at all. AGain, CC had no problem placing children in the homes of gay parents until recently, so this isn't really about gays, but about politics in the church.

Secondly, Massachusetts is merely saying that when it comes to adoptions, no adoption agency can discriminate, whether it be on race, sexual orientation, religion, and so on. ARe you saying that by prohibiting discrimination based on race and religion, you're rights are also affected? No -- You're rights are not affected one bit. You may still adopt a child or not as you choose.

"What ELSE is next? Catholic schools being shut down because they don't adhere to state educational standards about homosexuality? Catholic students being denied college loans or other student aid if they attend Catholic colleges? Catholic law schools denied accreditation by the ABA, with approval from the Education Department?"

Talk about whining! All bills about teaching and schools specifically exempt religious organizations. But obviously you have a persercution complex regarding catholics. Perhaps if the catholic church wasn't so hellbent on being so anti-gay (despite the fact that so many priests and bishops are themselves gay), the church would have a bit more credibility. But that's an issue for another day.

Look, Daniel, it is clear that you dislike gays and that you don't want us to have any rights at all, because you want the catholic church to continue to discriminate against us, tell lies about us, marginlize us, and keep the populace in fear of us, all for no reason at all. Except maybe to make you feel good about yourself. The church has obviously done a good job with you.


But that's your problem, not mine. My only concern is to have the same rights as yourself -- the ability to marry the person I love, the ability to adopt children as you can, serve in the military as you can, the ability to hold a job based on my qualification and not sexual orientation, and so on. And fortunatley, most Americans agree with me and have the maturity to treat me as a human being like any other person. In fact, it's sorta the Christian thing to do.
5.3.2007 11:07am
inahandbasket:


"...I think some of the wealthier ones in more progressive communities might be willing to accept inequality when their personal needs are met. They can buy their way out the the disrespect of second class citizenship."

Can we say, 'Mary Cheney'"?
5.3.2007 11:08am
Daniel950:
"Talk about whining! All bills about teaching and schools specifically exempt religious organizations."

Gee, that's a real comfort. They current exempt religious organizations. The adoption bill specifically did NOT exempt religious organizations. I have no doubt those exemptions will be removed in time. Are you saying you want those exemptions to stay? Would you have argued for an exemption in the adoption case?

"it is clear that you dislike gays and that you don't want us to have any rights at all, because you want the catholic church to continue to discriminate against us, tell lies about us, marginlize us, and keep the populace in fear of us, all for no reason at all.... most Americans agree with me and have the maturity to treat me as a human being like any other person"

Oh please. First, since you're a fan of religious exemptions, you should have no problem with Catholic "discrimination" against homosexuals. Secondly, your implication that I don't like gays as people is flatly ridiculous. Homosexual activity is intrinsically disordered, but people tempted by it have to suffer through it just like anyone else with a burden on them. If you think my concern over so-called homosexual rights and homosexual "marriage" is "fear" instead of a legitimite concern over the erosion of social values and specific religious rights, you don't understand my position at all. As for maturity and treating you as a human being - have we not been engaged in a debate, without personal insults? I haven't said anything remotely like "gays aren't human" or that "gays should have no rights." You, however, seem clear on projecting some of your own biases onto me. Whatever. Just realize that declaring your opponent evil and then running away from the issue doesn't mean you've made a reasonable point at all.
5.3.2007 11:59am
Ella (www):
Daniel - I suppose declaring your opponent "intrinsically disordered" does mean you've made a reasonable point?
5.3.2007 12:06pm
abb3w:
It reminds me of the old Catholic joke: "You were born a cow, you were raised a cow, but now you are a fish." (There's a variant collected in this book, page 107; I recommend it.)
5.3.2007 12:48pm
Daniel950:
Ella,

Read carefully. I did no such thing. Homosexual ACTIVITY is intrinsically disordered. People tempted by homosexuality aren't any better or worse than anyone else who has to deal with their temptations. I was trying to make the point that just because the activity is seen as wrong by many doesn't mean that people who are tempted to do it are also seen as bad people.
5.3.2007 12:56pm
Ella (www):
Daniel - How is "homosexual activity is intrinsically disordered" a more reasonable statement that "homosexuals are intrinsically disordered" or (as the pope has declared) "homosexual orientation is intrinsically disordered"? You're entitled to believe whatever you want, but you're not entitled to have that belief treated as fact, or even as a reasonable belief.
5.3.2007 1:09pm
Chairm:
--> "Many of the rights, benefits and responsibilities that the families of married couples take for granted cannot be obtained in any way other than through state recognition of committed same-sex partnerships.'

That does not justify a new legal relationship status for the nonmarital alternatives.

Besides, designated beneficiaries already exists without a relationship status.

--> "All Oregon families should be provided with the opportunity to obtain necessary legal protections and status and the ability to achieve their fullest potential."

Who is prohibited from this new relationship status? Which same-sex combo is prohibited? Does this status create the direct child-parent relationship that would otherwise depend on parental relinquishment or loss -- as per adoption?

--> "thereby ensuring more equal treatment of gays and lesbians and their families

What does "more equal" mean? This is mush fed to the feed the SSM campaign.

--> DC: "That makes ten states (plus DC) recognizing and protecting gay families to some extent."

False. All states in the union protect families of this sort to some extent (to a large extent, in fact) -- and almost all do so without merging the one-sexed nonmarital alternative with marriage nor by creating a homosexual relationship status.

Why exclude closely related people? Is this a sexual relationship or does "same-sex" form a category that is asexual? What is the nature of this new relationship status -- i.e. what is its essence?
5.3.2007 1:16pm
Chairm:
--> RC: Common law marriage says that hetero couples gain certain rights just by tolerating one another for a certain amount of time.

There is no stipulated time that applies across common-law precedents. But the basic test is if the community (i.e. the people within the state's jurisdiction) would recognize the couple as married because the couple held themselves out to be married. In Oregon marriage has been affirmed as a both-sexed union. And no common-law marriage is valid if arranged in Oregon.
5.3.2007 1:28pm
Mark F. (mail):
Randy R.:

Wrong. Gay marriages are subject to DOMA, and are not recognized at the federal level at all, whereas heterosexuals marriages are.

Well, I meant that under Oregon state law, civil unions and gay marriages are identical. The state of Oregon can't repeal DOMA.
5.3.2007 1:44pm
Mark F. (mail):
I am aware that a lot of people have a problem with the word marriage for gays. I find it a rather odd debate. Frankly, gay couples should just refer to their partners as their spouses/husbands/wives. The hell with the government.
5.3.2007 1:52pm
Daniel950:
Ella: "homosexual activity is intrinsically disordered" a more reasonable statement that "homosexuals are intrinsically disordered"

Judging an action is different from judging a person. Do you think every parent that harshly corrects their child for a bad action, like say stealing, hates their kid? You need to reflect more on these distinctions, especially if you're tempted in a debate to declare your opponent evil.
5.3.2007 1:58pm
Ella (www):
Daniel - I did not call my opponent evil. I understand the difference between calling someone disordered and calling something they do disordered. I simply asked why you thought your particular statement was reasonable or more reasonable than two other statements. You have not answeed that question.
5.3.2007 2:01pm
rc:
Randy R: "All people should be merely civil unionized, as sanctioned by the state, and marriage would be left to religions."

Agreed.

Randy R: "My question: What does it mean to 'go way over the edge"?"

Using the government to weasel cultural change is 'over the edge.' A good example of this was when legislators in some state proposed that gays get every single right of marriage, but that their contracts would be called 'civil unions'. I don't remember the state or date, but I do remember that the proposal wasn't nearly enough for the gay lobby.

That's because they were after 'the word,' and all its cultural significance. Their objections were worded in the langauge of culture and of 'acceptance,' and avoided the legal reality that the two contracts were congruent. That's how you could tell they were 'over the edge.'

If pro-gay-marriage advocates can understand why gays really really want the word, then they should also understand why some people really really don't want to give it to them.

Grr! Why not just take equal rights and stop trying to legislate my acceptance of a lifestyle?
5.3.2007 2:11pm
rc:
I'm not a fan of the following arguments:
*My friend ran into paperwork issues at the hospital, therefore there should be gay marriage.
*Common law marriage is not recognized in Peurto Rico or in the lobby of the Mauritanian embassy, therefore there should be gay marriage.
*But what about the infield fly rule? Therefore, there should be gay marriage.

There's a strong equal-rights argument for any two adults to be able to make the same contracts as any other two. But there is no legal or constitutional mandate that we must call it one thing, 'marriage', or another thing, 'civil union.'
5.3.2007 2:23pm
Ramza:
Ella the reason Daniel950 is using the term "intrinsically disordered" is because the Vatican also uses that identical phrase in its religious letters giving advice to bishops and priests on the pastoral care of homosexuals. The current pope before he was pope and is just in charge of writing religious dogma uses that phrase in 1986 in this document (Letter To The Bishops Of The Catholic Church On The Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons)

Thus I believe Daniel wasn't trying to slight or demean people with the choice of word, no he was just repeating his moral beliefs for his moral beliefs coincide with his religious beliefs.
5.3.2007 2:25pm
PDXLawyer (mail):
Mark F.: You're wrong that the legislation was an end-run around the Oregon initiative. The initiative passed because a majority of Oregonians objected to attaching the word "marriage" to homosexual relationships. Although many Oregonians also object to civil unions, they are probably a minority. We take our initiatives seriously here - there is a heavy political price for fighting initiatives, and courts (which are much less exposed to the wrath of the electorate) are much more disposed to do it than is the Legislature.

This ties into the point about changing law to influence culture. I think its reasonably clear that law can influence culture, and I see proof of that in the change of cultural attitudes about race in the US in the wake of legal reforms beginning with the integration of the military in the late '40s and ending in the '70s. During that time, most Americans' attidudes about race shifted markedly.

Most Oregonians, like most Americans, believe that there is something unique about monogamous heterosexual marriage - they can't cite caselaw to support this belief, but they still believe it. On the other hand, most homosexuals feel discriminated against - and they're right, being a "sissy" is frowned upon (see above). Here, homosexuals look to the Legislature to say that they're really OK, so that they can then "prove" it to themselves and others by citing The Law (our civic religion). The Legislature has obliged, by telling them how "committed, caring and faithful" they are.

I've never bought the idea that this is "really" about hospital visitation, etc. It is about diginity - who is OK and who isn't.
5.3.2007 2:29pm
Ella (www):
Ramza - I know the origin of the term. I was pointing out the inconsistency between Daniel's criticism of people calling their opponents "evil" as an unreasonable tactic and his own statement a few sentences earlier. My point is that "homosexuals/homosexual behavior/homosexual orientation is intrinsically disordered" is no more reasonable than the statement "my opponent is evil". Further, I was pointing out that it is disingenuous for someone whose whole position is premised on the belief hat homosexuality/homosexual behavior is morally wrong to pretend that he is not engaging in the same tactics that someone who says "anti-SSMers are evil" is engaging in.
5.3.2007 2:37pm
Mark F. (mail):
The initiative passed because a majority of Oregonians objected to attaching the word "marriage" to homosexual relationships.

Maybe, but how does a court know whether it passed for that reason or because people didn't want gays to have some or any of the rights of marriage? A reasonable person could come to either conclusion. Are the courts supposed to ask for opinion polls to be entered as evidence?

If the initiative made it crystal clear that in no way was it to be construed as preventing giving some or all of the benefits of marriage to gay couples, I'd have no problem with the legislature's action. In any case, why not run the clarified issue before voters again just be be certain?
5.3.2007 2:54pm
Ramza:
I disagree Ella, there are some small differences between saying "My Opponents are Evil" and "homosexual actions are intrinsically disordered." One is saying a trait that is inherent about a person, while the other one is critiquing a set of actions. There is a difference but it is a small difference for people often flow from A to B and back to A quite easily. I am now dropping the matter, for while we disagree, it isn't worth arguing anymore. (note this is coming from a former catholic now atheist/agnostic that thinks the Catholic position in this is BS, but whatever)
5.3.2007 3:00pm
Ramza:
Note for the initiative it was done in 2004 and 57% of the people voted for One Man One Woman initiative, 43% against . It was the state in 2004 that had the lowest percentage for it (out of 11 states). A year later this opinion poll was released

Brown and others point to a recent statewide poll that indicated there is more support than opposition among Oregon voters for civil unions.

The survey, conducted by Portland pollster Mike Riley, found that 49 percent of voters support civil unions compared with 30 percent opposed and 21 percent undecided. The poll's margin of error was 4.5 percent.


Link

People were aware of the difference between civil union and marriage in 2004, yet the initiative in Oregon only addressed the marriage argument. To say this goes against the will of the Oregon people is dishonest. Some voters may have wanted to vote for both, some probably didn't, this is why Scalia and such other judges don't like to use legislative history, for the motives, reasonings, and rationals of people in a large decision making body is not universal.
5.3.2007 3:15pm
rc:
ReVonna: "Where is the viable offer though, that won't restrict my freedom to move about the country, won't cost me extra, and will stand up in a court of law?"

For my part, I'm willing to vote for a law the erases the word 'marriage' and replaces it with 'civil unions' to all. I think many people, even many traditionalists, would favor this path. Leave it to the pros to deal with the details. After all, I'm sure that the whining, pro-gay screeching-chorus will provide plenty of motivation to get the beaurocratic kinks worked out.
5.3.2007 5:01pm
Mark F. (mail):
People were aware of the difference between civil union and marriage in 2004, yet the initiative in Oregon only addressed the marriage argument. To say this goes against the will of the Oregon people is dishonest.

I'd say that, absent another vote explicitly legalizing civil unions, you can't know for sure what percentage of the electorate favors them. The issue should be revisited with the voters. Civil unions should pass if the polls are accurate.
5.3.2007 5:05pm
rc:
And what's all this confusion concerning the term "intrinsically disordered"?

Allergies, for example, are a disorder. Does that mean that they are evil?

Many folks think that homosexuality is functional, but not desirable. After all, the gay lobby itself refers to the undesirable condition of homosexuality as part of their argument that homosexuality is ingrained into a person's deepest being.... "No one would -choose- to be gay."

Yet any notion that homosexuality is anything less than a pristine condition of absolute health and wholeness is pilloried as mean, judgemental hate speech.

This is how the pro-gay lobby is able to point to even reasonable and clear-thinking critics and condemn them as 'wrong.' All the language about 'homophobia' is an expression of this. 'Anyone who thinks homosexuality is a disfunctional condition must have a disfunctional condition... and be condemned because of it.'

Pot? Kettle.
5.3.2007 5:24pm
galois (mail) (www):
Mark F,

A bill passed by both houses of the legislature and signed by the governor is presumptively constitutional. The court is going to need strong evidence to show that the civil union law is unconstitutional. Measure 36 which banned the recognition of same-sex marriage is not likely to be enough to declare the civil union law unconstitutional. The amendment says nothing about civil unions. It is quite plausible that the voters of Oregon meant to prohibit marriage, but allow civil unions granting the legal consequences of marriage. Given that reasonable possibility, a court is not going to step-in and overrule the other two branches of government on this issue. It is not necessary for another vote of the populace to explicitly allow civil unions when there was never any vote explicitly disallowing them.

In fact, though, it is more than just plausible that Measure 36 was intended to allow civil unions. Consider the following:

1) Other states had amendments which explicitly prohibited marriage equivalents. The drafters of the initiative were aware of that and chose not to go that route.

2) Other states had passed civil union laws that were equivalent to marriage, while choosing not to allow same-sex marriage. Again the drafters were aware of that, and chose not to prohibit such an action.

3) The drafters of the measure when pushing for its passage explicitly stated that it would not prohibit civil unions such as those in Vermont in Connecticut.

In light of all of this history, the analogy to "intoxicating" vs. "alcoholic" beverages is a weak one, and it is doubtful any court would declare the civil unions bill unconstitutional.
5.3.2007 5:37pm
Ramza:


I'd say that, absent another vote explicitly legalizing civil unions, you can't know for sure what percentage of the electorate favors them. The issue should be revisited with the voters. Civil unions should pass if the polls are accurate.

That is one option, or you can do what the legislature did here, and if the people didn't like it they can vote out the legislature and change the law, do another initiative, etc.

It is dishonest to say the 2004 initiative is also a vote against civil unions, just like it is dishonest to say that it is vote for civil unions for it only affected marriage and since it only affected marriage it must be okay to do civil unions.

If the people don't like it, they can voice their opinions and change it.
5.3.2007 7:17pm
PDXLawyer (mail):
Mark F: These sorts of questions are why I like the Scalia approach to textual interpretation so much. Don't look for a lot of secondary evidence, just *read the text.* It makes for much more predictible law. It also makes it possible for me, as an Oregon voter, to know what I am voting on.

The text of the Oregon initiative defined "marriage" as involving one man and one woman. The legislation respects that definition, so it complies with the initiative.

On your related idea, that there should be a re-vote just to be sure, it is unnecessary. Successful Oregon politicans don't necessarily have the same policy views as voters, but they have a *very* good idea of where their policy views differ from voters'. If they thought the voters would view this as contravening the spirit of the initiative, they never would have passed it.

I write all of this as one who is convinced that the whole thing is simply an effort of gays and lesbians to reassure themselves that they really are OK - that their lifestyle is "right" and those who disapprove of it are "wrong."
5.3.2007 8:50pm
Chairm:
--> "Most Oregonians, like most Americans, believe that there is something unique about monogamous heterosexual marriage - they can't cite caselaw to support this belief, but they still believe it."

Civil Union in Oregon creates a new relationship status based on the category "same-sex" which says nothing about homosexuality nor about "homosexual love" nor about the gay and/or lesbian identity.

So what is the nature of this new relationship status? What justifies creating it and excluding other nonmarital arrangements?

The people of Oregon affirmed marriage as the union of one man and one woman for reasons that have to do with the esteem for the nature of marriage -- its core, its essence. They did not say "We affirm marriage; but we don't affirm all that marriage is." This is not just about the label.

So, here we have an example of the SSM campaign producing a new relaitonship status through legislation, while there is a state affirmation that the one-sexed arrangment (presumptively homosexual?) is not marriage.

When SSMers discuss marriage they go on and on about reauirements the like being definitive. What is the definitive requirement of Civil Union that would show us, with no room for doubt or deconstruction, 1) the nature of the relationship being granted this new status, 2) the purpose of this new status, 3) the rationale for excluding some same-sex combinations, 4) the rationale for excluding other nonmarital arrangemnts.

It appears that Dale Carpenter would imagine some key point is made in his post. Well, here is the opportunity in this thread for the SSMers to affirm the nature, the core, the essence of this relationship type they think this status was designed for.

Maybe, just maybe, from the answers to these basic questions, fundamental to the responsiblity of lawmakers and to those who electe them, we might learn what the precise problem is being solved, if anything is solved.

Its the opportunity that the SSMers can grab and clarify their cause, or they can walk away muttering about how disagreement is on par with racism blah-blah-blah.
5.3.2007 9:30pm
rc:
ReVonna: "We want more. That scare you?"

Scare? I don't know about Chairm, but it -annoys- me.

The reason is that traditional culture is not facing replacement by a logical, superior alternative. Instead, the pro-gay lobby is a self-righteous little cabal of its own. The proof is in the language. This is how I impersonate a pro-gay idealogue: "Anyone who thinks homosexuality is a disfunctional condition must have a disfunctional condition... and they must be condemned because of it."

Progressives and liberals actually have less experience than most in putting aside their moral judgements in favor of blind, fair justice. Gloat about 'bitterness' at your own folly, because I think traditionalists are a lot better prepared to deal with it than progressives.
5.3.2007 10:41pm
rc:
Because in the words of Dark Helmet, "Evil will always triumph, because good is dumb."

It's been fun, but it's time for me to move on.
5.4.2007 12:57pm
F. Rottles (mail):
The challenge to the SSM supporters he still stands unanswered:


Chairm: When SSMers discuss marriage they go on and on about reauirements the like being definitive. What is the definitive requirement of Civil Union that would show us, with no room for doubt or deconstruction, 1) the nature of the relationship being granted this new status, 2) the purpose of this new status, 3) the rationale for excluding some same-sex combinations, 4) the rationale for excluding other nonmarital arrangemnts.

It appears that Dale Carpenter would imagine some key point is made in his post. Well, here is the opportunity in this thread for the SSMers to affirm the nature, the core, the essence of this relationship type they think this status was designed for.


Do your homework and then return to discuss like adults.
5.4.2007 1:43pm
galois (mail) (www):
I don't know what is meant by "the definitive requirement". I can try to explain (1)-(4), although I suspect Chairm will not be satisfied. Still, I will try my best.

1) The nature of the relationship is an exclusive kinship relation. It is a partnership where two people become family with a promise to care for each other through good times and bad.

2) The purpose of the status as expressed in the bill is to promote values of equality and fairness, and to promote stable and lasting families.

3) The reason for the exclusions depends on the exclusion. The following are excluded:
a) couples where one member is under 18 or lacks the capacity to consent, or is forced to consent- I believe the thought is that only an adult has the capacity to responsibly take on these serious obligations, and can only do so voluntarily and with an understanding of the obligations involved.
b) couples where both members reside outside of Oregon -- This is an issue of jurisdiction.
c) couples where one member already has a living spouse or partner -- Without this requirement there would be interference with the exclusive nature of the relationship which goes along with the idea of promoting stable families. One cannot fulfill the obligations to care for the partner the way he or she should if his or her loyalties are divided. In short allowing the new kinship relation to form would interfere with an already existing kinship relation.
d) couples who are too near in kin (first cousin or nearer by blood or closer than first cousin by adoption) -- The thought is that allowing a new kinship relation to form could interfere with already existing kinship relations.

4) The only other non-marital arrangements that are excluded involve opposite-sex couples. I believe the thought here is that as such couples have the status of marriage available, that would be preferable for those couples. (It would avoid complications such as recognition of the status in other jurisdictions).
5.4.2007 4:14pm