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What Next for Same-Sex Marriage in California?

A few observations:

1. This decision is based solely on the California Constitution. Within the federal system, the California Supreme Court's view of the meaning of the California Constitution is final, and the U.S. Supreme Court has no jurisdiction to revisit it. So there can be no federal review of the question whether Prop. 8 violates the California Constitution.

2. Supporters of same-sex marriage rights can of course argue to the U.S. Supreme Court that the U.S. Constitution mandates recognition of same-sex marriage, in all states and under federal law. But it seems unlikely that the Court would accept such an argument at this point, and in any case this case is not a good vehicle for that, since the decision below was all about the California Constitution. (I'm not sure that federal constitutional arguments were even made by the challengers, but in any case they weren't considered by the Court.)

3. Supporters of same-sex marriage rights can also argue that the Full Faith and Credit Clause requires recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages, both in California and elsewhere. I'm not an expert on the subject, but I my sense is that this argument will fail, at least before the current U.S. Supreme Court and probably also before many state and federal courts (at least ones that aren't willing to find a constitutional right to same-sex marriage in the first place).

4. Finally, supporters of same-sex marriage rights can also try to put on the ballot an amendment that would repeal Prop. 8, and would amend the California Constitution to actually recognize a right to same-sex marriage (or to authorize the normal legislative process to enact legislation recognizing such a right). My sense is that such a proposal will indeed soon pass, perhaps not in the next election cycle but likely within the next 10 to 15 years, if I'm reading social trends correctly.

cmr:
Wouldn't #4 be a revision?
5.26.2009 5:18pm
Mike (mail) (www):
No, it wouldn't be, just another amendment...go read today's decision :-)
5.26.2009 5:23pm
M N Ralph:
It's pretty obvious that the US in general and California in particular are headed toward same sex marriage. Just look at the polls. Not only has support for SSM increased dramatically among all age cohorts within the last 10 years, but the differences between older and younger voters is remarkable, with a large majority of Generation Y'ers now supporting SSM. If conservatives want to beat back SSM, they'll have to start convincing the younger generation to oppose it and I just don't see that happening.
5.26.2009 5:24pm
Oren:
What about the Romer argument -- the Federal Constitution does not mandate gay marriage but the State Constitution may not forbid it. It will never fly with the current court (many of whom probably would no doubt reverse Romer anyway) but it's plausible enough to try.
5.26.2009 5:27pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):

3. Supporters of same-sex marriage rights can also argue that the Full Faith and Credit Clause requires recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages, both in California and elsewhere.

Before November, California would have recognized Mass. SSMs, right? Right now, is it the case that no out of state SSMs are recognized in California, even though some in state ones are? Even if they were performed using the time California legalized SSM?
5.26.2009 5:29pm
Tom J (mail):
My understanding is that the federal constitutional issues were deliberately avoided. It seems to me that the strongest case supporting a federal constitutional challenge to Proposition 8--particularly in light of today's California Supreme Court decision saying (in essence) that the only thing taken away was the word "marriage"--is Roemer. But given that it wasn't argued, I suspect the the tactical decisions behind the move to overturn Proposition 8 thought that the (US) Supreme Court wasn't ready to embrace the implications of Roemer to gay marriages. Thus, they (the advocates of overturning Proposition 8) are saving the implications of Roemer for another day.
5.26.2009 5:29pm
Harold1995:
There are only 2 sure votes for mandating SSM on the current SCOTUS, and one of those votes is leaving.

There is a reason that homosexual activists have avoided the Federal Courts like the plague.
5.26.2009 5:32pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):

There are only 2 sure votes for mandating SSM on the current SCOTUS, and one of those votes is leaving.

How did you devine which 2? All four on the left voted together in Romer, Lawrence, and Boy Scouts. Kennedy was also in the majority to the first two, and the deciding vote in Boy Scouts.
5.26.2009 5:38pm
Harold1995:
How did you devine which 2? All four on the left voted together in Romer, Lawrence, and Boy Scouts. Kennedy was also in the majority to the first two, and the deciding vote in Boy Scouts.


Kennedy went to painful depths to ensure that Lawrence didn't extend to granting governmental recognition to homosexual relationships. I think we can all hazard a guess as to where Alito, Thomas, Scalia and Roberts stand.

Despite Breyer's "active liberty" ideology, he has shown himself to be one that avoids broad sweeping policy decisions. Stevens is senile, but he too would probably recognize the extreme nature of the Pro-SS"M" position.

That leaves... a Justice who thinks the age of consent should be lowered to Twelve, and a certain Justice who has more than a few "rumors" following him around. You know, the one that gets assaulted while "jogging". In any case, the latter Justice is leaving.
5.26.2009 5:47pm
Stevie Miller (mail):
My sense is that such a proposal will indeed soon pass, perhaps not in the next election cycle but likely within the next 10 to 15 years, if I'm reading social trends correctly.

Be patient. Wait. usually means .... Never.

Congratulations Professor. Your smug happiness at this "victory" is not so subtle.

Tell me, will you be breaking out the champagne tonight there in California, or gathering with a group of like-minded commentators to cheer this dismal declaration of California's values? Beat by Iowa. Heh.
5.26.2009 6:09pm
Some dude:
Why the discussion on what is next for SSM in California? There is finally some closure on the issue. The proposal process has run its course and it appears the judicial branch is done sticking its nose in for now. Can't we take a breather?
5.26.2009 6:17pm
ShelbyC:
Stevie Miller:


Congratulations Professor. Your smug happiness at this "victory" is not so subtle.


Isn't the prof pro-ssm?
5.26.2009 6:29pm
moqui:
If (when) the new, pro-gay marriage proposition is passed sometime in the next decade, and

if (when) anti-gay marriage forces challenge its constitutionality

Will Justice Moreno remain consistent and call it a "revision?"
5.26.2009 6:37pm
Fub:
4. Finally, supporters of same-sex marriage rights can also try to put on the ballot an amendment that would repeal Prop. 8, ... My sense is that such a proposal will indeed soon pass, perhaps not in the next election cycle but likely within the next 10 to 15 years, if I'm reading social trends correctly.
I think this is likely, but not yet a cinch.

One factor that distinguishes SSM opponents from opponents of many other reforms is that there is no established government bureaucracy, or government funding programs, to press politics for maintaining the status quo. There isn't a "Bureau of Gay Regulation" to throw government weight pro or con on the issue.

Farm subsidies are hard to change, because there is established government bureaucracy (actually more than one), a financially interested contituency ("we want free government money") with lobbyists, etc. Most any taxation issue has an active tax increase constituency both within and outside of government. Drug law reform is hard for much the same reasons in spades -- government actively funnels money and resources into campaigns opposing reform initiatives.

But with SSM, "the people" are mostly on their own. I think that's a good thing.
5.26.2009 6:38pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Stevens is senile, but he too would probably recognize the extreme nature of the Pro-SS"M" position.

Get that M out of scare quotes. Only the lowest form of humanity would denigrate the solemn, lifetime loving commitment of two people.
5.26.2009 6:47pm
Stevie Miller (mail):
Isn't the prof pro-ssm?

So is President Barack, right? They're sure in 10. 15 years or so, then the time will be right to treat gay folks as equals.

Now, not so much the time. Wait... wait... wait... one day, you'll convince everyone of your worthiness. Until then, no equal rights for you! Lol -- all 100% moral and legal too, as Prof. V repeatedly delights in telling us today.
5.26.2009 6:52pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
I think Eugene's fourth point is almost certainly right; I'll be flabbergasted if Prop. 8 is not itself repealed by initiative within a decade, likely sooner. As long as the authors of the repeal initiative have the sense not to bring it onto the ballot in 2012, when Obama is running for re-election ...
5.26.2009 6:54pm
ShelbyC:
Stevie Miller:

So is President Barack, right?


Barak is Anti-SSM. Prof EV supports SSM from a policy prospective, but doesn't believe it is contitiutionaly required. Many folks whose interest in Constitutional Law is stronger than their interest in Gay Rights feel that way.
5.26.2009 7:03pm
Perseus (mail):
Only the lowest form of humanity would denigrate the solemn, lifetime loving commitment of two multiple people creatures.
5.26.2009 7:08pm
cmr:
Get that M out of scare quotes. Only the lowest form of humanity would denigrate the solemn, lifetime loving commitment of two people.


I'd like to order Self-Righteous Hyperbole with a side order of Needless Invective, please. No parsley. I'm allergic.
5.26.2009 7:10pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Perseus, why don't you go to a gay wedding and announce loudly how what they are doing is no different than polygamy?

This sort of thing is just a cover for homophobic bigotry.
5.26.2009 7:11pm
Dave N (mail):
Stevie Miller,

I suspect Eugene is correct. I must disagree with your "Be patient. Wait. usually means .... Never."

I remember in ConLaw being deeply impressed with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund's approach to Plessy v. Ferguson (itself a test case that ended up going the wrong way).

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund undermined Plessy through a series of other cases, so that when Brown came before the Court there was Plessy on the one side of the scale and more recent cases on the other.

Because of these other cases, Plessy was no longer doctrinely sound and ripe for rejection.
5.26.2009 7:13pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I'd like to order Self-Righteous Hyperbole with a side order of Needless Invective, please. No parsley.

Cmr, there's nothing hyperbolic about it. There are thousands of loving gay and lesbian couples who have gotten married. They have beautiful relationships. They have built their future together. And then some smug bigot comes along and wants to put their marriage in scare quotes. It's insulting, demeaning, and homophobic. And the people who do it are the Bull Connors and George Wallaces of our age.
5.26.2009 7:13pm
Harold1995:
Cmr, there's nothing hyperbolic about it. There are thousands of loving gay and lesbian couples who have gotten married. They have beautiful relationships. They have built their future together. And then some smug bigot comes along and wants to put their marriage in scare quotes. It's insulting, demeaning, and homophobic. And the people who do it are the Bull Connors and George Wallaces of our age.


No they haven't. They've only managed to play pretend. Same-Sex "marriage" is an oxymoron. No matter how many idiots in government go along with it.

Your post does demonstrate what this is all about though. You want to FORCE others to accept your reality. If we refuse, you'd be perfectly content to initiate force against us.
5.26.2009 7:21pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Harold, go to a gay wedding and tell everyone there that they are playing "pretend".

And no, calling the right-wing convention of putting marriage in scare quotes bigotry isn't "forcing" you to do anything. It is simply saying that bigotry and homophobia should have consequences and should be called out.

You can go ahead and hate gays and lesbians if that's what you want to do. But you don't have a constitutional right not to be made uncomfortable and ostracized and called out for doing it.
5.26.2009 7:25pm
NotALawyer (mail):
Exactly Harold.

Gays are free to refer to themselves as married. They are also free to call tables chairs, call bananas apples, and dogs cats.

But it is not bigoted of me to say that two gays can't get married. Frankly, they can't have sex either. They can attempt "a reasonable fascilime thereof" but that's about it. Reality is reality, regardless of what anyone, including the government, says.
5.26.2009 7:27pm
cmr:
Cmr, there's nothing hyperbolic about it. There are thousands of loving gay and lesbian couples who have gotten married. They have beautiful relationships. They have built their future together. And then some smug bigot comes along and wants to put their marriage in scare quotes. It's insulting, demeaning, and homophobic. And the people who do it are the Bull Connors and George Wallaces of our age.


If the purpose behind legal marriage was to pat people on the back for jumping the broom, you'd actually have a point. But since marriage means a lot of things to a lot of different people, you have to contend with the fact that your definition isn't always going to come out on top.

Overuse of these accusatory terms just lessens any impact they may have.
5.26.2009 7:28pm
Robert West (mail) (www):
Before November, California would have recognized Mass. SSMs, right? Right now, is it the case that no out of state SSMs are recognized in California, even though some in state ones are? Even if they were performed using the time California legalized SSM?

There is a footnote which says the decision doesn't answer that.
5.26.2009 7:34pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
NotALawyer:

It isn't bigoted to argue that the law shouldn't permit gays to be married. I don't think much of the arguments for that position, but one can certainly appeal to tradition, etc., in saying that gays shouldn't be able to be legally married.

But that's different from actually refusing to recognize someone's actual legal marriage. Saying that they are playing "pretend". That what means so much for these couples is actually completely phony.

There's a difference between saying "I don't think the law should allow same-sex couples to get married" and saying "this 'marriage' you have is just a pretend marriage". One is a philosophical and legal argument. The other is spitting in someone's face.
5.26.2009 7:41pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
<i>If the purpose behind legal marriage was to pat people on the back for jumping the broom, you'd actually have a point. But since marriage means a lot of things to a lot of different people, you have to contend with the fact that your definition isn't always going to come out on top. </i>

That doesn't even make sense as a response to my point.
5.26.2009 7:42pm
Stevie Miller (mail):
Many folks whose interest in Constitutional Law is stronger than their interest in Gay Rights feel that way.

And do I get deleted if I point out that is a cowardly and unprincipled stand? You're affirming the right that one couples' committed love is somehow more worthy of legal recognition -- equal recognition and accompanying benefits -- than another.

He supports ... wait, wait. Right now, you are unworthy of equal status in society as others, based on personal characteristics. He finds that -- no, it strikes him -- repeatedly in today's post, as being the correct view.

Do I get deleted for putting it in those terms, uncouched by the neutral, principled legal analysis based on (cap those letters) Constitutional Law? For the record, it's not gay rights, it's simply equal rights. But enjoy your special privileges in California tonight based on the moral majority vote.
5.26.2009 7:48pm
Fub:
Harold1995 wrote at 5.26.2009 7:21pm:
[addressing Dilan Esper at 5.26.2009 7:13pm] Your post does demonstrate what this is all about though. You want to FORCE others to accept your reality. If we refuse, you'd be perfectly content to initiate force against us.
Uh oh. Maybe you didn't know that the VC records IP addresses of everyone who posts comments. Now they know who revealed teh gay sekrit plan to undermine Western Civilization (tm) by force.

Already thousands upon thousands of zombie servers are filling all IntarWeb tubes with data packets addressed to you. Every one of them has the Evil Bit set.
5.26.2009 7:50pm
Oren:

No they haven't. They've only managed to play pretend. Same-Sex "marriage" is an oxymoron. No matter how many idiots in government go along with it.

But who pretender is, and who is king ...


Your post does demonstrate what this is all about though. You want to FORCE others to accept your reality. If we refuse, you'd be perfectly content to initiate force against us.

You don't have accept anything you don't want to accept. Just the other day, I refused to recognize the marriage of my sister because her so-called-husband is a total dick. I haven't seen any HSM-supported battering down my door to force me to accept their marriage as legitimate (yet).
5.26.2009 7:58pm
ShelbyC:
Dilan Esper:

Only the lowest form of humanity would denigrate the solemn, lifetime loving commitment of two people.



So everybody throught history, and the vast, vast majority of folks on the planet today, are the lowest form of humanity?

And fess up. You thought the idea was ridiculous 15 years ago, didn't you?
5.26.2009 8:01pm
Oren:

But it is not bigoted of me to say that two gays can't get married. Frankly, they can't have sex either. They can attempt "a reasonable fascilime [sic] thereof" but that's about it.

Interesting. I know some swingers that insist you haven't had real sex until you've done it a group of 10 or more, but I assumed that was rhetorical. Little did I know that other people have the power to define the nature of my intimate relations in such absolute terms!
5.26.2009 8:01pm
gallileo:
Stevie Miller,

The fact that a certain end does not justify a particular means does not imply that that end isn't worth pursuing--just that a certain method isn't the right one.

Also, believing that something will inevitably happen 10-15 years from now isn't the same as believing that it shouldn't happen sooner.
5.26.2009 8:03pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
You thought the idea was ridiculous 15 years ago, didn't you?

15 years ago was 1994. I was in law school. I distinctly remember advocating gay marriage several times while I was in law school.

I didn't think the issue was ridiculous at all. It was (and is) a matter of simple equality.
5.26.2009 8:06pm
ShelbyC:

15 years ago was 1994.


Crap. I'm getting old.

Anywho, I hope gay folks out there, while being pissed that the govt won't recognize their marriage, will stop acting as if the state's opinion is determinive. There's only two people who can decide whether or not you're married.
5.26.2009 8:12pm
JWG (mail):
President Obama is anti-SSM? I thought he would be for it, since he is in one himself! (Yeah, that was bad, I know, I know... I will do my penance by uttering 500 ritual declarations of lust for Mrs. O)
5.26.2009 8:22pm
ShelbyC:
NotALawyer:

But it is not bigoted of me to say that two gays can't get married.


It's not bigoted. Marriage has beed defined that way for thousands of years. But you can make folks happy by working to remove that distinction, and it won't cost you a thing. So why are you against it?
5.26.2009 8:26pm
ShelbyC:

President Obama is anti-SSM? I thought he would be for it, since he is in one himself!


So what? During my 1st OSM I was anti-OSM.
5.26.2009 8:37pm
NotALawyer:
Why would I want to go around changing the meaning of a perfectly useful word like marriage? If some people would feel better if I referred to their cats as dogs, I still wouldn't do it. Dog is a useful word. I like having a word to describe dogs.

A lot of damage can be done by corrupting the language. For instance, we are all supposed to, out of politeness, accept the idea that one's gender is a choice: that a man who has certain surgeries and hormone treatments is a women. As politely as I can, I refuse. I won't refer to those who've undergone such things by their preferred pronouns (such as she for a man who has this surgery). This is not to be a jerk. It's refusing to go along with wishful thinking.
5.26.2009 8:44pm
ShelbyC:

I like having a word to describe dogs.


I do too. But I have a suspicion that limiting the word "marriage" to OSM has more to do with resentment over being told how to think, as is evident by all the charges of "bigotry" in these posts, and less to to with the utility of distinguishing SSM from OSM by words.
5.26.2009 9:00pm
Oren:

Marriage has beed [sic] defined that way for thousands of years.

For thousands of years, marriage defined as the dominion of the man over the woman (Ephesians 5:22-23 is convenient, but this is surely not merely a Christian thing). We changed that definition 30-50 years ago, so I'm pretty sure we can change it again if we like.

If anything, changing it from dominion to mutuality strikes me as a much more fundamental change than SSM, although that's clearly not something that can be hashed out objectively.
5.26.2009 9:10pm
Brian Westley (mail):
Any comments on this analysis?

Short version: the court upheld prop 8, which only reserves the word "marriage" for heterosexual government-recognized family relationships -- none of the court's reasoning in requiring an absolute equivalent for gays is affected by this amendment.

Here's a small bit from the court's opinion:
Proposition 8 reasonably must be interpreted in a limited fashion as eliminating only the right of same-sex couples to equal access to the designation of marriage, and as not otherwise affecting the constitutional right of those couples to establish an officially recognized family relationship.
5.26.2009 9:12pm
NotALawyer:
ShelbyC,

I agree with you, for the most part. It's not just utility. Changing the language is indeed a form of thought control, or if control is too strong a word, thought nudging. If we start referring to cats as dogs, we are being nudged into accepting that cats are just another kind of dogs. If you think cats are just another kind of dog, then this is fine. If you think they aren't, and it's important to maintain the distinction, then you fight the change in the language.
5.26.2009 9:15pm
ShelbyC:

For thousands of years, marriage defined [sic] as the dominion of the man over the woman (Ephesians 5:22-23 is convenient, but this is surely not merely a Christian thing)


'course it's not a coincidence that the folks who wrote Ephesians were celebate. :-). The rest of the folks who defined it that way probably only did so when their wives wern't around. The wife of Bath didn't seem so dominioned over, and there's plenty of references to domineered-over men in historical litterature.

And folks like to cite "Leave it to Beaver" or "Father Knows Best" as evidence of the marriage whose definition we changed 50 years ago. I'm thinking "the Honeymooners" was probably more realistic, though.
5.26.2009 9:35pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
With all respect, most vocal opponents of gay marriage are being dishonest when they claim they are just defending the language. They don't support gay equality under a different name either (e.g., civil unions).

Further, as I said, it doesn't matter how YOU would define marriage. Gay couples who are legally married are just that. They aren't "pretending" and only bigots would make that claim.

It's all about hatred of gays and lesbians, wanting to use state power to punish them. All the rest is window dressing.
5.26.2009 9:44pm
Perseus (mail):
There's a difference between saying "I don't think the law should allow same-sex couples to get married" and saying "this 'marriage' you have is just a pretend marriage". One is a philosophical and legal argument. The other is spitting in someone's face.

From a Socratic perspective, saying that "this 'marriage' you have is just a pretend marriage" is more philosophical than saying "I don't think the law should allow same-sex couples to get married" because the former statement goes to the heart of the issue, namely, what is marriage?
5.26.2009 9:47pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Perseus:

Say it to a gay couple's face at their wedding and tell me how "philosophical" it is.
5.26.2009 9:53pm
NotALawyer:
Regarding "It's all about hatred of gays and lesbians, wanting to use state power to punish them. All the rest is window dressing."

Getting into motivations is useless. Even if what you said was true, so what? Is it ok or useful for me to assert "For gays, it's all about their neediness. They know in their heart they're not normal, so they have this inherent need for the rest of us to affirm them." No, it isn't.
5.26.2009 9:56pm
CLS (mail) (www):
Sorry, but NotLawyered seems daft to me. Very, very daft.

I don't know why it assumed it will take 10 to 15 years to repeal Prop 8. I believe it is possible to repeal it in 2010.

A 2 point shift at the polls makes it a tie. Anything above that means victory for marriage equality. I believe that the high number of black voters for Obama, most of whom supported Prop 8, make up more than just 2 points. If Obama is not on the ballot, and thus they aren't inspired to turn out in droves, their generally authoritarian view of politics (socially conservative, economically liberal) won't swing the ballot. A lower turn out of black voters may be enough, by itself, to produce a win for Prop 8. And I would suspect that there was a 1 to 2 point shift in views just since it was passed anyway.
5.26.2009 9:58pm
Careless:
Dilan Esper: what's your obsession with doing all these things at a gay wedding?
5.26.2009 10:10pm
Perseus (mail):
Dilan Esper: what's your obsession with doing all these things at a gay wedding?

Good question. Where something is said would not seem to have any bearing on its validity.
5.26.2009 10:30pm
Oren:


Good question. Where something is said would not seem to have any bearing on its validity.

No, but many people will temper their words when speaking directly to those most deeply affected. Being at a gay marriage is not going to change anything philosophically, but it might change your point of view.
5.26.2009 10:33pm
Putting Two and Two...:

There's only two people who can decide whether or not you're married.


IRS agent and emergency-room nurse?

Wait, maybe that's INS agent...
5.26.2009 11:07pm
Milhouse (www):
CLS, the margin is a lot wider than 2 points. This time the pro-SSM people managed to hijack the "no" side of the referendum, and forced the anti-SSM people to take the "yes" side. They're unlikely to be able to pull off that trick twice. Next time the anti-SSM people will have the "no" side, and the 15-point-or-so advantage that gives.
5.27.2009 1:39am
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Getting into motivations is useless. Even if what you said was true, so what? Is it ok or useful for me to assert "For gays, it's all about their neediness. They know in their heart they're not normal, so they have this inherent need for the rest of us to affirm them." No, it isn't.

Motivations are important because bigotry is a horrible thing that needs to be ostracized and isolated and shunned over time. Yes, people have a First Amendment right to be bigots, but the way racists are now treated by polite society is the way homophobes will one day be treated. That's part of the process of the recognition of equality for gays and lesbians.
5.27.2009 12:31pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Good question. Where something is said would not seem to have any bearing on its validity.

The fact that you wouldn't say it to a gay couple's face at their wedding is an indicator that you know that these marriages, to the people involved, are not "pretend" or "dress up". And that ought to alert you to the fact that the statement is offensive and bigoted.
5.27.2009 12:32pm
ShelbyC:


There's only two people who can decide whether or not you're married.


IRS agent and emergency-room nurse?

Wait, maybe that's INS agent...


They can get it wrong, and it sucks when they do, and folks should fight to make sure they don't, but they don't have the final call.
5.27.2009 1:17pm
Larry Fafarman (mail) (www):
Dilan Esper said (5.26.2009 9:44pm) --
With all respect, most vocal opponents of gay marriage are being dishonest when they claim they are just defending the language. They don't support gay equality under a different name either (e.g., civil unions).

The percentage of people who support civil unions but do not support gay marriage is considerable. A current New York poll showed that 65 percent support civil unions but only 46 percent support gay marriage --
The Quinnipiac University poll finds 46 percent favor legalizing same-sex marriage, and 46 percent were opposed. In a 2004 poll, Quinnipiac found 55 percent of New Yorkers opposed same-sex marriage.

But the poll finds most New Yorkers -- 65 percent -- support civil unions that could provide most or all of the legal and property rights already given to married heterosexual couples.

Dilan Esper said (5.26.2009 7:41pm) --
There's a difference between saying "I don't think the law should allow same-sex couples to get married" and saying "this 'marriage' you have is just a pretend marriage". One is a philosophical and legal argument. The other is spitting in someone's face.

Calling a gay union a "marriage" is also spitting into some people's faces.

Many gays are very self-centered -- they think that the world revolves around them. I am disgusted about the large numbers of straight bleeding-heart liberals who wring their hands over the supposed oppression of gays. I would be inclined to support gays if they promoted sexual freedom for straight people, but since they don't, I am not inclined to support them.
5.27.2009 2:53pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Larry:

1. Notice how I said "most vocal opponents". Yes, there are lots of folks who support gay rights but not gay marriage. But they aren't the ones putting marriage in scare quotes. They aren't the ones arguing that gay marriage threatens civilization and the family unit. Etc.

The vocal opponents of gay marriage are almost all homophobes. You certainly don't see much advocacy on THIS thread of gay rights, stressing the importance of ensuring that gays can form lasting unions but just saying that it should be a civil union rather than a marriage. Rather, you have comments about gays "pretending" to be married.

Calling a gay union a "marriage" is also spitting into some people's faces.

Only the faces of bigots who deserve the spittle. Seriously, if one are offended that a union of gay people might be called the same name as one's own union, the ONLY explanation of that is the person thinks gays are inferior. Otherwise, one wouldn't care.

And people who think gays are inferior are bad people who deserve ferocious condemnation and social ostracism.

I am disgusted about the large numbers of straight bleeding-heart liberals who wring their hands over the supposed oppression of gays.

We still live in a world where people get beaten up in some communities for even being suspected of being gay. Where being gay gets you kicked out of the military. Where gay people can't bring their partners into the United States to live with them.

People who deny the oppression of gays are like people who deny the Holocaust-- they know it actually exists, but by denying it, they know they can viciously insult gays.
5.27.2009 4:01pm
Perseus (mail):
The fact that you wouldn't say it to a gay couple's face at their wedding is an indicator that you know that these marriages, to the people involved, are not "pretend" or "dress up".

I could just as easily show up at a meeting of the Flat Earth Society and explain that the Earth is an oblate spheroid, but I doubt that their beliefs ("what is true for them") would change either. Would that be offensive too? And in any event, not wishing to offend (or being offended) is a matter of morality (related to thumos), not intellect.
5.27.2009 4:18pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Perseus:

And the fact that you think that the Flat Earth Society is analogous to the rights of gays and lesbians says everything that needs to be said about how you feel towards gays and lesbians. You prove my point.
5.27.2009 4:30pm
Perseus (mail):
You prove my point.

And your point, as usual, is that ONLY animus against group X can explain disagreement. Witch hunting remains alive and well in the 21st century.
5.27.2009 5:36pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Perseus, it isn't "disagreement" to analogize gays and lesbians to Flat Earthers, and to call their loving committed marriages "pretend" marriages. "Disagreement" would be "I personally think same-sex sexual relations are immoral" or "I understand the importance of equality for gays and lesbians, but I think we should maintain the traditional definition of marriage and provide substantively equal alternatives for gays and lesbians".

What you are doing is saying that because it is possible to disagree with parts of the gay rights agenda without being a bigot (which is true), that ANY argument against gay rights must by its nature be non-bigoted. But that doesn't follow. The arguments you are making, the analogies you are drawing, are all designed to say that gays and lesbians AREN'T equal, that their marriages AREN'T marriages, that they are the equivalent of the most ignorant groups in society (i.e., those who deny that the earth is round).

If you want gay rights advocates to stop making the charge that your position is motivated by animus, start being more respectful of gays and lesbians. Start admitting that they have real marriages, and that they face real oppression, and that they should receive equal treatment. And then, within that framework, go ahead and argue why they nonetheless should not be granted everything they are seeking.

But that's not what you are doing.
5.27.2009 5:44pm
Perseus (mail):
Start admitting that they have real marriages, and that they face real oppression

But I deny that they face real oppression or have real marriages because I have different definitions of what constitutes oppression and marriage. So your starting point is a nonstarter.

If you want a different example, I'd use my own classroom where I do (as it were) spit into the faces of my students when I tell them that their "real" grades are their raw scores while their curved scores will be their official (conventional) grades. The implication, of course, is that most are not truly "A", "B", etc. students, but imperfect imitations thereof.
5.27.2009 10:53pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
But I deny that they face real oppression or have real marriages because I have different definitions of what constitutes oppression and marriage.

And you have the right to do so.

But note: we would say that a person who denies that blacks face real oppression or that interracial marriages were real marriages was taking a racist position, wouldn't we?

The whole point is that your position is homophobic. Not that you don't have a right to take homophobic positions, but your denial of animus against gays is hollow. Of course you think they are inferior.
5.28.2009 1:49pm
Perseus (mail):
But note: we would say that a person who denies that blacks face real oppression or that interracial marriages were real marriages was taking a racist position, wouldn't we?

No, "we" would not if we are talking about oppression. As a quintessentially soft liberal, you have a low threshold for what constitutes oppression. Blacks (like gays) today enjoy full political rights, though blacks did face real governmental oppression in the past (but if oppression is reduced to something like employment discrimination, then we conservatives in the academy face real oppression too!). As for interracial marriage, those (opposite sex) marriages possess the natural potential to fulfill the teleological ends of marriage. But to the extent that any opposite sex marriage fails to fulfill those ends in practice, then from a Platonic perspective, they are not real marriages either. Does that make me heterophobic too?
5.28.2009 4:28pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Blacks (like gays) today enjoy full political rights, though blacks did face real governmental oppression in the past (but if oppression is reduced to something like employment discrimination, then we conservatives in the academy face real oppression too!).

Racial profiling, discrimination in the provision of public services (getting a taxi, table at Denny's), employment discrimination, etc. Blacks face real discrimination. And conservative denial of this is one reason why conservatives' pleadings that they never be called racist seem hollow. (Just like their pleadings that they never be called homophobic.)

But to the extent that any opposite sex marriage fails to fulfill those ends in practice, then from a Platonic perspective, they are not real marriages either. Does that make me heterophobic too?

A couple of observations here. First, remember that while you may not be calling those marriages real marriages, you also aren't calling for laws to prevent them from occurring. The combination of the advocacy against gay marriage AND the "these aren't real marriages" talking point is especially virulent.

Second, you are showing typical obtuseness towards the issue of discrimination. No, you aren't "heterophobic", for the same reason that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People isn't racist but an association to advance white people is.

Gays and lesbians suffer massive discrimination. Straights do not. So when someone says that a heterosexual marriage isn't "real" (something, which, by the way, does not happen that often in political debate), that person isn't building on an apparatus of historical and societal discrimination. When you say it about a gay couple, you are.

Basically, the conservative agenda on these issues is to make it impossible to accuse people of being racists, sexists, or homophobes, by saying that we must take all racial, gender, or sexual orientation distinctions out of context and pretend that those made against oppressed classes are no different than those made against others. And the point, of course, is to make sure that we never do anything to help blacks or gays or women who actually suffer discrimination.

Your position is that gays aren't your equals, so their marriages aren't marriages. And that's a purely homophobic position. None of your rhetorical tricks changes this fact.
5.28.2009 5:02pm
Perseus (mail):
Racial profiling, discrimination in the provision of public services (getting a taxi, table at Denny's), employment discrimination, etc. Blacks face real discrimination.

Those examples of discrimination don't count as oppression in my book, and conflating the two denigrates the much more significant harms suffered by blacks in the past.

First, remember that while you may not be calling those marriages real marriages, you also aren't calling for laws to prevent them from occurring.

I have stated on numerous occasions that I have no objection to further restrictions on marriage eligibility in order to satisfy the zealots of perfect symmetry. I also spat on the mawkish romantic-bourgeois notion that marriage is about a "loving, committed relationship."

So when someone says that a heterosexual marriage isn't "real" (something, which, by the way, does not happen that often in political debate),

I am a political philosopher, which is why I make such claims and use phrases such as "from a Platonic perspective." Given the sorry state of liberal education, however, I suppose that more extensive elaboration is necessary. Of course, all of it would be lost on you since you already know my position because you know that I reject the idols of your cave (which, in turn, can only be explained by animus).
5.28.2009 9:05pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Of course, all of it would be lost on you since you already know my position because you know that I reject the idols of your cave (which, in turn, can only be explained by animus).

By your definition, racism, anti-Semitism, and sexism are just "political philosophies" too.

In the real world, your arguments are being made in an attempt to screw over gays and lesbians. Labeling harmful ideas as "political philosophy" doesn't excuse them.
5.29.2009 3:04pm

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