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I've Got a Gal (but no health benefits) in Kalamazoo:

After we were told that the various state marriage amendments around the country were just about "protecting" marriage from gay couples, we're starting to see consequences that go well beyond marriage. In Michigan, an appeals court has ruled that the state marriage amendment passed in 2004 forbids public entities from offering even health benefits to same-sex domestic partners. While the case is pending in the Michigan Supreme Court, one city has decided to drop the benefits it previously offered:

The City of Kalamazoo no longer will offer health insurance benefits to the partners of gay workers, becoming Michigan's first public employer to take away such benefits in the wake of a 2004 ban against gay marriage.

Kalamazoo City Manager Kenneth Collard confirmed Monday that the city will eliminate domestic partner benefits for four non-unionized employees effective June 30. He cited a May 23 order from the Michigan Supreme Court.

The high court agreed to hear an appeal of a state Court of Appeals decision blocking same-sex benefits, but it also let the earlier decision take immediate effect.

"We have no authority, as being a creation of the state, to ignore the (Michigan) constitution as defined," Collard told The Associated Press. The affected employees were informed last week and their partners have about a month to get other insurance, Collard said.

Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, said public universities and state and local governments should follow Kalamazoo's lead and "honor the will of the voters." . . .

Up to 20 public universities, community colleges, school districts and local governments in Michigan have same-sex benefits policies. Universities, which employ most of those affected, argue that not being able to offer the benefits will hurt recruitment of faculty and staff.

At least 375 university and government employees in Michigan have partners who qualify for same-sex benefits.

Justin (mail):
This is so sad, and so pathetic. I hope the people behind this pay the political price that the pro-segregation crowd has.....oh, wait....
6.5.2007 10:51am
TSW:
This is entirely predictable, and these sort of "marriage bans" are likely to have unintended, negative consequences all across the country. In Ohio, a similar amendment is being used to challenge the domestic violence convictions of people who beat their live-in girlfriends.
6.5.2007 11:18am
Xmas (mail) (www):
At least it's not Ohio, where there amendment has made domestic violence laws unconstitutional for unmarried couples, gay or straight.
6.5.2007 11:27am
AppSocRes (mail):
Before the Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court conspired with homosexual activists to undemocratically impose same-sex marriage on the citizens of Massachusetts, many states had legislation granting same-sex couples most of the more important benefits of marriage. Most states seemed to be moving in this direction and the benefits provided seemed to be coming into line with those guaranteed to married couples. Then the Supreme Court of Massachusetts moved even more expansively than the Courts of Hawaii and Vermont had. There was a backlash in reaction to the reasonable perception that the courts were in league with homosexual activists to undemocratically impose irrevocable and fundamental changes in social structure. Who's fault is this?
6.5.2007 11:34am
Daniel950:
Cry me a river. I'll perhaps have some sympathy when Catholic charities isn't forced at the barrell of a gun to give up its adoption license.
6.5.2007 11:36am
itshissong:
AppSocRes, by your logic you are in effect saying that the Massachusetts Supreme Court should take into account public opinion in Michigan and Ohio before it makes a controversial ruling. This is ridiculous on its face regardless of whether you agree with their ruling or not.
6.5.2007 11:44am
Sk (mail):
Can't we do something about all these state governments obeying the will of the people?

Sk
6.5.2007 11:45am
Esquire:
Actually, I think AppSocRes makes a very valid point (perhaps on a more abstract level): that the left essentially provoked this backlash, by initially imposing its agenda in the opposite direction (and by judicial fiat, which the right rarely uses). It may be misguided to think a ban on publically-subsidized domestic partnerships is actually necessary to ward off gay marriage, but many do feel that way.

I also agree with Daniel950's point that many seem to have very selective sympathy to individual liberty: the same people who claim a "right" to be subsidized by those who sincerely disagree with them often want to turn around and hypocritically supress/restrict those with whom they disagree...
6.5.2007 11:52am
plunge (mail):
"I'll perhaps have some sympathy when Catholic charities isn't forced at the barrell of a gun to give up its adoption license."

While I certainly feel there should have been some accommodation here, let's be honest: they didn't HAVE to give it up. They gave it up because being anti-gay parentage is more important to them than charity or children, just like building elaborately gold-gilded nunneries was more important to Mother Theresa than actually helping the sick in Calcutta.
6.5.2007 11:52am
Esquire:
"they didn't HAVE to give it up"

Hmm...well, I guess all they'd have to do is revamp their entire theology...but I really don't think that's something the state should be in the business of squeezing religions into doing...
6.5.2007 11:55am
Eli Rabett (www):
You know I heard and still hear the same nonsense about African Americans having provoked something or other by insisting that schools be desegregated. Any you know, I pay about as much attention to it, other than noting that those who repeat it do so with a maximum of ill will, aka prejudice.
6.5.2007 12:06pm
Tom M (mail):
I don't live in the state, so I can't say whether such an outcome was entirely "unintended." I would suspect that many who voted for the admendment intended exactly that outcome (among others).

What is the state's interest in "partner benefits" anyway? I could see the state's interest in benefits for spouses where one works at home with the kids. But what is the point of such benefits for other kinds of partnerships? Isn't it just free money for members of certain favored activist groups?

(PS. Of course I'm aware that not all marriages result in children. So, from first principles, if the state wanted to distinguish between those with and without children, I could see an argument for such a distinction. I wouldn't necessarily vote for it though.)
6.5.2007 12:12pm
Esquire:
Many opponents to gay marriage truly have no ill will whatsoever towards anybody...just a sincere disagreement, and a desire to not take part in something they don't believe in.

It's a clash of worldviews...one side believes homosexuality is wrong, while the other side believs that the belief that it's wrong is what's wrong. There should just "truce," and everybody agree that neither side can impose its view on the other. (NOTE: This means the result in Lawrence is perfectly reconcilable with the Michigan amendment.)
6.5.2007 12:13pm
Esquire:
Doesn't the left often argue that even the slightest state endoresement/promotion of religion violates the rights of taxpayers who don't support that viewpoint? So why can't the right invoke that same kind of argument?

I'm libertarian enough to say that the state should NOT intervene in how consenting adults live (or contract, etc.), but I just don't see this as in that category...
6.5.2007 12:18pm
Henri Le Compte (mail):
Wait a minute... I'm confused (not an entirely unique feeling). Is there something in the Michigan amendment that would specifically forbid the offering of such benefits? Yes, this judge clearly thinks so, but is he correct? The question of "gay marriage" and " benefits for partners" are two entirely distinct issues. The state cannot offer marriage licenses to gay couples, but why couldn't they offer whatever benefit packages they want to?

Is this judge over reacting? Being intentionally punitive? Just plain wrong? Will it be appealed?
6.5.2007 12:19pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
So in addition to protecting marriage, the Marriage Amendment managed to cut bloated government employee benefits as well. A two-fer.

Cutting government employee compensation is something all libertarians can celebrate.
6.5.2007 12:19pm
Esquire:
Because it also covers any "similar union," I think...presumably out of fear that it might lead to redefining marriage down the line...
6.5.2007 12:21pm
JB:
Activist Judges!

Seriously, throwing up your hands and saying "we have no power" when presented with an unconstitutional legislative act that you happen to like is as activist as overturning a constitutional one you don't like. I'm not saying they did in fact have this power, but I wonder what authority they did have to interpret this differently.
6.5.2007 12:26pm
M. Gross (mail):
The root of this problem is the government's involvement in marriage, and their social engineering to encourage such.
6.5.2007 12:32pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Among many other tragic effects, this sort of ruling makes it much more difficult for public employers in states with such retrograde rulings to compete effectively for employees. As the Chair of the Appointments Committee in a public law school in Ohio, I can tell you that a ban on benefits for same-sex partners would put my school at a comparative disadvantage in hiring gays and lesbians with excellent qualifications. Fortunately, our new governor, Ted Strickland, issued an executive order barring such discrimination in state employment. But the problem lurks for others.
6.5.2007 12:33pm
U.Va. 2L:
Fortunately, our new governor, Ted Strickland, issued an executive order barring such discrimination in state employment.

I knew there was a reason I voted for him.
6.5.2007 12:36pm
JosephSlater (mail):
All the way from Virginia?
6.5.2007 12:40pm
Oren (mail):

Many opponents to gay marriage truly have no ill will whatsoever towards anybody...just a sincere disagreement, and a desire to not take part in something they don't believe in.


Because the left truly wants to force straights to enter into gay marriage . . .

Once again, the solution is plain and simple: civil unions for everyone (adopting by reference all the benefits of marriage) and marriage at the convenience of your local priest/rabbi/imam/witch doctor/physicist*. Nobody has to support anything they don't want to support.

*Yes, I have been to a wedding of two atheists that was officiated by a physicist (who happens to be a notary). It was rather amusing.
6.5.2007 12:44pm
Justin (mail):
"(NOTE: This means the result in Lawrence is perfectly reconcilable with the Michigan amendment.)"

Tell that to the four people in Kalamazoo losing their health insurance.

Look, my argument was not that the ban should not be enforced (though I believe it violate the Fourteenth Amendment, I understand that is not the current understanding of the Constitution). But just because something is "the will of the people" doesn't mean that it is normatively correct - or that we shouldn't look with disdain on the people whose hard work and efforts made it the will of the people.

Unfortunately, people like Esquire completely miss the point. We're not trying to regulate people's belief that homosexuality is wrong, though we certainly would like to educate their ignorance. But we are trying to stop, in both public and private setting, people from imposing their beliefs on others, either by criminalizing their conduct, limiting their job and social welfare opportunities, or denying them the equal rights and protections of the law. If esquire lived in Kalamazoo, he would not be forced to believe that he's not superior to gays and lesbians, as wrong as that belief is.

The only substantial consequence of this law is felt by homosexuals themselves, who have tangibly lost their health insurance and have been denied the same benefits that would be given to racists, mysoginists, adulterers, athiests, and all sorts of OTHER "immoral people" that various christian sects oppose.
6.5.2007 12:48pm
jimbino (mail):
I laud the decision. Now, perhaps, gays and their advocates will see the light and join with the singles and childfree in decoupling marriage from all state privileges. As long as gays get partner benefits like the marrieds do, singles are left out in the cold, performing the same work, for example, for less in indirect pay.
6.5.2007 12:49pm
Esquire:
Umm...I just want to again note that Evangelicals, conservative Catholics, and many other religous people who respectfully disagree with homosexuality have ZERO hostility, ill will, disrespect, or feeling of superiority.

Religious conservatives often seem to GET judged a lot more that THEY themselves judge anybody...
6.5.2007 12:54pm
Justin (mail):
Esquire, that's neither true in theory (assuming said christian is heterosexual, it is considered to be less in sin, and therefore morally superior), nor in practice (I've met more than my share of god-fearing Christian who, when they use the f** word, and by god will they use it, are clearly doing so as an epithat).

I have the advantage of having family in the South, and know a crock when I see it.
6.5.2007 12:56pm
JosephSlater (mail):
What does "disagree" with homosexuality mean, and specifically, why should your "disagreement" prevent these folks from getting health benefits? I "disagree" with all sorts of things all sorts of people believe and do, but I wouldn't take their health benefits away because of it.
6.5.2007 12:57pm
Esquire:
Justin, I can't deny that that happens, but I can also say I know a lot of conservative Christians who are easy-going on the whole issue...they're happy just so long as they're not getting attacked for their philosophical disagreement.
6.5.2007 12:58pm
Esquire:
Joseph, I think Michigan voters just wanted the same protection from having the state promote something they don't believe in that the left demands whenever the state endorses the ten commandments, etc.

I'm open to a "neutral" solution...I don't want people to lose health benefits either. Maybe it could be based on singleness, like a +1 for everybody? Might get expensive though. (Remember, the Michigan Appellate court said the benefits were OK if it wasn't tied to the relationship-status.)
6.5.2007 1:03pm
Oren (mail):

Many opponents to gay marriage truly have no ill will whatsoever towards anybody...just a sincere disagreement, and a desire to not take part in something they don't believe in.


This particular quote is actually so damaging that I came back to it (it bugged me). One need not have any ill-will whatsoever in order to have a negative effect on a persecuted minority. Consider for a moment a truly honest individual that opines that he has no ill-will towards blacks but sincere disagreement on racial integration; he does not wish to support (indirectly of course) any government policy that violates this belief. Are we to dismiss his opposition to interracial marriage and integrated schools because he has no ill-will? Why should we force him to send his children to an integrated school? This is clearly a larger imposition than marrying two gays in the same jurisdiction as a homophobe and yet we accept that, no matter how sincerely the belief is held, the desire to send your child to an all-white school cannot be accommodated by the state.

To be clear, I'm not conflating opposition to gay marriage with racism. I only mean to demolish the argument that "I have no ill will towards X" --> "My position does not have the effect of persecuting X". This is especially true in area like racism and homophobia (mishominy?) where people hew to traditions that were born out of persecution and continue to have that effect.


Doesn't the left often argue that even the slightest state endoresement/promotion of religion violates the rights of taxpayers who don't support that viewpoint?


The fundamental precept that the government remain neutral in the sphere of religion is evident from both the text of the constitution (1A) and the context (Europe emerging from centuries of bloody religious conflict). Believe me, it's hard enough being outside the religious mainstream even without government help.
6.5.2007 1:09pm
Toby:
Another reason why *NO ONE* should get their health benefits from their employer. You know wh the 3rd party is? Its the employee.
6.5.2007 1:09pm
Esquire:
Oren, fair enough -- I don't mean to suggest that a lack of ill will is what makes a person's position somehow legitimate on its merits. I agree that those are indeed separarate issues that can/should be treated separately. I only note it, because people sometimes throw around the insinuation that ill will is indeed present, when it (very often, at least) isn't.
6.5.2007 1:14pm
Oren (mail):

Joseph, I think Michigan voters just wanted the same protection from having the state promote something they don't believe in that the left demands whenever the state endorses the ten commandments, etc.


Except that the state has already taken the position that straight unions > gay unions. I'd be perfectly willing to demote straight unions to the same status as gay unions if that's the solution you'd like.


. . . who respectfully disagree with homosexuality have ZERO hostility, ill will, disrespect, or feeling of superiority.


And I'm sure I can dig up at least one racist that truly (without pretext) believe in the equality but separation of the races. The problem is that Christian dogma in the matter was born of hostility to homosexuals and for ~1500 years has been used as a cudgel against them. To adopt the policy while disclaiming the ill-will does gays absolutely no good. On the other hand, you can keep your ill-will if you will agree to a policy of official equality.
6.5.2007 1:14pm
Happyshooter:
This is not unintended. These folks were getting the same bennies as married folks, on the taxpayer tab.

The people of the state of Michigan enacted a provision of the Constitution that they didn't want the .gov treating unmarried folks like they were married.

The court then said to stop giving the married bennies to unmarried folks because it was unconstitutional.
6.5.2007 1:17pm
Esquire:
Actually, just privatizing marriage altogether (for everyone) might be rather fair compromize that I could be open to. Might solve everybody's concern...
6.5.2007 1:18pm
Oren (mail):
Esquire: You conceded the point while I was still arguing it! Perhaps we can find some more middle ground (let's hope!).

I will concede that there are indeed many opponent of gay-rights that have no ill-will. Nevertheless, I contend that by supporting traditional policies and definitions that come from a history of ill-will, they are tacitly approving the historical judgment against gays.

This might be said to be the classical liberal/conservative argument - liberals see the traditional thinking as an obstacle towards their normative goal of orientation equality.
6.5.2007 1:20pm
Happyshooter:
Article 1, Section 25, of the Michigan Constitution:

To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose.

That would seem to be pretty plain:

"...shall be the only agreement recognized...or similar union for any purpose."
6.5.2007 1:21pm
jvarisco (www):
Isn't this one of the goals of banning gay marriage? The point is that same-sex unions, whatever you call them, do not provide the benefits of marriage - they are NOT equal. I don't see why this poses a problem unless one supports gay marriage too.
6.5.2007 1:22pm
whackjobbbb:

Among many other tragic effects, this sort of ruling makes it much more difficult for public employers in states with such retrograde rulings to compete effectively for employees. As the Chair of the Appointments Committee in a public law school in Ohio, I can tell you that a ban on benefits for same-sex partners would put my school at a comparative disadvantage in hiring gays and lesbians with excellent qualifications. Fortunately, our new governor, Ted Strickland, issued an executive order barring such discrimination in state employment. But the problem lurks for others.


Well Slater, speaking as one who voted for the change to Michigan's Constitution last fall, and who listened to the blather about all those valuable and irreplaceable public education types who'd be "left out in the cold", at the University of Michigan for example, all I can say is if you don't like our law... CLEAR OFF.

And take those 4,000 professors on paid "sabbatical" with you, if you can manage to dig them up from whichever vacation spot they're residing.

The People of this state don't sanction marriage between anything other than a man and a woman.<---------PERIOD

Now, if you want to go apply in private industry... have at it. Just check that little box marked "other" on their online application form, and your interview will be scheduled about 15 minutes later. Ford and a few other companies will probably send a limo out to drive you over to their HR office (even as they fire loads of other people these days). You and your domestic partner will have all the benefits you'll ever need, and your promotion track will be well lubed... as it were.

Spare us the poverty rant, please. Go get a job. Get your snout out of the public trough, and you can avoid all these horrible encumbrances that the people of this state so callously place on you. We need to dump at least 100,000 off the state/local public payroll here anyways, and I doubt you'll find the rest of us undergoing this one state depression having much sympathy for those asking for considerations completely apart from our history and tradition (and law).
6.5.2007 1:23pm
Randy R. (mail):
Esquire: "Hmm...well, I guess all they'd have to do is revamp their entire theology...but I really don't think that's something the state should be in the business of squeezing religions into doing..."

We've been down this path several times, yet Daniel continues to lie about the situation regarding Catholic Charities in Boston. to set the record straight once again, CC had NO problem placing children in the homes of gay parents for several years. Then, when gay marriage became as issue in Mass, suddenly they decided to reverse course and deny placing children with gay parents. The catch, however, is that they receive public funds to operate. So the state said, either you follow state law, which prohibits discrimination in the placement of children with regards to race, or sexual orientation, or you you MAY CONTINUE to discriminate against gays, but give up all public funds. This decision was made NOT by gay activists, but by the state of Massachusetts. The CC on their own decided to get out of the adoption business altogether.

This has been explained many times, yet Daneil wants every portray the situation as gay activists demanding that CC shut down. It simply isn't true, Daniel knows that, but he doesn't care.
6.5.2007 1:23pm
A.C.:
I'm with jimbino. Why should partnered people (married or not, gay or not) get more compensation than singles? Equal pay for equal work is what I say.

I have no problem with cafeteria benefits, though. Some employees might prefer to choose health insurance for dependents (whoever they are) at group rates, while others might prefer tuition assistance or membership in a gym. And people should have the option of buying more coverage out of their own money, too. The main thing is to pay people according to the job, not according to the characteristics of the person doing the job.
6.5.2007 1:37pm
chris c:
If the decision stands on appeal, I assume people who disagree with the ruling are free to seek to further amend the state constitution to narrow the prior amendment.

I know this is messy, but that's democracy.
6.5.2007 1:41pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Joseph, I think Michigan voters just wanted the same protection from having the state promote something they don't believe in that the left demands whenever the state endorses the ten commandments, etc. "

Just what is it about 'promoting homosexuality' that everyone gets upset about? How exactly does providing medical benefits "promote' gays? There will be just the exact same nunber of gay people in the world whether medical benefits are terrific or non-existant.

But of course, it isn't about promoting homosexaulity at all. It is, as whackjobbb so eloquentlly expressed, it about being as hostile to gays as much as possible. If the people like him could pass a law that all gays can only buy stale popcorn at movies houses, or must live in tacky suburban housing tracts, they would.

Here's the irony, of course. Whackjobbb wants all gays to leave Michigan. Right now, Michigan's economy is tanking. A study a few years ago showed a very close correlation between the economic health of a region and it's acceptance of gays and lesbians. Those regions of the country that were accepting, such as SF, Austin, Washington, DC, Seattle, LA, NYC, Boston, were economically doing the best. The regions that were the most hostile, likewise, were doing bery poorly.

So it's no surprise that Michigan is doing poorly. And thanks to the unwarranted hostility of people like whackjob, who obviously hates any talented gay people who might actually help the local economy, our region is doing very well.
6.5.2007 1:45pm
Randy R. (mail):
by the way, George Will just mentioned in his latest column that according to a recent poll, only 1% of the population believes that gay marriage is a big issue today. You wouldn't know that here, since some people seem obsessed with making sure gay people, whether married or not, are discriminated against in every possible way.
6.5.2007 1:47pm
whackjobbbb:
Ahhh yes, the ol' "What's Wrong with Kansas?" argument. First the stupid Kansans, and not it's those stupid Michiganders! Why don't they just do what's right... just like you told them?

No, sorry bub, but I don't care who lives/works/eats/buys popcorn/screws here. Further, not only do I not care, but it's none of my business, and I don't make it so.

Unfortunately, you have no respect for the law, and our Constitution. Pity, that.
6.5.2007 1:51pm
Houston Lawyer:
I don't know why anyone should be surprised at this result. The people clearly don't trust either their executives or their judges with respect to these matters. The people don't want to subsidize something of which they disapprove. Democracy can be a bitch when you're on the losing side.
6.5.2007 1:52pm
whackjobbbb:
And by the way, bub, in case you didn't know, there's been a loooooong string of "progressive" thought polluting our politics and economy here in Michigan. You might have a glance at that history, before you assign "blame" for the state's current one-state depression, and begin blueprinting all your complex "progressive" "fixes" for it.
6.5.2007 1:57pm
plunge (mail):
".but I really don't think that's something the state should be in the business of squeezing religions into doing..."

They weren't squeezed into anything. If they had religious objections against placing children with black parents they'd be just as out of luck. Between their theology and the children, they chose their theology. Now everything is perfectly clear.
6.5.2007 2:00pm
Norseman:
plunge:

" Between their theology and the children, they chose their theology. Now everything is perfectly clear."

I think you were referring to the Catholic church, but I read this as referring to gay activists in MA, and it fit just the same in my mind. I believe fewer children will be placed as a result of this decision. Gay activists won a notch in their belts, and more children will potentially languish. Everything is perfectly clear?
6.5.2007 2:23pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Whackjobbb:

I'm not claiming poverty, and you live up to your name when you write tripe like that. I'm claiming out -- of personal knowledge as somebody responsible for hiring -- that bans on benefits to same sex couples put public employers at a competitive disadvantage. Fortunately, again, my state governor has taken a better approach than this Michigan court did.

As to me "clearing off" and your opinions about public employment in Michigan, if you had actually read my post, you would realize that I said that I work in Ohio. As someone who grew up in Michigan, however, I'm saddened by this decision.

Fortunately, this sort of thing is, I predict, the wave of the past, not the future. Unfortunately, that doesn't help the poor folks denied their health insurance for no good reason.
6.5.2007 2:26pm
Caslim (mail):

Dale's alarmed rhetoric aside, the law does not single out and ban benefits to homosexual couples. In fact, it discourages bias in the other direction. It discourages singling out homosexual couples -- as if they are married couples -- for such marriage like benefits.

I wonder about Civil Unions and Domestic Partnerships for the exact same reason. Thought experiment. A segment of society learns the hard way what it is like to be socially depressed and deprived. They are given much in compensation, even a the political capital to spend on a brand new program that would recognize them the way they wish. And how do they spend that capital? They make a gold plated institution mirrored after the one they had envied. Mirrored so precisely that they even create it with the same exclusivity that they chaffed against.

I know the intention of the amendment seems harsh in the eyes of Dale and others here. But it simply affirms that marriage through the procreation imperative, should remain unmoved from government recognition and design on that purpose. Beyond that we look for another social purpose, perhaps helping domestic situations, independently and more socially circumspect than the current fad of gay identity politics. Meeting real needs, which are with only few exceptions homosexually exclusive.
6.5.2007 2:32pm
rarango (mail):
I am with Jimbino and others who would like to look at the question as equal pay for equal work. I also side with those who advocate privitazing marriage--do that, and does not the problem disappear altogether? Or is that too simplistic.
6.5.2007 3:01pm
U.Va. 2L:
Prof. Slater:

Absentee, of course. My legal residence is still in the 740 area code.
6.5.2007 3:04pm
JosephSlater (mail):
That is what I assumed. Good luck at Mr. Jefferson's university.
6.5.2007 3:14pm
DanW329 (mail):
Caslim,

What exactly have gays and lesbians been "given"? It seems to me that they've had to fight tooth and nail for every single break cut to them by the rest of society in the last twenty years. Why should they not choose to spend their "political capital" lobbying to protect their own families- I suspect you would do the same. It is sad that our society has become this balkanized- but when many larger and more powerful groups, from conservative christians to diverse racial and ethnic minorities, choose to pursue nothing but their own, narrow agendas, it really seems unfair to pick on the gay community for doing the same.

That said, I tend to agree that our present system of apportioning benefits is not a good one- not in the least because it allows many wealthy childless heterosexual couples (who, btw, are far more numerous than the gays) to freeload off the rest of us. I would favor reorienting the entire system to be more child-focused, with tax-subsidized spousal health benefits basically reserved for stay-at-home parents of either gender, regardless of marital status. That, however, is a far cry from voiding established contractual rights that people negotiated for when they were hired solely because you dislike their families.
6.5.2007 3:19pm
Ramza:

Caslim
...
I know the intention of the amendment seems harsh in the eyes of Dale and others here. But it simply affirms that marriage through the procreation imperative, should remain unmoved from government recognition and design on that purpose. Beyond that we look for another social purpose, perhaps helping domestic situations, independently and more socially circumspect than the current fad of gay identity politics. Meeting real needs, which are with only few exceptions homosexually exclusive.

Please list to me one benefit of marriage that you get for you reproduce with children of your own genetic structure? (aka not adoption or artificial insemination). You get the benefits of marriage as related to child wearing regardless of any genetic link to you, you get them for the child is your dependent.

Furthermore please list to me any marriage that is less "valid" for the couple is childless.

If you are going to make an argument that marriage is intimately connected with procreation, and "natural procreation of your own genetic material" you might want to show a benefit that is connected to such purposes.

I am going to keep repeating this question when someone does the biological/procreation argument for marriage in each such volokh thread, till I get an answer to my question.
6.5.2007 3:42pm
plunge (mail):
"That said, I tend to agree that our present system of apportioning benefits is not a good one- not in the least because it allows many wealthy childless heterosexual couples (who, btw, are far more numerous than the gays) to freeload off the rest of us."

They pay taxes for things they don't and will never need and don't get large tax breaks that people with children get: how are we "freeloaders"?
6.5.2007 3:45pm
plunge (mail):
"I think you were referring to the Catholic church, but I read this as referring to gay activists in MA, and it fit just the same in my mind. I believe fewer children will be placed as a result of this decision."

Unlikely. The money that the Catholic charities took now goes to someone else to provide the same service, and from what I understand, they were not a major player to begin with.

"Gay activists won a notch in their belts, and more children will potentially languish. Everything is perfectly clear?"

Now that kids can go to loving gay families, seems more like there are more homes open for kids that need good parents. That's what's clear.
6.5.2007 3:47pm
Ramza:
I meant to say this

Please list to me one benefit of marriage that you get for you reproducding and having children with your own genetic structure?
6.5.2007 3:57pm
KA:
Unfortunately, that doesn't help the poor folks denied their health insurance for no good reason.

Voters in Michigan might have thought there was no good reason for the folks in this case (homosexual partners of state employees) to receive health insurance in the first place. If insurance conventionally extends to married couples, and homosexual partnerships aren't marriage, why include the latter category among the former?

I voted for the Ohio marriage amendment understanding it would head off recognition of unmarried couples as being the same as married couples. That was half the point. (The other half being to prevent our state from being forced to recognize gay "marriages" imposed by activist judges.) I also voted for Ken Blackwell, and wish the general malaise and incompetence of the previous governor's administration hadn't doomed him from the beginning. Ohio just voted for its marriage amendment; many of the same voters probably went for Strickland just as a deserved rebuke to Taft, not because they wanted all his liberal policies.
6.5.2007 4:06pm
Happyshooter:
They pay taxes for things they don't and will never need and don't get large tax breaks that people with children get: how are we "freeloaders"?

Pre-Michigan's marriage amendment, I was a student at the University of Michigan. My wife and I desired to move into family housing on campus. I was forced to obtain and present, at three different times, hte raised seal of official copy of our marriage license. My wife and I were also placed in a lower priority because we did not have children.

Gay couples only had to sign a university declaration of their love to be placed on the regular housing list.

My wife's income was correctly counted against mine for purposes of financial aid. Gay couples did not suffer that terrible hit to financial aid benefits.

The only university student funding that was allowed to be spent on alcohol, was for gay events.

Sounds to me like there was a lot of freeloading going on.
6.5.2007 4:13pm
Perseus (mail):
Since the practice of conferring benefits to the usually non-employed spouse (almost invariably the wife/mother) originated in the bad old patriarchal system prior to the sexual revolution, I see no reason why same sex couples should be allowed to exploit that system. I agree that this is one small victory against rent-seeking.
6.5.2007 4:17pm
DanW329 (mail):
"They pay taxes for things they don't and will never need and don't get large tax breaks that people with children get: how are we "freeloaders"?"

Actually I don't have kids either, but I don't have a problem with the the idea that all of us should, to some extent, be responsible for the next generation. I know many middle-aged couples with comparable incomes, and I can safely say that the ones who didn't have kids still tend to be much better off financially than those that did. So for me it is particularly painful to see government over-taxing, penalizing and generally making life difficult for same-sex couples who have devoted the better part of their lives and incomes to raising the next generation just as many of their straight counterparts have done.
6.5.2007 4:19pm
Ak Mike (mail):
Interestingly enough, in Alaska the very same marriage amendment to the state constitution led to the opposite result: the Alaska Supreme Court required that public employers extend health care coverage benefits to same sex partners of employees in "committed domestic relationships" to the same extent as to spouses of employees. Alaska Civil Liberties Union v. State, 122 P.3d 781 (Alaska 2005).

The reasoning was that since committed same sex partners are forbidden from marrying each other, it denies them equal protection of the law to treat them differently from opposite sex couples who do marry.

As this reasoning implies, opposite sex unmarried couples are not entitled to health care benefits under this ruling, because they have the legal option of marrying, an option not available to same sex partners.
6.5.2007 4:22pm
markm (mail):
Could the city get around this ruling by offering optional (for a higher deduction from pay) benefits to anyone in the employee's household, regardless of relationship?
6.5.2007 4:28pm
DanW329 (mail):
"Gay couples only had to sign a university declaration of their love to be placed on the regular housing list."

"I agree that this is one small victory against rent-seeking."

I see. So why not allow gay couples to get married, hold them to the same standards you hold all married couples, and call it a day? The problem I have with you folks is that you go on and on about how same-sex marriage will absolutely wreck the instituion of marriage and cannot be allowed in under any circumstances, but then you turn around and fight tooth and nail against any accomodation designed to account for the fact that gay couples can't marry. So what do you think university housing should do with an evidently committed same-sex couple who have been together for years? Deny them housing in favor of heterosexual newlyweds who could easily get divorced in a month if they wanted to? What about a same-sex partner who DOES stay home to raise kids? (I live upstairs from such a person.) Why should her health care be taxed, but her straight neighbor's not be? If you think these people should be penalized because you believe that homosexuality is morally wrong, and states are right to essentially wage kulturkampf against gays to drive them away (as Justice Scalia urges), then so be it. But own up to your point of view, because right now it just looks like you are tormenting a particularly vulnerable minority out of spite.
6.5.2007 4:33pm
Proud to be a liberal :
One question is whether there was truth in advertising about the Michigan law. Did the proponents of the law say that gay people who were currently receiving benefits as partners would lose the benefits? One could have a statute that restricts marriage to a man and a woman but does not address spouse-like benefits. There was a deliberate choice to make the statute go further, but was that choice presented to the voting public? I recall some proponents of the anti-gay marriage laws saying that they would not change current benefits. If that recollection is correct, the voters may well have been deceived.
6.5.2007 4:33pm
Caslim (mail):

So when will someone show me the homosexual altruism that we are supposed to justify the discrimination in their favor, much like the kin altruism works with marriage?

A gay couple loves each other. Great! Lets get the government to send them hallmark cards, flowers roses, and make sure each of them live as long as they can for each other's love and interest. How indignant of a free and fair society to lack the courange and leadership to pamper homosexuality to the fullest extent it deserves.

Meanwhile single-mothers seeking help from family and friends will get be the grist for the noble mill of the homosexual. No opportunity for them to access a benefactor's health benefits. No opportunity for them to have someone they trust registerd and recognized to make arrangements for her children.
6.5.2007 4:35pm
DanW329 (mail):
How is the desire of two homosexual partners to take care of each other and any children they might be raising any different than the "kin altruism" of marriage? What makes the same-sex couple more selfish than the married couple.

Of course, you are right that are society does not do nearly enough for single parents. I think we should do more. But I really do not understand the relationship between that need and discrimination against same-sex couples.
6.5.2007 4:42pm
JosephSlater (mail):
I doubt that many of the folks who voted for Rove's "get out the base by bashing gay marriage" laws gave much thought to how this might affect health benefits of public workers in Kalamazoo. Marriage, rightly or wrongly, strikes a special chord with some folks: note that state and local laws barring discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation are becoming more and more common.

Another point nobody has mentioned is that this is yet another good argument for universal health care.
6.5.2007 4:45pm
Happyshooter:
Another point nobody has mentioned is that this is yet another good argument for universal health care.

That could be because most of us are aware of how the VA provides "health care" and don't think national health sounds like a very good idea.
6.5.2007 4:56pm
Caslim (mail):

That political chip on your shoulder is a real burden to bear on the rest of our shoulders.

I see homosexual advocates, such as Dale, ready in a heart beat to preserve marriage from dilution when it comes to real families in need. Didn't he just finish a thread here about how benefits outside of marriage was undermining marriage? Don't do it, he would advocate. Don't respond to their need (no matter how simular it is to the homosexual stated need) or you will do social harm.

Yet it is so beyond them to understand what others see in marriage. They call it abstract, even though the child is a very real "kin" and embodiment of a marriage relationship. They paint the importance of people to be responsible to their own children as the equivolent of white supremacy, driving a wedge through the poor hearts of those better-off-than-average souls.

And what about the homosexual relationship is at all like a kin altruism? What is the kin atlruism to you that you can even imagine such a thing?
6.5.2007 4:57pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
One question is whether there was truth in advertising about the Michigan law. Did the proponents of the law say that gay people who were currently receiving benefits as partners would lose the benefits? One could have a statute that restricts marriage to a man and a woman but does not address spouse-like benefits. There was a deliberate choice to make the statute go further, but was that choice presented to the voting public? I recall some proponents of the anti-gay marriage laws saying that they would not change current benefits. If that recollection is correct, the voters may well have been deceived.


Perhaps they can get in line right behind the Congressmen and State legislators who ratified the Fourteenth Amendment because it is unlikely that they voted for it thinking that it somehow meant that someone's sexual fetish rose to the level an "equal protection" issue.
6.5.2007 5:01pm
DanW329 (mail):
Caslim- since you have probably never been in a long-term homosexual relationship, who are you to say that the feelings that couple experiences for each other, and for any children they might raise together, is not something like "kin altruism". That's pretty much just as insulting as pretending that single parents don't exist (as I said, on that point I agree with you).

Anyway, Mr. Winston's comment, at least, gets to the heart of the matter. What for me is a loving relationship with the person with whom I intend to spend the rest of my life (and yes, possibly raise children who will "perpetuate the race"), others are still intent on seeing as a "sexual fetish."
6.5.2007 5:11pm
Hoosier:
JosephSlater: I'm on record as saying that I don't have a good reason for opposing gay marriage, let alone benefits. But blaming the issue on a Rove strategy is just intellectual rubbish. This issue was raised by the side that advocated gay marriage, not the side that opposed it. And then the side that oppsed it, seeing an old and important institution being altered by judiacial fiat decided to organize to oppose the changes through the political process. So what?

You don't agree with them. I wish I could, since my sentiments run in that direction. But I don't agree with them either. BUT blaming the heat that this issue has generated on the right suggests that the only acceptable policy for opponents of gay marriage to take would be a policy of silence. That's a bit too convenient for "our" side.

That said: It is hard to make the case that taking benefits away from gay partners is an act of charity.

Let's also mention the type of town K'zoo is: It's a college town, with a very good little college, and a good state university within the city-propper. It's pretty 'hip,' so this decision on benefits may well have been made with the goal of stirring up the pot.

I mean beyond VC . . .
6.5.2007 5:14pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Thorley:

Aside from the snide and ignorant equation of homosexuality with a "someone's sexual fetish," and aside from the fact that Equal Protection has been applied to women, even though it's unlikely the drafters had them specificially in mind (textualism, remember?), I hope you realize that _Lawrence_ wasn't an equal protection case.
6.5.2007 5:14pm
JSO:
How will you create those children you may possibly raise? Not through the activities that do appear to constitute a fetish. Does it matter that these children might have been entitled to have their mother, which you may deprive them of from the beginning (and not because of a sad circumstance of divorce, death or abandonment)? Why should the state encourage the creation of that situation?
6.5.2007 5:19pm
Kazinski:
Isn't this a clear signal that the Employment based health insurance system we have in this country is outdated and needs to be scrapped? The system of having third parties pay for second parties health care, subsidized by the taxpayer is something that no rational process would select. Obviously government run universal payer plans don't work and would be worse than even the current system. What we need is universal Medical savings accounts with the accounts subsidized for the poor, and if you want to have some government control then the government subsidized accouts can be managed and the payments disbursed by the Feds, to keep waste and fraud to a minimum.

Then everyone can pay for their own significant other(s). I'll stay out of their bedroom if they stay out of my pocketbook.
6.5.2007 5:22pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Hoosier:

I respectfully disagree, at least in part. Putting anti-gay marriage amendments on the ballots of various states, including "battleground" states like Michigan and Ohio, was something Rove, et al., wished to do for national political reasons, and the national Republican party supported and publicized these initiatives. That's not the be-all and end-all -- I'm sure some folks in Michigan looked at the Mass. decision and said, gosh, I hope that doesn't happen here -- but that was a significant part of it.

And I in no way was suggesting that opponents of gay marriage should be "silent." But they should be reminded of what the consequences of their policies are, especially those that go beyond basic "two men can't marry each other" idea. One such consequence is that innocent folks in Kalamazoo lost their health benefits. Another, as I pointed out, is that their public institutions will not be able to recruit the best and brightest employees.
6.5.2007 5:23pm
Deoxy (mail):
"I am going to keep repeating this question when someone does the biological/procreation argument for marriage in each such volokh thread, till I get an answer to my question."

OK, here's your answer:

Married couples produce, ON AVERAGE, more children and better citizens than any other method yet discovered.

Therefore, if a country wants a viable next generation of good citizens, it is advantageous for them to promote marriage.

Yes, yes, we all know that there are childless marriages. I refer you to the concept of the "bright line"; if you are intellectually honest, you can see how that works, and if not, well, there's not much point in me explaining it.

All done. Thank you, drive through please. Oh, and please do be honest enough to stop asking hte question now, OK?

As to these amendments: they didn't have the provrbial snowball's chance of passing bfore the Mass Supreme Court decision, and afterwards, there was a rush to keep the same "tyranny of a few old people in black robes" from afflicting on's own state, and poorly worded amendments got passed.

Any time the black-robed lawyers at the top try to usurp legislative authority, there are long term, society-wide repurcussions, and generally not good ones - I refer you to Roe v Wade for the classic example.

People are fed up with that, and I predict other instances like this: some state court gets too big for it's britches, the people in most other states take pre-emptive measures (and oftn go for overkill while they're at it).

The lesson here is that judges should stop trying to rule the country.
6.5.2007 5:34pm
Caslim (mail):

Cry a tear, everyone for the lost benefits of these couples, but not for the people who are denied the same benefits who aren't homosexual. Who is really to say that the government has any other purpose other than showering everyone it can with everything they might need. Marking this group of self-identified and self-interested segment looking out for themselves.

Please, oh please put the poor plight of the homosexual under this great beurocratic nanny -- and hurry. Because we fear already without such nannying too much harm has been done.

Seriously, if you really thought that just caring after another person and a child with that person justified expanding marriage rights, you would not even have to mention homosexual or same-sex couples. Yet it is hammered into us, the need of the homosexual. How sorry we must be for their plight of sexual identity.
6.5.2007 5:38pm
Aleks:
Re: I would suspect that many who voted for the admendment intended exactly that outcome (among others).

Many who voted for these amendments probably thought it was nothing more than a ban on same sex marriage and gave no thought to any other possible consequences. The wording on many of these initiatives is incredibly vague and confusing. Arizona voters actually rejected a proposal like this when it was pointed out just how damaging their amendment might be.
6.5.2007 5:38pm
Deoxy (mail):
"hiring disadvantage" - um, yeah, because gay people mak up such an enormous portion of the workforce... like 3%, wow!

Seriously, that's a joke. Leaving aside the moral/ethical bits, arguing about this from a "hiring disadvantage" is quite simply ridiculous.

A mild hiring disadvantage that applies to 3% of the population is not remotely relevant to a discussion about massive and foundational societal change.
6.5.2007 5:38pm
DanW329 (mail):
"Please, oh please put the poor plight of the homosexual under this great beurocratic nanny -- and hurry. Because we fear already without such nannying too much harm has been done."


In lieu of sarcasm, maybe you could tell me what you want gay and lesbian couples who are worried about the security of their families to do? Split up? Find Jesus and turn straight? That god they are not getting burned at the stake? In the end, it seems to me the issue here is really just about people who bargained for a particular contractual right for their families, one that has subsequently been yanked away because those families are different from the majority. Your attempt to turn this into a story of one group's epic selfishness is deciedely unconvincing. I am sympathetic to your argument that the needs of many other people in society are not even being addressed in the present debate, but your desire to lay that failing entirely at my doorstep leaves me completely cold.
6.5.2007 5:57pm
Randy R. (mail):
JCS: Not through the activities that do appear to constitute a fetish. "

This is 2007. If you are so ignorant about sexual orientation that you would use such an insulting term, your arguments are certainly not worth considerting, let alone responding to.

Deoxy: "A mild hiring disadvantage that applies to 3% of the population is not remotely relevant to a discussion about massive and foundational societal change."

Ah, the old numbers game again. Gays are so small in number that we shouldn't concerned about them, but they are so GREAT in number that doing any benefits for them will revolutionize our entire lives.

Please identify exactly what 'massive and foundational societal' change occured in Canada or Spain once they legalized gay marriage. Or even Mass. for that matter.

Deoxy: "Therefore, if a country wants a viable next generation of good citizens, it is advantageous for them to promote marriage."

And if gays are only 3% of the population, and so few actually get married, then how is the viability of the next generation perilized?
6.5.2007 6:13pm
Daniel950:
Deoxy,

You nailed it. This is what happens when judges try to rule the country.

And you nailed it with your bright line test and reasonable explanation of why marriage between a man and a woman is to be preferred.

JSO also said it best: "Does it matter that these children might have been entitled to have their mother, which you may deprive them of from the beginning (and not because of a sad circumstance of divorce, death or abandonment)? Why should the state encourage the creation of that situation?"

Bingo. Gay "marriage" = broken homes. Children with no mothers and only "fathers". Children with no fathers and only "mothers". It's the state telling you that being a father or a mother has no singular importance at all, or that there is any unique dynamic to both of them interacting in a child's life. That is why homosexual adoption should be overturned, and why so-called gay "marriage" should be prevented in places where it doesn't exist, and abolished in places it does exist. And it's why so-called "civil unions" should also be prevented, because the name of the institution is not the only thing keeping society together. Marriage is fundamentally, primarily, and basically about CHILDREN.

PS: Randy, you'll have to forgive me for not providing a lot of nuance regarding the adoption situation in Massachusetts, since frankly I don't give a crap. All it ultimately does is prove the point that homosexuals see nothing important in the unique dyanmic interactions of having a mother and a father together in family life.
6.5.2007 6:22pm
Caslim (mail):
Wait a minute. Isn't it the gay and lesbian families, the ones you insinuate are being left out in the cold, saying they are different? Special? Exclusive, in the Domestic Partnerships and Civil Unions legislation they are pushing?

Didn't Dale just finish writing about how the need for benefits outside of marriage expressed by homosexuals, is being leached on by others and thus undermining marriage? The simularities to saying marriage is dying is Scandinavia in that article would be an interesting exercise for the reader, yet I digress that would be mostly off-topic.

Are they different? Go ahead, write a real policy that addresses real needs and see if "homosexual" or even "same-sex" need be written in that law at all.

It is beyond belief that ommitting "same-sex couple" or not requiring affidavits of romantic interest as a requirement for these exclusive benefits so simular to being burned at the stake...
6.5.2007 6:28pm
DeezRightWingNutz:
Doesn't the extension of benefits to the homosexual partner of an employee discriminate against those that aren't sexually active, or are only boyfriend/girlfriend, or whatever? I mean, I loved my friend and roommate, but he wasn't eligible for coverage under my health insurance? What would I have had to do to make him eligible? Certify that I was committed to him, that I had sex with him? It seems like there is much more potential for abuse with same-sex couples.

I agree with those that said health insurance should be de-coupled from employment (or at least not encouraged by the government). As for getting the government out of the marriage buisness, I'm open to listening. I generally don't like government subsidies, but are there positive externalities from marriage, or at least pro-creation, that may justify it?
6.5.2007 6:51pm
JSO:
Randy:

I was responding to DanW's comments about raising children and perpetuating the race in the context of his loving, lifelong partnership. I asked how he planned to create those children. His loving relationship isn't a "fetish," but while it may not be couth here in 2007 to acknowledge it in polite company, homosexual sex (anal or what have you) by its very nature is not, and cannot be, naturally lifegiving. Gay couples who want to create children and raise them, however lovingly, will create children who won't have either a mother or a father, by intent and design. Again: why should the state encourage that situation? It seems to me if homosexual relationships are normalized under the law, the state has no way to acknowledge that have married mothers and fathers is best for children at all. That's what happening in Massachusetts. Maybe Michigan didn't want it to happen there.
6.5.2007 6:57pm
Randy R. (mail):
Daniel: "Randy, you'll have to forgive me for not providing a lot of nuance regarding the adoption situation in Massachusetts, since frankly I don't give a crap."

Is isn't about nuance: It's about facts. So thanks for making it clear that you don't give a crap about the facts. Speaking of which...

"Gay "marriage" = broken homes." Yet study after study has shown, both in Britain and the US, that children of gay parents do just as well as children of hetero parents. This is why every single major adoption agency out there says that gays should be able to adopt. It's why every study conducted on foster children said they would rather be in a gay family than remain in foster care. It's why Catholic Charities in many cities STILL place children in gay parents. But, of course, you don't give a crap about the facts.

JSO" Again: why should the state encourage that situation? It seems to me if homosexual relationships are normalized under the law, the state has no way to acknowledge that have married mothers and fathers is best for children at all."

The stats should encourage the situation because there are far more children in need of adoption than there are families willing to adopt them. And because, as I said, there is no evidence that children in gay families turn out any worse or better than children of straight parents. That's the answer.

Now, you can say that it's best for the children to have a father and mother. If you want to play the game of saying that children should only be placed in the 'best' families, then you will have to let only well off parents adopt, since they are much better at providing health care and everything else a kid needs. But I see that your concern with the kids stops at the parents sexuality -- nothing else seems to matter.

Nonetheless, we are not talking about best when millions of children around the world need a parent. Having one parent is better than none, having two parents is better than one. So what exactly is your problem with gay raising children? Please point to at least one example of a child raised by gay parents who turned out terrible and would have been better off in foster care or an orphanage.

"Gay couples who want to create children and raise them, however lovingly, will create children who won't have either a mother or a father, by intent and design." By that reasoning, you must prevent all single parent adoptions. And actually, lesbians can birth a child and raise the kid because the kid is HER OWN. What would you do: Take the child away from her and put it in foster care? Accordingly to your logic, that is what must be done, and that is 'best' for the child.
6.5.2007 7:15pm
Ramza:

I was responding to DanW's comments about raising children and perpetuating the race in the context of his loving, lifelong partnership. I asked how he planned to create those children. His loving relationship isn't a "fetish," but while it may not be couth here in 2007 to acknowledge it in polite company, homosexual sex (anal or what have you) by its very nature is not, and cannot be, naturally lifegiving. Gay couples who want to create children and raise them, however lovingly, will create children who won't have either a mother or a father, by intent and design. Again: why should the state encourage that situation? It seems to me if homosexual relationships are normalized under the law, the state has no way to acknowledge that have married mothers and fathers is best for children at all. That's what happening in Massachusetts. Maybe Michigan didn't want it to happen there.


Then pass a law you can't do artificial insemination if you are a single parent or two gay couples. Pass a law preventing no fault divorce. Address the problem at is core if it is such a major problem that pearls society.
6.5.2007 7:23pm
Randy R. (mail):
Many of these posts prove just what I said earlier -- It's not about gay marriage, it's not about the kids, it's not about society. Rather, it's about fear.

Fear that if we do anything at all to dignify a gay relationship, that will somehow 'promote' homosexuality. It's a fear that if we allow gays to marry, all the kids are somehow going to turn out gay. Or you yourself will suddenly shack up with a person of the same sex.

I often ask anti-gay people: What would it take to get you to have sex with a guy (or woman, if the person is a woman) and enjoy it? Without hestitation, they assure me that NOTHING could ever happen in this world that would make them do it, or enjoy it.

So what's the problem? The same is for me -- there ain't nothing in this world that would convince me I should have sex with a woman, and I certainly would NOT enjoy it.

So what's the problem? What is your fear -- I've asked many times WHAT ARE THE BIG SOCIAL CHANGES IN CANADA AND SPAIN? No one will answer that. There have been no problems in either place with gays getting married. Yet, it appears from all your comments that American society is so much more fragile than those in CAnada and Spain, that if just a handful of gays get married, people might grow horns or something. In Mass, more people accept gays and their right to be married today than at any time in the past.

What I suggest is that if you are so concerned about children being raised by gays, then go out and find families willing to adopt all those girls in China, all those boys in Africa, and every single kid in foster care in the US, so that there aren't any left for gays.

But you aren't willing to do that. So much easier to punch a ballot. 'That'll show them uppity gays. We'll put 'em in their place." Great.

All hatred arises from fear. The hate I see against gays in this thread obviously comes from fear. I know plenty of striaght people who are great friends, who vote for gay rights and have children of their own. The difference between them and you? The have no fear of gays, and they certainly aren't threatened by us, nor should they be. But when you find the need to say that we are exhibiting fetishes, that our love is not 'lifegiving' what ever that means, that our relationships aren't as worthy or yours, that shows your fear.

Carry on.
6.5.2007 7:26pm
Ramza:
Deoxy

Yes I am familiar with bright-line rules vs complicated balancing tests. I ain't arguing against bright-line rule, I am arguing though why is the bright-line rule drawn righ here in this fashion. It was drawn in such a fashion that if the argument for the bright-line rule as drawn can barely survive rational basis review (and under a few courts say it doesn't survive rational basis). Any other higher scrutiny, including this new "rational basis with bite" (which I admit is a recent creation) and this bright line rule will not survive for it is drawn in such a way it really doesn't further the intended interst.

Under rational basis scrutiny, the bright line rule, has to be drawn in such a way that it furthers the interest it is trying to affect. If the bright line rule is these a married couples can theoretically "naturally" biologically procreate (as in vagina and penis), why then do we allow marriages to people with vascetomies and hysteroectomies. (we also have the case of eldery people getting married at 75). Why do we grant these exeptions to furthering marriage's purpose but we won't allow gay couples (ones with children or without children) to get married?

Note each state rational behind each bright line rule is different, for example it is to my understanding the recent appeal court of California says the only rational behind the law is traditional definition of marriage and prop 22 (overturning a lower judge who said their is no rational basis for the state to draw it in such a way and thus unconsitutional). It does not address procreation (like most states do), straigh parents need marriage unlike gay parents (like the new york court did), or other such arguements. Note the California Supreme Court is hearing the case after the State Supreme Court, written briefs are due in this month after granting an extension from March. Oral arguements have not yet been set, but will soon follow.

So I ask again, is their any marriage benefit that a married couple that biologically creates children the "natural way" gets that you wouldn't get if it is done in an unnatural way (artifical insemination, adoption, etc).

Are marriages that don't produce children less valid than ones that do?

I am asking why is the bright-line rule drawn in such a fashion?
I am not asking whether court X should say overturn the current marriage laws for it doesn't pass Y level of scrutiny for the state interest, or that the laws are on their face violate state/federal equal protection clauses. I ain't even bringing the courts into this, you can easily apply my question to the matter pretending if we had no history of marriage, and were creating marriage for the first time in the legislature, why would you draw the line such as this in this case, what is the legislature rational.
6.5.2007 7:26pm
RV:

Married couples produce, ON AVERAGE, more children and better citizens than any other method yet discovered.

Therefore, if a country wants a viable next generation of good citizens, it is advantageous for them to promote marriage.


That doesn't really answer the question. First, more children is not necessarily better. And, in recent decades, the number of children per marriage has been declining while the number of children born outside marriage has been increasing, so I am not sure where the numbers are going.

More importantly, "better citizens" is not defined. While I agree that statistics show that children who come from stable, two-parent households are generally better off and better for society in many ways (economic, criminal, educationa, ets.), I don't know that there is any real evidence that a married homosexual couple would be worse at providing these benefits than a married heterosexual couple. I've heard lots of assertions related to the biological link between the both parents and the child which obviously cannot exist in a homosexual couple, but nor does it exist with adoptive parents or artificially inseminated parents. I've heard assertions about having male and female role models, but that's just based on the stereotype that only guys know about strength and fixing things and sports and math, while only women know about cleaning and cooking and empathy; people are more complex than that. These are just assertions, and as I have indicated I don't really believe them. Where is the evidence that committed same-sex spouses would parent worse citizens than committed opposite-sex spouses? My soon to be married (technically, civil-partnered) friends will make much better parents than many heterosexual couples I know.
6.5.2007 7:34pm
Caslim (mail):
Well, time to wander through a strawman field.

Marriage isn't about gays -- thats exactly right. Yes, folks there are things out there that have nothing to do with homosexuality. Just a few concepts that are out of the orbit of these self-centered paradigms. It pains me to think how foreign a concept that can be to some people.

Lets say it is fear that motivates. Then what motivates altering marriage at all? I mean what would you be afraid of if marriage really meant children have a right to be raised by their mother and father in a commited socially supported relationship? What are you afraid of in that?

Would children go hungry? Would they not be taken care of?

No, they wouldn't have the sexual freedom that they might once want.

A man loves a woman, has a child with her -- then what? He leaves? Thank the no-fault divorce era to facilitating the father or mother to follow (inadvertently?) any sexual freedom they desire. Thank the homosexual movement for sanctioning their own sexuality for freedom and entitlements. Which, apparently includes the entitlement to be free of a man or woman even though that man or woman means so much to the children they helped bear.

What is there to fear about a man suing his ex-wife to remove her from custody and visitation rights -- to protect his children from her bitterness towards his sexual orientation that broke up that family. That'll never happen, right? McGreevey is no monster, he's just a homosexual.

And what is there to fear, really? Answer that, and you may just be able to reach the brass ring for this discussion.

Is the fear that someone's love and life dies because they don't have medical insurance of their own? Grown children, mothers, fathers, beneficiaries, sisters, brothers are all out in the cold because homosexuals are first in line here. What is there to be afraid of? That homosexuality might just be something akin to everything else in the world, not in the front of the line, not in the forefront of social policy consideration? Just what is the fear -- exactly...
6.5.2007 7:52pm
whackjobbbb:

I'm not claiming poverty, and you live up to your name when you write tripe like that.


Well Slater, when you shriek about somebody being "deprived" of something on a specific job, your implication is that there are no other jobs available to give them what they want/need from an employer and are entitled to THIS one. You're wrong, of course. Get your snout out of the public trough and you might find that out for yourself. Anybody affected by K'zoo's decision can do similarly. It's a great big wonderful world out there.


I'm claiming out -- of personal knowledge as somebody responsible for hiring -- that bans on benefits to same sex couples put public employers at a competitive disadvantage.


Perhaps, but not much of one, if any. As others have stated, remove the benefits angle from compensation, and the problem resolves itself. LEAD on this issue, my tax-money guzzling friend... and stop whining.

OT: I can help you with your personnel and budgetary problems, if you want to elect me czar over there. Tell 1/3 of your staff that they're fired, with terminations heavily concentrated in the law and public education sectors, of whom we turn out countless too many, wasting precious resources needed elsewhere. We'll transfer those resources to mathematics/science/technology/engineering, including the remedial education required to make up for the failed primary/secondary work of the too many public education graduates you tenured cranks are cranking out. And less lawyers MIGHT mean we'll face fewer lawsuits on the back end of all this firing, so that's a two-fer.

And McKinnon's "Sexual Politics of Meat" course over at UM, well I don't know where that falls, but that whole department is GONE, baby! You maybe can stay, Slater, but we'll have to discuss the disbursement of funds from that grant you hooked up with recently... I have a little LLC specializing in just that sorta grant's work... and we can review how we might assist you with that grant, as we work through your employment situatione. The good ol' days will still be around in academia, for sure, so you should be secure... wink wink.

Get the picture? I'm not too interested in how you public employees think about policy. You're a bit too corrupt for that. This is reality here, my friend. The people of this state have spoken.


Fortunately, again, my state governor has taken a better approach than this Michigan court did.


Slater, I think the court followed good practice, and allowed K'zoo to establish an employment "contract". I don't really think the Constitutional ban did or should have much to do with that. Heck, if K'zoo is too tough, move to Ann Arbor. NAMBLA is probably welcome at the public bargaining table there. And so be it, if that's what Ann Arbor wants. I'm skeptical that the state constitution can be foisted on local government in this area, but you may know better on that score.


Fortunately, this sort of thing is, I predict, the wave of the past, not the future. Unfortunately, that doesn't help the poor folks denied their health insurance for no good reason.


No, this is the wave of the future, a future you types have brought about. The activists pushed too far... too fast... and you're seeing this stuff pop up across the country now. If they'd have moved slow... deliberately... the goalposts could have moved gradually. But unfortunately, the Left has no patience for steady work. They've seen the future and it works... and so will we see it... one way or the other, whether we like it or not. So they overreach, and the mainstream slaps them down.

We've seen this same thing with gun control. The Brady Bunch goes nuts 15-20 years ago, and now you get the inevitable backlash that moves the goalposts even FURTHER out on those issues, in the opposite direction from Brady. Today, you got concealed carry laws and castle doctrines FLYING out of these state legislatures... thanks to the shrill antis.

Better give up on the "future", my friend, and work slowly on the today. Change those employment benefit packages and take this business out of play. You'd be doing a BUNCH of this country a favor... not just one small segment. Lead on the issue, and stop whining.
6.5.2007 8:03pm
ReaderY:
The idea that these were "unintended" consequences is rediculous. The wording of the amendment was quite clear on the point, and the consequences were thoroughly discussed before the vote. It's a common lawyer's tactic to claim a law one disagrees with is the result of a mindless snafu rather than people one disagrees with. But it's a dishonest one.
6.5.2007 8:12pm
JosephSlater (mail):
First, I applaud Randy R. for having the patience to make sensible replies to some of the nonsense on this board.

Second, Deoxy, I know of specific situations in which certain public law schools have specific, very talented folks because of bans on benefits. This is why a whole lot of Fortune 500 companies have instituted such benefits. If you want public education, you should let us compete, as employers, for the best talent.

Finally, Whackjobb, you go off on so many nutty things it's hard to know where to start. NOBODY is crying "poverty" -- I'm noting that laws like this put public employers at a competetive disadvantage. You can rant about Catherine MacKinnon, the Brady Bill, NAMBLA, grants (law profs don't get many grants, FYI), or whatever irrelevant crap you want to rant about, but you still can't hide the fact that you don't have a coherent response to the point at hand.

But the future will be one of more equality for gays and lesbians. And I think that's what's making you so incoherently whiny.
6.5.2007 8:21pm
KeithK (mail):
"I am asking why is the bright-line rule drawn in such a fashion?"

The basic purpose of marriage from a historical perspective has been procreation. The union of a man and a woman to create offspring. There are lots of other things tied up in it (property, inheritance) but procreation has been the primary purpose.

Yes, some marriages do not produce children for a variety of reasons (choice, infertility, etc.. This has always been and always will be the case. But in the majority of cases it is not possible to say in advance whether a given heterosexual marriage will or not will not produce offspring. The biological capacity is there for a general male-female union. To me it makes it reasonable to assume that such marriages may result in children and thus reasonable to provide the state sanction.

It would be possible to exclude varuious heterosexual couples on the basis of inability to procreate. Except int he case of age this would require a certain intrusiveness on the part of the government to determinet hese factors. Is it easy to say with certainty whether a person is fertile? Whether a man may not choose to have his tubes untied at some point? Even the age question brings uncertainty since men have no age limit and there is no fixed age for menopause in women.

To me, all of these uncertainties argue for a bright line rule sanctioning all heterosexual marriages. This also happens to be the historical rule.

Homosexual unions by their very nature can not directly produce offspring. Thus if the purpose of marriage is procreation it is reasonable to exclude homosexual unions from the sanction of marriage. There is a rational distinction between the two.

That's not to say that you can't argue that marriage ought to be extended or that there wouldn't be benefits from such a change. But I think the historical placement of the bright line is very much rational.
6.5.2007 8:41pm
whackjobbbb:
Yeah but this is fun, Slater,,, you're a good foil!


If you want public education, you should let us compete, as employers, for the best talent.


Slater, you don't really mean this, obviously, because if we were truly interested in acquiring the "best talent" in public education, we'd immediately abolish tenure, and you'd probably be out of a job. Then we'd bring in competent staff to reform benefit/compensation policy, and some (perhaps gay) guy who really knew his business would take over your position and buy his cafeteria benefit package out of his salary and do whatever he wanted with it... and everybody'd be happy... except you of course.

But you don't really want all that, so why bother dreaming?


(law profs don't get many grants, FYI)


Well you better get THAT one, buddy. Czar whackjobbbb will be reviewing your employment in a while here, and momma needs a new pair of shoes. There's GOLD in them there ivory towers!



...but you still can't hide the fact that you don't have a coherent response to the point at hand.

But the future will be one of more equality for gays and lesbians.



The "future", and my "coherent response" are written into the Michigan State Constitution, my friend. Here's hoping that all the black-robed fascists out there are literate enough to read it.

Now stop whining and get my RFP typed up!
6.5.2007 9:15pm
Perseus (mail):
their public institutions will not be able to recruit the best and brightest employees.

I have never associated state/local governmental institutions with the "best and brightest." In academia, most fields have a surplus of job seekers, so whatever supposed loss in quality is likely to be de minimis. Nor is it even clear to me why public education should be able to attract the best and brightest.
6.5.2007 9:25pm
whackjobbbb:
And to Randy, I do feel for you, bud. I don't know what makes people gay, perhaps nobody does. But the condition you seek... gay marriage... is new. It hasn't been with us... it's just plain new. To seek to plop this down into the existing fabric and contract of traditional marriage is unreasonable. It ignores the evolutionary process that's taken place to get us to where we are today... POOF... with none of the same societal work.

This new condition you seek may be the right and true way, but it's now gonna have to be worked through the same process the other's been through. The law, the politics, the biology, the philosophy, the divorce lawyers, the religion, the sociology, the whatever you want to add to this list... a million times over... while standing on it's own... and not parachuted into an existing pat hand.

Yes, you might feel better if you were simply and immediately accepted into the fold contractually, but I'll let the lawyers explain to you all the tails involved in contracts, including marriage contracts... and why your request is unreasonable... at least until all of the above issues are worked through. This will take time, and that's been the mistake here... impatience and resulting overreach. Yes, maybe "fear" is a component of this, but that too is real, and must be worked through.

Some wise man once told me that there's 3 answers to a question: "yes"... "no"... and "wait". You may go to your grave waiting. That may be a tragedy, or may be well and good, I don't really know, I only know it is what it is.

But substituting your opinion in place of the result of the above legitimate process is the false choice... and oh so selfish. Not that you should care what these 2 dopes think, but both Kerry and Bush came out for "civil unions", whatever that truly is. Suggest you build from there, and begin that process.
6.5.2007 10:01pm
Caslim (mail):

Marriage equality...

Integration...

Benefits to help out families...

Equality for gays and lesbians...

Who isn't for any of these things? But who agrees on what they mean.

Isn't marriage already equal? Mother nature saw to it that one man and one woman create families, marriage encourages the man and woman to take that role to more than being gamete donors. There are already many equal marriages, marriage equality means making even more marriages equal. It not only equalizes the genders, but the children who share their identity and heritage.

Does the gay couple equalize that? Someone give me one coherent answer to any of the points I've raised, or just answer me that without Randy-ranting about how unfair it is that the world doesn't pamper the gay-proclaimed-identity enough.

Someone already asked, how do gay couples plan on creating children? A whole clinic opened devoted exclusively to their... what do you call it, handicap?

Meanwhile the poster-couples are on parade, they don't get enough benefits for their love for each other. But if a sex-segregated couple still wishes to procreate, then you might wind up purchasing a child from a parent whom you pay to leave the child as much as have them. They treat the other gender, and product of the union, as mere commercial commodities. That would be equality, tolerance, and respect the same way slavery is tolerance of blacks.

Where is your coherent answer to the point at hand? Why is the Civil Union so, so exclusive when homosexuality represents even a small fraction of same-sex headed households (sister-sister and mother-daughter are other combinations left out)?

The mask slips -- to reveal the visage of asexuophobia!

This sort of "there goes the neighborhood" ruling against Aunt Tilly and Aunt Milly is the logical extension of the logic of the Goodridge reasoning that marriage isn't really about children, but rather about "promoting love." Under Goodridge, the state has an affirmative obligation to make sure that Aunt Tilly is doing Aunt Milly.
6.5.2007 10:12pm
Ramza:

KeithK
...Homosexual unions by their very nature can not directly produce offspring...

Your logic rests on the word directly. Homosexuals can produce children by multitude of factors, we treat children once they are produce the same regardless of how they came into being.

Yes historically this was not always the case , but it has been for several decades now (via artificial insemination in humans have been around since the 1940s, scientific papers on the subject and how to do it with animals since 1899, adoption and previous marriages culturally have been possible more recently than this). Marriage can still be about procreation and the reproduction of children.

Forget about the courts for the second and judging if such laws are legal. States have modified their marriage laws multiple times since then (California to be one man one woman in 1977, Virgina in 1975 to one man one women, I bet I can find similar examples in other states, I know of these dates off the top of my head due to California's history of DP/Marriage legislation and Virgina due to its history including an overarching law that prevents private legal agreements if they give any benefits similar to marriage thus things such as medical directives are possibly not legal under this law). When such states modified their laws since the 1950s what was their legal rational to set this bright line, besides historical tradition? The bright line is you must be able to produce children directly via traditional methods, yet no right or benefit of marriage gives any bearings on children that are produce in such a fashion, the current benefits and rights of marriage are granted regardless to how the children was created.

Since we are resting the bright line here, please list a benefit/right of marriage that you get due to producing children naturally/and of your own genetic material? Can someone please list one.
6.5.2007 10:20pm
JSO:
Homosexuals can produce children by multitude of factors, we treat children once they are produce the same regardless of how they came into being.
Except in the matter of letting the children have their own mother and father raise them -- or even acknowledging that it is good that children should have their own parents raise them, or natural that children should want to know their own parents.

Speaking in the language of "producing children of your own genetic material" reduces them to products of indifferent matter, rather than treating them as human beings. It's strange language to use about children. Parents hopefully create children together because they love each other, with the children as a natural manifestation of that love. Hopelessly old-fashioned sentiment, of course, and not the case in too many instances for too many children, but an ideal that the state has plenty of reasons for wanting to support or encourage. There's plenty of evidence children do best with their own, married mother and father (the Economist just wrote some about this last week).

Plenty of people do have issues with anonymous sperm donation and egg donation, surrogacy, etc., too, fwiw, even for heterosexuals.
6.5.2007 10:57pm
Ramza:
Personally I believe it is unethical to create a child by artificial insemination when their are 120,000 children (I believe that is the number, I am recalling from memory) that need homes (yes I know most of these children are note the cute 3 week old babies). I recognize though what I would do is different than what other people would do, and even if I find it personally distasteful, lots of kids are made in such a fashion, and it isn't their fault, thus why hurt them?

This does not stop the argument that marriage would also help children who are raised by gay parents, when their origin is adoption or they are from previous straight relationships and one of the parents is gay.
6.5.2007 11:13pm
JSO:
Also, to answer Randy, I do oppose gay adoption, but adoption isn't even what's at issue in most of these discussions. Wanting to have your own children not just limited to straight couples, but to gay couples as well. That's a whole booming segment of the fertility industry, because gay couples want their kids to be related to one of them (can't be both). If gay couples could get "married," they'd be able to demand the right to bring kids into those "marriages," and there would be no way to even try to regulate fertility treatments to limit them to straight married couples. Even kids who grow up in loving homes but without their mother or father usually feel like they're missing something, and want to know where they come from. Why would you intentionally deny them that?
6.5.2007 11:19pm
Zoe E Brain (mail) (www):
For Goodness' sake, where is our Humanity?

This whole legal schlemozzle is a mess, and it's getting messier.

Here's one area where the "Marriage is between one man and one woman" meme comes unstuck.

Medically, there is a small minority who cannot be made to fit in the "unequivocally male" or "unequivocally female" categories, and I'm not talking about homo- or hetero-sexuality, I'm talking biologically. This "small minority" is in theory 1.7% of the population, but in practice is more like 1 in 1000. That means 300,000 in the US alone, rather more than many minority groups.

I happen to be one of those cases that tests the whole legal situation, and shows what an inhuman mess it is.

Biologically, I'm Intersexed. My blood has 46xy chromosomes, though we're not sure about the rest. I have unambiguous female genitalia now, but for most of my life, I looked more male than female. My UK birth certificate says "boy". My UK passport says "F" - based on medical evidence.

I'm married to another woman, and with medical help, we have a son. I'm sterile now, as the result of natural changes to my body that happen as I grow older, and look less masculine. Any female glands I may have had were vestigial, and there's no trace of any since surgery when I was young. My male glands atrophied as part of a natural process.

I made the decision to "hurry up" and make the process more complete, with surgery and hormones, but according to Medicare Australia, I'd already "crossed the gender divide" before treatment. Hormonally, I became female in Mid 2005. Psychologically, I've always been a woman, but when you have a body that looks like a Rugby player (as I had initially), there's not much point in pursuing that issue.

So I'm in a same-sex marriage, in a jurisdiction where the contract of a new same-sex marriage is illegal - but a marriage that becomes same-sex remains valid. Should we divorce, I can only legally marry a man, anyway.

Situations like mine are exceptional (1 in several million), yet surely the Law should not discriminate against someone due to a congenital abnormality? And there are tens of thousands of similar cases in the USA, where the change was entirely due to medical intervention, rather than partially.

I'll summarise:

* We allow marriage between couples who are infertile.

* We disallow marriage between couples who are capable of having children together, if one or both is Intersexed and has been categorised as being of the "wrong" sex.

So much for the "Marriage is about procreation" argument. That may be the intent, but that's not what the law enforces.

I always thought that marriage was more than just legalised fornication. That it was supposed to be about Love, and Partnership. Two people becoming as one. I cannot see how same-sex relationships between two people who love each other do not qualify.

The attempts to prevent same-sex relationships on religious grounds are obviously discriminatory, though that does not automatically make them unjust. But it does mean that there had better be some cogent, logical reasons for this discrimination, not airy-fairy (rancid non-PC pun intended) waffle about procreation.

If it is required now that someone subscribe to a subset of Christian beliefs of a particular set of denominations in order to be granted full human rights, then let that be said, out in the open. After all, we disallow polygamy and polyandry, which some religions consider acceptable. Just don't be hypocritical about it.

Getting off Theory and Philosophical debate, remember that some people have already had their previously legal entitlements withdrawn. Such entitlements were at negligible cost, yet have caused genuine hardship.

I repeat, where is the Humanity? Or, if you like, and to use an old-fashioned un-PC term, where is the Christian Charity?
6.5.2007 11:51pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):

Aside from the snide and ignorant equation of homosexuality with a "someone's sexual fetish," and aside from the fact that Equal Protection has been applied to women, even though it's unlikely the drafters had them specificially in mind (textualism, remember?), I hope you realize that _Lawrence_ wasn't an equal protection case.


Joseph, I realize that reading comprehension much like logical reasoning are usually a struggle for you but nothing I wrote made any reference to or had anything to do with the Lawrence decision.
6.5.2007 11:59pm
Soldats (mail):
Why is it impossible to have a discussion on Volokh.com about legal issues pertaining to gays without the discussion devolving into fabricated issues like a "child's right to 2 biological parents" that is not related to the discussion at hand.

I do have a question regarding the initial topic: What is stopping the state from offering folks either family health insurance or extra pay equivalent to that insurance so that any form of family where one person works for the state can either utilize employer provided insurance or buy their own privately?
Is it legal to do so under Michigan law? And if so, is it just their unwillingness to make such changes the only thing holding such an implementation back?
6.6.2007 12:24am
Daniel950:
Is isn't about nuance: It's about facts. So thanks for making it clear that you don't give a crap about the facts.


You misunderstand, once again. I don't give a crap that you pretend to argue that it matters that Catholic Charities had provided adoptions to homosexuals in the past, because I know that the actions of a few dissenting Catholics mean nothing. My point is essentially the same as Caslim: "Grown children, mothers, fathers, beneficiaries, sisters, brothers are all out in the cold because homosexuals are first in line here." Cry me a river if a law designed to end same-sex domestic partner benefits, ends domestic partner benefits.

Yet study after study has shown, both in Britain and the US, that children of gay parents do just as well as children of hetero parents.


When gays stop referring to children as products of genetic material, perhaps you'll have a point. Until then, I'll stick with the time-tested idea that a child needs a mother and a father. Every person who supports homosexual "marriage" or homosexual adoption does not think that a mother or father provides anything unique to a child's development, or that their dynamic interaction is worthwhile to a child.

It's really only a matter of time before homosexual activists begin attacking Mothers Day and Fathers Day. Heck, maybe they already do.
6.6.2007 12:31am
Cruising Troll:
Okay, let's start with a number of simple observations. "Similar Unions"... anybody who advocates "domestic partnerships" or "civil unions" as an alternative to "marriage", with identical features of marriage except for the blessing of a religious figure as a "solution" to this is, at best, engaged in willful sophistry, and at worst, a treacherous poltroon. As The Bard once said, "a rose, by any other name..." Call 'em Freedom Fries or French Fries, they're still frys.

It is not the word "marriage" that is being argued over, it is the social and legal structure, and who should be granted the benefits (by, incidentally, third parties) and saddled with the obligations attendant to that structure. "Civil unions" and other linguistic flim flammery are simply echoes of The Music Man.

A simple question for gay marriage advocates:
What are the concrete benefits to society that justify including gays in the structure?

Last, one more simple question: if an emotion (same sex attraction) is justification for radically restructuring society, why isn't another emotion (fear) equally legitimate?
6.6.2007 1:16am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Fun and games. These are invariably some of the more contentious debates at volokh.com.

Slater:

Whackjob goes a bit overboard, but the reality is that when you are on the public payroll, you are subject to the will of the people. Yes, they may want a good public university. But many voters if given the choice between losing a couple of promising candidates and not having the state pay for gay partner benefits, would vote for the later, in a heartbeat.

The problem is that if someone were to prioritize public expenditures and goals, listing them from 1 to 100 or so, eliminating gay partner beneifits would probably be 50 places ahead of attracting the best candidate to some politically correct department in a law school. Actually, many voters are liable to put the public university system in its entirety, excluding athletic teams, below eliminating gay partnership benefits. Definately a law school would be quite a bit lower.

You, working for a public university, obviously believe in the product. But many are not convinced. Indeed, if I could vote where my money went in Colorado, one of the first places I would defund would be the University of Colorado. We see all these profs with tenure often teaching only a class or so a year, and even then, the TAs do most of the grunt work. And wonder, why? Why should the taxpayers support almost useless PC scholorship? And pay a lot of these profs far more than they would make outside academia - without the ability to fire them for anything short of very gross misconduct (Ward Churchill is apparently suing to keep his job there, despite repeated findings of gross lack of professionalism).

So, the fact that a couple of top candidates steer around your school because of this issue isn't going to make much of an impact with many, if not most, of the voters in your state.

Finally, I fail to see why this provides any support for socialized medicine. Rather, as suggested above, the problem is in the fact that employers can deduct healthcare and individuals cannot. That is a tax issue that would be trivial to fix - just make it deductable for everyone. Or no one and count monies spent on healthcare as taxable income. Either would eliminate this problem, and many more.
6.6.2007 2:16am
Grover Gardner (mail):
"What are the concrete benefits to society that justify including gays in the structure?"

What are the concrete benefits to society of marriage at all? Some of the commonly cited ones are: protection of children, emotional and financial stability, prolonged life, increased productivity, sexual sobriety, decreased dependence on the state, a legal framework for the sharing and division of property, etc.

Which of the above would *not* apply to gay people?

"...if an emotion (same sex attraction) is justification for radically restructuring society, why isn't another emotion (fear) equally legitimate?"

First of all, is a straight person's attraction to the opposite sex an "emotion" or an undeniable biological response? A straight man might be sexually attracted to many women, but have a strong emotional response to only one or two. But more to the point, fear is certainly a *legitimate* response to many things, triggering as it does our instincts for self-preservation. But it's also important to distinguish rational from irrational fears, or fears based on ignorance and superstition, especially in the arena of public policy-making.
6.6.2007 3:08am
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Even kids who grow up in loving homes but without their mother or father usually feel like they're missing something, and want to know where they come from. Why would you intentionally deny them that?"

JSO, do you go around asking your neighbors and colleagues at work how their children came about?
6.6.2007 3:24am
Cornellian (mail):
Whackjob goes a bit overboard, but the reality is that when you are on the public payroll, you are subject to the will of the people. Yes, they may want a good public university. But many voters if given the choice between losing a couple of promising candidates and not having the state pay for gay partner benefits, would vote for the later, in a heartbeat.

A rationally self-interested Californian might usefully recall the words of Garrison Keillor - there's a reason why the iPod was designed in California, not Alabama. Let Michigan let its prejudices govern its hiring decisions and let California hire based on what you can do, not who you sleep with, and we'll see which economy does better.
6.6.2007 3:30am
Randy R. (mail):
"What is there to fear about a man suing his ex-wife to remove her from custody and visitation rights -- to protect his children from her bitterness towards his sexual orientation that broke up that family. That'll never happen, right? McGreevey is no monster, he's just a homosexual.

And what is there to fear, really? Answer that, and you may just be able to reach the brass ring for this discussion.

Is the fear that someone's love and life dies because they don't have medical insurance of their own? Grown children, mothers, fathers, beneficiaries, sisters, brothers are all out in the cold because homosexuals are first in line here. What is there to be afraid of? That homosexuality might just be something akin to everything else in the world, not in the front of the line, not in the forefront of social policy consideration? Just what is the fear -- exactly..."

Actually, gays have already addressed that fear by simply NOT getting married or civil unionized where it is available. IF we had this fear that you assume, then we would all sign up at the first chance. Otherwise, I can't make any sense of your post.

Caslim:"Someone give me one coherent answer to any of the points I've raised, or just answer me that without Randy-ranting about how unfair it is that the world doesn't pamper the gay-proclaimed-identity enough."

Really? I've said that they world doesn't 'pamper' us enough? Where? Please -- go ahead -- show us where I or any other gay person has been asking for something that you don't already have. You have the right to marry, but I don't. You have the right to serve in the military, but I don't. You have the right to be free of discrimination in your job, but for me in most jurisdictions, I don't. You have the right to adopt children, but in four states I do not.

And somehow all this means I'm pampered? Clearly, your blind hatred of gays is without logic or meaning.
6.6.2007 9:28am
Randy R. (mail):
Cruising Troll:"A simple question for gay marriage advocates:
What are the concrete benefits to society that justify including gays in the structure? "

Very simple. Even Charles Krauthammer, the conservative columnist, has recognized the 'concrete benefits.' Follow along with tme:

A gay couple, either two men or two women, live and love each other as two straight people do. In every outward appearance, they act as married couples. They decide to either adopt a child, perhaps a girl from one of the teeming orphanages of China, or in the case of the women, one get pregnant. They have the child and raise it. One parent stays at home to take care of the child or children, while the other is the breadwinner.

However, without the benefit of marriage, the stay at home parent cannot get adequate health care coverage from his husband, because only married people can get coverage. So, either they have to pay extraordinary amounts for insurance or do without. How does that help the family?

Or, one of the parents dies, and it happens to be the adoptive or natural birth parent. In the eyes of the law, the remainings spouse is nothing to the child, and so the child can be taken away from the only other parent the child has known and placed in foster care. How does that benefit the child?

Or, the breadwinning parent dies, but because they are not married, they don't get the spousal tax benefits, nor do they get social security benefits, thereby greatly reducing the funds available to raise the children.

Shall I go on?
6.6.2007 9:36am
houston dude:
I think that inadvertedly Bruce Hayden got to the bottom of it when he said that

But many voters if given the choice between losing a couple of promising candidates and not having the state pay for gay partner benefits, would vote for the later, in a heartbeat.

So the real issue is "not to pay for gay partner benefits". It is not, "not to pay for unmarried partner benefits", but, "not to pay for gay partner benefits", with gay being the key operative word.

So at the end it boils down to animus against the gay people, and all the discussion about whether public universities are good or bad, or what children needs are is just the politically correct facade so as not to say what it is in some of the 'voters-on-a-heartbeat' minds: "we don't like gay people and we'd rather they did not exist, and if we can make it miserable enough for them, they might just go away."

Its funny and sad to see so many people bringing forward arguments about why certain kind of "other people" (the gays) should not have the benefits that, for whatever historical reasons, every worker in America, be it in the public or private sector, have come to expect.

Of course, none of them would agree, it the tables turned, that those benefits should not apply to them, but is very good that gays do not get them, because they don't like gays.

And to say that gays could get them all right if they just married someone of the opposite sex is the most hypocrital utterance ever made. Would they ever take a gay partner should the law be the opposite, and only same-sex couples would be entitled to benefits? I would think no. I would think that they would say that it is impossible to them to have a relationship with a same-sex person because they were born that way.

But of course, it's only the gays that are loosing the benefits that this people have, so is no big deal. They would vote to take benefits away from gays, how would I say it? Yes, in a heartbeat.
6.6.2007 9:50am
Randy R. (mail):
JSO: "Even kids who grow up in loving homes but without their mother or father usually feel like they're missing something, and want to know where they come from. Why would you intentionally deny them that?"


Then perhaps you should ask the children of gay parents whether they think they 'missed out on something.' If THEY are the ones you are so concerned about, why don't you seek them out and actually do some research and find out? Check your local PFLAG chapter -- you will find them there.

What you will find, of course, is that they generally love their parents and wouldn't trade them for any other person. Much like the kids of hetero parents.

And still, you completely ignore the subject of foster kids. Foster kids, by every measure, do better through adoption to good families, EVEN GAY families, than remaining in foster care. But you just ignore that, and assume, no, better that gays NOT adopt and let the kids languish in foster care than to have a normal life.

This to me proves this isn't about the kids at all. It's about hating gays so much as to not even care about the consequences to anyone else.

whackjobb:"But the condition you seek... gay marriage... is new. It hasn't been with us... it's just plain new. To seek to plop this down into the existing fabric and contract of traditional marriage is unreasonable. It ignores the evolutionary process that's taken place to get us to where we are today... POOF... with none of the same societal work."

Not really. AS I've mentioned numerous times before, which everyone hear conveniently ignores, is the fact that in Belgium, The Netherland, Canada and Spain, and the state of Massachusetts, gays have been allowed to get married for several years now.

Of course, everyone's def of "new" might be different. But no one has yet shown ANY ill effects in these places because of gay marriage. Please name just one. And in any case, as time goes by, the burden is going to fall more upon you than us to justify why gays can't get married. If no ill effects continue in these countries after ten years, 15 years, then will you be satisfied?

The whole issue of gay marriage: People seem to think that if you prevent gays from marrying, somehow that will prevent gays from having or raising children, or from partnering up. Yet, gay couples are acting and living just like married couples ALREADY. Thousands and thousands of gay couples are raising children ALREADY. You can't stop it. It's only a question of whether you want to recognize reality or bury your head in the sand. that was Charles Krauthammer's point.

Daniel: "It's really only a matter of time before homosexual activists begin attacking Mothers Day and Fathers Day. Heck, maybe they already do."

Oh, didn't you hear? We hate apple pie, and wish to ban it's eating across America. We also love to burn the flag, and we can't wait to have sex with animals. But no -- this is nothing about your blind prejudice against gays, is it? God help anyone who might be a friend or relative of yours who is gay....
6.6.2007 9:52am
Randy R. (mail):
But I'll bite.

Exactly what is it about gays that you hate so much, Daniel? Is the way we walk, or talk? Is it how we have sex? Did you beat up gays when you were in school? Or were you beat up by a gay kid?

If you are not gay yourself, then why do you expend so much energy on this issue? Obviously you follow it and post here frequently whenever there is a gay issue. Why the obsession? If it doesn't concern you, why spend so much time? Is your hatred towards gays men the same as towards lesbians? If not, why not?

I'm just curious to know why people hate us so much....
6.6.2007 9:56am
springjourney (mail):
we don't like gay people and we'd rather they did not exist because they want to destroy our way of life and democracy in this country.
Homosexuality is a SEXUAL FEELING it is not a human right.
No one should be awarded public benefits because of the feeeelings, so f...off man.

DC: Please avoid this sort of inflammatory comment in the future, especially the completely gratuitous suggested expletive at the end. Ordinarily I would delete this, but I think it's a good example of incivility and, frankly, of a particular mindset in the debate over same-sex marriage.
6.6.2007 10:04am
springjourney (mail):

If you are not gay yourself, then why do you expend so much energy on this issue?


To be gay does not mean to be different, everyone can have a gay feeling. Society cannot give a special treatement to gay feeling. How about give more benefits to those who have no feeling at all.
6.6.2007 10:08am
Hoosier:
1)A "treacherous poltroon"? Is that some type of character in Dungeons and Dragons?

2) One man, one woman marriage is not a "meme." It's a centuries-old tradition. *Again* I repeat that I have no reason to oppose gay marriage. But what *does* concern me tremendously is the general sense in Liberal (old-style) societies like ours that the past is nothing but an encumberance. Too many gay-rights activists mouth such slogans. So did Reagan. ("We have it in our power to begin the world anew." No we *don't*!)

Those of us dispositional conservatives would like to see a little more of what Chesterton called "the democracy of the dead." A little less certitude that change is always for the better.

3) Randy R.: We *hate you so much* because we were forced to slog through "MobyDick" in 11th grade even the parts about whales that really had nothing to do with the plot and character development and were not at all interesting except for the part about whale semen which was interesting but kinda gross and then we got to college and had to read the damned thing again and our professor was fresh out of NYU and she took a gendered interpretation of everything which would have ruined it for us anyway but then she insists that Meliville is a homosexual who is so deep in the closet that he's finding his Christmas presents but it doesn't matter 'cause the gay stuff is all in there anyway even if he didn't know it and we can't be "bound by illigitimate authorial intervention" and we have to write some long essay about 'homoerotic themes in the 19th Century American novel' which really blew because the Cubs had finally made it to the playoffs but we didn't get to watch because we hated the paper topic so much that we put it off until the last minute and of course that came in mid-October and so we had to write about what we kept calling the "Gay Whale Problem" and the whale was named "Dick" and that didn't help and then the Cubs lost anyway and we got a B- on the paper because we were unable to "surender the master narrativity" and Katy Flynn from the class told us that same day that she just "wants to be friends."

See? It's all rather simple and reasonable.

QED.
6.6.2007 10:21am
Caslim (mail):

Why do you hate marriage so much?

Why do you hate me so much that I can't get married?

Those aren't the desperate cries of the homosexual couple, those are the cries of the poor geek being turned down by a woman.

Hate is a strong word, and animus even more incisive. If we don't pamper the homosexual relationship with the benefits that we reserve for stabilizing the in-tact family, it must be because we hate them.

I'm sorry, you may not ask every child about their childhood to understand your own childhood. Parents not giving you the keys to the car meant -- animus. They hated you, remember? Remember what your parents told you (if they loved you, rather than feared you) "the world doesn't owe you a living".

Do you love the homosexual or do you fear them? Truth probably is you don't see a reason to love them more than the next deserving household, or other self-proclaimed identity born of a sexual lifestyle. And that is the sad truth that the world doesn't revolve around any particular bunch of self-proclaimed identities. We're dealing with reality, our human reality, do you leave your children up to the state? Do you leave your children up to the wife? Do you pursue a sexual lifestyle or do you pursue your responsibilities?

No-Fault divorce was well intentioned (I assume) yet wound up being a boon to the adultery industry. You want sexual freedom? Well then we've arranged for you to mail in your parental status each month in a check. And for large segments of our society, that is all fatherhood means. What will fatherhood mean when the lesbian couple hires men to have children with them -- and then anonymously remain hidden from their children their whole lives.

How is that protecting children? Who came up with this ridiculous plan -- and who really thinks this will enervate marriage?

The world doesn't owe you a living, benefits, or anything of the kind. No one has expressed any altruism in homosexuality that would apply exclusively to them, yet they apply it exclusively to themselves. The parade of well intentioned homosexual couples doesn't seem so well intentioned for anyone else but themselves when you look at it. None at all. Just expected entitlement, their homosexuality brings them first in line for benefits. Why? Will anyone answer that.

I'm sorry but this train isn't a guilt trip of accused animus. It isn't a fools paradise of a nation where any group can claim to be oppressed and become the new blacks of this country. Black leaders mourn the lack of fatherhood in their communities, the welfare benefits have replaced them to women long ago. What freedom they have... What benefits to be envied.

A cry for health benefits to mean something to employers because two people have shacked up is pampering a sexual lifestyle. That is true for homosexuals and heterosexuals. A cry for health benefits for two people who have entrusted themselves in a mutual concerned relationship is helping people support others they care about. These are not the same thing. They aren't even on the same moral scale at all.
6.6.2007 10:27am