July 26, 2006
State Supreme Court upholds current definition of marriage

"Washington Supreme Court Rules Defense of Marriage Act Does Not Violate State Constitution"

Justices Madsen, C. Johnson, J. Johnson, Sanders and Chief Justice Alexander in the majority. Justices Owens, Bridge, Chambers and Fairhurst dissented.

The ruling, and concurring and dissenting opinions are here

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at July 26, 2006 08:38 AM | Email This
Comments
1. Judge Bridge went on to say if they drive drunk they can do anything they want.

Posted by: swassociates on July 26, 2006 08:54 AM
2. Aside from getting Chambers and Charles Johnson backwards on there votes, my prediction was pretty accurate.

Looks like Owens can look forward to leaving the bench this fall and maybe someone will step up and challenge Chambers.

Posted by: Don on July 26, 2006 08:59 AM
3. Fairhurst was one of two stealth candidates -- the other one lost to Johnson by a hair -- we were just lucky this time -- they'll be back

Posted by: Lucky this time on July 26, 2006 08:59 AM
4. This is a surprise. Alexander's vote in particular is a surpise to me.

Madsen and Johnson both wrote lucid opinions. Perhaps that helped.

Posted by: Matt from Olympia on July 26, 2006 09:02 AM
5. Wow. Did Hell just freeze over?

Posted by: Danny on July 26, 2006 09:05 AM
6. Thank God for electoral and political cowardice.

Posted by: Cheryl on July 26, 2006 09:07 AM
7. Woohooo! I heard the good news on KVI this morning on the way to work. It took 17 months for the WSC to rule on this issue, and thankfully five justices made the right decision.

Posted by: Gary on July 26, 2006 09:09 AM
8. Surprise, surprise, a ruling from this court that actually follows the constitution rather than whatever their view on the law is. That is, at least for 5 of the 9. SCOTUS has already held that sexual orientation is not a suspect class worthy of strict scutiny, and the majority treated this case that way. That is, they deferred to the legislature, which is exactly what the courts are supposed to do in such instances.

It is important to note that the court's role is limited to determining the constitutionality of DOMA and that our decision is not based on an independent determination of what we believe the law should be.

Kudos.

Posted by: Palouse on July 26, 2006 09:16 AM
9. Matt from Olympia,

Alexander is a worn out, beaten, disgraceful man. His concurrence may be an attempt to help his chance for re-election more than it is a reflection of his personal opinion.

Owens can forget about retaining her seat. What is especially disgusting is that she had a booth at the Limbaugh rally for Carlson in August 2000 and was trying to portray herself as a conservative jurist. I don't think the people will be fooled next time.

Posted by: Don on July 26, 2006 09:19 AM
10. When you read the majority option you are struck by the common sense of it.

Since when do judges have common sense?

Here is a quote from the majority option "our decision isn't based ... what we believe the law should be" Since when is this true? It wasn't true for the four judges which didn't agree with this ruling.

Posted by: Bill on July 26, 2006 09:23 AM
11. Bill, I'll I can say is it is Campaiging season. Whoever is running against Owens should use this to their advantage and use it by showing the common sense of the Majority Opinion.

Posted by: TrueSoldier on July 26, 2006 09:44 AM
12. Man, it is cold down here!!! What's with that?

Posted by: Satan on July 26, 2006 09:54 AM
13. Thank gaia that the Washington State Supreme Legislature made the right decision even if only by one vote.

All shall now bow down before the Temple of Justice.

Posted by: Jericho on July 26, 2006 10:06 AM
14. FORMER RESIDENT - Shouldn't charities in the State of Utah place residents with polygamous families that also pay taxes?

The clarity of your thought is ... not clear, Hoss.

(Further no law 'expanding marriage' to man-man or woman-woman has ever been passed in MA. What law is Catholic charities violating.)

Posted by: Jericho on July 26, 2006 10:15 AM
15. So which of the five majority justices (Justices Madsen, C. Johnson, J. Johnson, Sanders and Chief Justice Alexander) required 16 months to make up his or her mind on this issue, but was able to suddenly reach a firm position on Wednesday of candidate filing week?

Posted by: Richard Pope on July 26, 2006 10:20 AM
16. Richard Pope, My guess would be Chief Justice Alexander.

Posted by: TrueSoldier on July 26, 2006 10:29 AM
17. Richard Pope,

Based on my knowledge of the individual justices and their past opinions, I suspect the holdup was Alexander, who may have wanted a less harsh and direct denunciation of homosexual marriage.

Madsen has generally been quite supportive of traditional marriages in family law related cases. It did not surprise me at all that she was in the majority.

Charles Johnson may have also been holding out for a 'softer' ruling in this case than an opinion Madsen might otherwise write.

Dissents of Fairhurst, Owens and Bridge were entirely predictable. Owens' vote will likely cost her seat on the bench.

I'm still a bit puzzled by Chambers' vote for the minority opinion. Do you have any insight into why Chambers voted the way he did?

Posted by: Don on July 26, 2006 10:37 AM
18. If Alexander wins he could well resign from the bench well before the next gubinatorial election. That'd pave the way for the most flaming type of lib. imaginable to be appointed to his seat.

Posted by: Rodriguez, V. on July 26, 2006 10:39 AM
19. Rep Ed Murray is vowing new legislation to make gay marriage legal.

The Olympian has a few stories on the new ruling

This is on the Murray legislation:

http://www.theolympian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060726/NEWS06/60726017

Posted by: sgmmac on July 26, 2006 11:05 AM
20. Thank God.

Posted by: Jean on July 26, 2006 11:09 AM
21. This is the day for history books--a Washington state court actually did the right thing instead of thumbing their collective noses at the law. Bravo to the five justices who sided with the majority of Americans.

Posted by: Burdabee on July 26, 2006 11:22 AM
22. Three interesting tidbits of information, which may or may not have significance:
1. Association of Washington Business endorses Chief Justice Gerry Alexander for re-election, while urging replacement of Justice Susan Owens with State Senator Steven Johnson.
2. Chief Justice Alexander provides decisive fifth vote to uphold DOMA and its ban on same-sex marriage on Wednesday of Supreme Court candidate filing week.
3. Secretary of State website presently shows no challengers filed against pro-DOMA Chief Justice Alexander or anti-DOMA Justice Tom Chambers. Bellevue attorney John Groen, the announced challenger to Alexander, still has not filed his official declaration of candidacy and plunked down his filing fee.

Posted by: Richard Pope on July 26, 2006 12:01 PM
23. I took a peek over at the Seattle PI to check out their coverage. Readers can post comments at the PI website about this news, and boy are there a bunch of PO'd whiners over there. Imagine that...

Posted by: Gary on July 26, 2006 01:03 PM
24. You weren't kidding Gary. They really are upset of this one. I love their comments about how if a married couple is sterile or plan on not having kids their marriage should be nullified. What a laugh. They are just upset that the Supreme Court decided to uphold 5000 years of tradition instead of going progressive.

Posted by: TrueSoldier on July 26, 2006 01:30 PM
25. Just saw this on foxnews.com and thought it an intresting read about discrimination by homosexuals towards hetrosexuals:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,205758,00.html

Posted by: TrueSoldier on July 26, 2006 01:34 PM
26. Might it make more sense to get rid of laws about marraige altogether? What role does the state have in validating a marriage?

The only role I can think of would be of dividing assets upon separation and ill-advised mandates on how spouses are to receive benefits.

What if all things are owned by their single owner, but the state enables community property agreements to be filed which have flaming hoops for nullification.

Any public or private policy pertaining to married folks would either be applied to those with community property agreements or repealed.

Let churches and customs dictate who is married and what that means.

Just asking.

Posted by: Anon on July 26, 2006 02:08 PM
27. Wow! That is pleasantly amazing!

Posted by: Peggy U on July 26, 2006 02:11 PM
28. OK.

We can all be thankfull that this dumb diversion is over.

The only state court that has upheld same sex marriage is in Massachusettes. And it looks like voters there will now have final say.

So, can we all agree that there's no need to amend the state or the nation's constitution to ban gay marriage and any rights for same sex couples that married people have?

From now on any politician who takes of precious time stumping for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage should be punished.

DOMA was overwhelmingly approved in the state legislature and the congress. And now it has been upheld by our supreme court. Move on.

Posted by: thor on July 26, 2006 04:40 PM
29. Small-government conservatives cannot support the granting of the right to government to determine the nature of our personal relationships and yet be true to their stated goal of limited government.

If you think of yourself as a small-government conservative, then you should be decrying the continued intrusion of government into this most personal of all decisions.

But...as is the case over and over again (the war on drugs, terry schiavo blue laws, the incredible growth of government under Bush, yada yada yada,) many conservatives use their stated political positions as a mere cover for their true political motivations.

...and, finally, "5000 years of tradition" does not have a basis in constitutional law.

Posted by: timothy on July 26, 2006 05:14 PM
30. Gregoire says, "I believe the state should provide these same rights and responsibilities to all citizens," Gov. Gregoire said. "I also believe the sacrament of marriage is between two people and their faith; it is not the business of the state."

-------------------------------------------------

I guess this means that she is now against the whole idea of fees from Marriage Licenses going into State coffers? Somehow, I doubt it.

Posted by: Steals Thunder on July 26, 2006 05:45 PM
31. As I've stated in other comments, I don't really care if gays get married. That said, I am glad the court ruled to uphold DOMA.

My reasons are:

1) Marriage has it's place as a social institution, and we would do well to maintain frameworks of morality in our society such as marriage.

2) Tradition is important. Sudden changes to centuries old traditions are the folly of today's leftist elites. But there is always an impact to such disruption, and it's often not noted until hisotry looks back and realizes the changes were a mistake.

3) I viewed this case as a stepping stone for the increased fervor of LGBT activism. I am vehemently against the fracture of our society into classes. Hopefully this ruling will send a strong and discouraging message to activists bent on establishing a multicultural, classist society. We do not need fiefdoms structured around race, gender, sexual affiliation and anything else but individual merit.

Posted by: Jeff B. on July 26, 2006 05:56 PM
32. 1) Marriage has it's place as a social institution, and we would do well to maintain frameworks of morality in our society such as marriage.

Chapter and verse of the State Constitution, please.

2) Tradition is important. Sudden changes to centuries old traditions are the folly of today's leftist elites. But there is always an impact to such disruption, and it's often not noted until hisotry looks back and realizes the changes were a mistake.

Chapter and verse of the State Constitution, please.

3) I viewed this case as a stepping stone for the increased fervor of LGBT activism. I am vehemently against the fracture of our society into classes. Hopefully this ruling will send a strong and discouraging message to activists bent on establishing a multicultural, classist society. We do not need fiefdoms structured around race, gender, sexual affiliation and anything else but individual merit.

Huh? By denying gays equal status under the law, you're supporting the creation of a 2nd class citizenship for them. You're supporting the creation of a classist society.

Posted by: Timothy on July 26, 2006 06:08 PM
33. Everyone including gays can get married. There is no barrier in the way that prevents gays from settling down with a member of the opposite sex and getting married. So equality of marriage isn't an issue. The issue of equality in this debate is how the government treats other types of cohabitating adults versus married couples. Right now all non-married cohabitating adults, including gays, are not treated the same as married couples. If the fight in this state was for equal rights, not redefinition, we wouldn't be having this debate, it would be over and all life couples would have equal rights and benefits. I know a pair of sisters who have lived with each other for 14 years, why should they be treated differently than a gay couple?

Basically the movement for gay marriage isn't a movement for equality, or they would be pushing for equality, instead it is about the redefinition of a successful and important human institution. A dog is not a cat and a marriage is not the same as a gay couple or other cohabitating arrangements. To label them the same is illogical and wrong, frankly it is a lie. Gay marriage is the man in the dress. He could get a sex change but that just makes him a man with a mutilated body, not a woman. A marriage can only be between one man and one woman, just as only one man and one woman can merge their genetics and create human off spring.

Posted by: AP on July 26, 2006 06:25 PM
34. Timothy show me where it specifically states, chapter and verse, in the state constitution that gays and lesbians must be allowed to marry. It doesn't know matter how hard you want it to and this is why the justices voted the way they did. The law, DOMA, on the other hand does state this so deal with it or move to Mass.

Posted by: TrueSoldier on July 26, 2006 06:37 PM
35. Everyone including gays can get married. There is no barrier in the way that prevents gays from settling down with a member of the opposite sex and getting married.

This is a specious argument. Imagine that I stated, through the law, that you could join the catholic church and remain citizen of the United States...but, that if you joined the Baptist Church, you would be denied citizenship. I could argue that you are not being denied the right to join a religion. Would that be a fair argument? Of course not.

Either way, this is a red herring relative to the Constitutionality of denying citizens of this state the right to enter into a contractual relationship with the person of their choice.

The issue of equality in this debate is how the government treats other types of cohabitating adults versus married couples.

No, it's not. There's a specific choice to desire to enter into a contractual relationship with another adult; merely choosing to live together does not indicate a desire to be contractually tied together.

I know a pair of sisters who have lived with each other for 14 years, why should they be treated differently than a gay couple?

If you are arguing for this, and if these sisters so desire, then I would agree with you. What right does the government have to define the contractual relationship between these two adults? And, if you are a small-government conservative, then it would likely be inconsistent to argue that the State should deny that.

Basically the movement for gay marriage isn't a movement for equality, or they would be pushing for equality, instead it is about the redefinition of a successful and important human institution.

This argument is just factually incorrect.

Please cite chapter and verse of the State Constitution that states that marriage cannot be redefined?

A dog is not a cat and a marriage is not the same as a gay couple or other cohabitating arrangements.

Chapter and verse of the State Constitution, please.

To label them the same is illogical and wrong, frankly it is a lie.

Historically, language, like marriage, has always been fluid. Either way, that is a red herring.

A marriage can only be between one man and one woman.

Chapter and verse of the State Constitution, please.

Posted by: Timothy on July 26, 2006 06:41 PM
36. Timothy show me where it specifically states, chapter and verse, in the state constitution that gays and lesbians must be allowed to marry.

ARTICLE I:

SECTION 1: POLITICAL POWER

All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.

SECTION 3: PERSONAL RIGHTS

No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, property without due process of law.

SECTION 11: RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

Absolute freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment, belief and worship, shall be guaranteed to every individual, and no one shall be molested or disturbed in person or property on account of religion;

SECTION 12: SPECIAL PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES PROHIBITED

No law shall be passed granting to any citizen, class of citizens, or corporation other than municipal, privileges or immunities which upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens, or corporations.

SECTION 30: RIGHTS RESERVED

The enumeration in this Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny others retained by the people.


...for starters.

Posted by: Timothy on July 26, 2006 06:47 PM
37. SECTION 1: POLITICAL POWER

All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.

and the representative legislature voted overwhemingly in favor of DOMA.

SECTION 3: PERSONAL RIGHTS

No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, property without due process of law.

no one is being deprived of life, liberty or property without due process. And dont say that if they are not married they cant get their lovers property that is what wills are for.

SECTION 11: RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

Absolute freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment, belief and worship, shall be guaranteed to every individual, and no one shall be molested or disturbed in person or property on account of religion;

most religions do not recognize gay marriage and no homosexual is being molested or disturbed by not being allowed to marry (which by the way is a religous tradition).

SECTION 12: SPECIAL PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES PROHIBITED

No law shall be passed granting to any citizen, class of citizens, or corporation other than municipal, privileges or immunities which upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens, or corporations.

Marrtiage is not a right it is a privilege therefore it is immune under this section

SECTION 30: RIGHTS RESERVED

The enumeration in this Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny others retained by the people.

once again marriage is not a right granted by any constitution so therefore it is a priveledge.

Posted by: TrueSoldier on July 26, 2006 06:59 PM
38. and the representative legislature voted overwhemingly in favor of DOMA.

Which I believe to be unconstitutional per my discussion above.

no one is being deprived of life

A gay couple does not have inherent medical rights for their partners. This can and has led to life-decisions that are being made in ways outside of the wishes of the individuals involved.

liberty

Do I really need to make an argument as to how this decision denies liberty?

or property without due process.

And dont say that if they are not married they cant get their lovers property that is what wills are for.

Wills don't cover everything. For example, wills don't cover the payment of social security benefits.

But, beyond that, by requiring one set of people to jump through myriad hoops to secure their property rights relative to their contractual partners, you create a hurdle that makes it more likely that that class of people will be more likely to lose property than the protected class.

most religions do not recognize gay marriage and no homosexual is being molested or disturbed by not being allowed to marry (which by the way is a religous tradition).

Yes, they are being disturbed and molested.

Marrtiage is not a right it is a privilege therefore it is immune under this section

Contractual relationships cannot be granted to one class of people and denied to another without violating this clasue.

Marriage is not a right? See Section 30 again. Read it carefully.

That being said, are you suggesting that if the State legislature denies marriage to straight couples, you'd not consider that the loss of a right?

Are you a small-government conservative? If so, do you really feel that the government should have the right to call my marriage a "priviledge" and to then take that away from me?

To take that position in this instance grants government the broadest of rights. If I don't have the freedom to freely choose my associations, then there are very few rights that I do have.

Posted by: Timothy on July 26, 2006 07:09 PM
39. 1. you may think it is unconstitutional, yet the supreme court ruled it is. SO therefore you can think it is unconstitutional as is your right, but the law has been upheld.

2.on the life issue..this has happened to married couples and their families (i.e. Terri Schivo) this is wwhy a living will is so very important for everyone.

3.Liberty...well that is debatable. You see it as taking away liberty. I dont.

4.If you are worried about social security benefits you may want to think about the system getting fixed first. With that said any will can be contested even the will of married persons.

5.I dont see that they are being molested or disturbed. And for that matter why should any religion be forced to accept something against their Dogma?

6.Here is section 30:
SECTION 30 RIGHTS RESERVED.
The enumeration in this Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny others retained by the people.

where does it say that marriage is a right?

You do have the right to choose your associations, but this is a representative government and the majority of people and their elected representatives have spoken and said that DOMA is what we want for our society. No one is saying that you have to like it. And there is no reason you cant work to get officials elected that you feel would better serve you. That is why this country is great. This is not just happening in this state, but around the country. More and more states are passing DOMA laws and more and more are being upheld. It even looks like the people will get to vote on the gay marraige laws of Mass soon. This is just another attempt by a small minority of Americans to get their way when they no they do not have the numbers to get a vote in their favor.

Posted by: TrueSoldier on July 26, 2006 07:32 PM
40. Timothy - You are missing a major point here. Marriage is not a simple contract between two people. It is a covenantal relationship involving two people and the next generation and society as a whole.

Any teo people are free to contract about their relationship (establishing joint tenancies, reciprocal wills, heatlhcare powers of attorney, etc.), be they gay or not. But that is not what marriage is about (yes, including the infertile and such may be a bit overbroad - but the soft legal presumption is not unreasonable against the miniscule to non-existant cost/benefit ratio of some sort of fertility testing as a condition of marriage).

Posted by: krm on July 26, 2006 08:38 PM
41. This was truly a political verdict by the WSSC. If it weren't for the upcoming elections, it would have predictably gone the other way. Alexander decided he had to vote for it or run the risk of being ousted. Hopefully the public will see the light and throw out Owens and replace her with Steve Johnson, then out with Fairhurst and alcoholic-Bridges. I figured that if traditional marriage prevailed, it would be by a 5-4 margin.

As for the four dissenters, the Stench on the bench makes me clench !

Posted by: KS on July 26, 2006 09:17 PM
42. Timothy,

Just as only one man and one woman can procreate, only one man and one woman can be married. Any other union or partnership by nature is not a marriage. A dog isn't a cat, the earth is round not flat, and a marriage can only be between one man and one woman. There is nothing to do with the constitution here, just the definition of a successful and important human institution. Even if you do change the law and constitution, a gay union will never be a marriage just as the man who gets a sex change is really a man with a mutilated body, not a woman. Why are you so hell bent in calling a dog a cat?

Posted by: AP on July 26, 2006 10:01 PM
43. Sorry timothy, but the specious "arguments" are yours.

The court has spoken and at least on this occasion the courts upheld the law instead of creating it. Please feel free to launch a campaign to amend the constitution (like everybody else has to do) if you really want to change the status quo...

Posted by: alphabet soup on July 26, 2006 10:28 PM
44. 1. you may think it is unconstitutional, yet the supreme court ruled it is. SO therefore you can think it is unconstitutional as is your right, but the law has been upheld.

I reserve the right to disagree with the Supreme Court. And, I doubt you hold to this position consistently, right? The conservative mantra over the past decade has been that the courts are activist and often wrong.

3.Liberty...well that is debatable. You see it as taking away liberty. I dont.

Of course it takes away liberty. That can only be denied through twisted and faulty logic.

4.If you are worried about social security benefits you may want to think about the system getting fixed first. With that said any will can be contested even the will of married persons.

Red herring.

5.I dont see that they are being molested or disturbed. And for that matter why should any religion be forced to accept something against their Dogma?

Secular marriage laws don't force anything upon any religion. Red herring.


6.Here is section 30:
SECTION 30 RIGHTS RESERVED.
The enumeration in this Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny others retained by the people.

where does it say that marriage is a right?

There was a time when conservatives understood what clauses like Section 30 meant; with the hijacking of the conservative movement by religious fundamentalists, that ability to read plain law and understand it has gone away.

It used to be understood that our Constitutions were not meant to limit rights, but to provide a basic guideline. Rights don't need to be enumerated; it is assumed that, as section 30 states, rights are retained by the people. We don't need the constitution to tell us what our rights are except in broad, basic strokes.

The irony of having to come into a conservative discussion forum to explain this is rich.

You do have the right to choose your associations, but this is a representative government and the majority of people and their elected representatives have spoken and said that DOMA is what we want for our society.

I believe DOMA is unconstitutional, which does not rest on arguments of majority-rule.

Posted by: Timothy on July 27, 2006 07:32 AM
45. Timothy - You are missing a major point here. Marriage is not a simple contract between two people. It is a covenantal relationship involving two people and the next generation and society as a whole.

Chapter and verse of the State constitution, please.

Any teo people are free to contract about their relationship (establishing joint tenancies, reciprocal wills, heatlhcare powers of attorney, etc.), be they gay or not.

Right. And, our State laws facilitate this action by one class of people and deny it to another.

But that is not what marriage is about

Says who? The State constitution? Where?

Posted by: Timothy on July 27, 2006 07:39 AM
46. Just as only one man and one woman can procreate, only one man and one woman can be married.

According to what authority? We are governed by a State Constitution, and I can't find that reference anywhere in the document. Can you point it out to me?

There is nothing to do with the constitution here, just the definition of a successful and important human institution.

We are not ruled by tradition; we are ruled by laws.

Even if you do change the law and constitution, a gay union will never be a marriage

I don't need to change the constitution. Conservatives used to recognize that rights were retained by the people, and that we didn't need to enumerate each right.

Words are fluid. The term "marriage" has been fluid, and will continue to be so. This idea that it has meant one thing and always will is not supported by history or logic.

Posted by: Timothy on July 27, 2006 07:45 AM
47. The court has spoken and at least on this occasion the courts upheld the law instead of creating it.

The State Constitution provides for equal treatment under the law already. No new laws need be created, no amendments to the Constitution need occur.

And, actually, isn't that why conservatives are hell-bent on their own constitutional amendment? It must be that they believe that they can't make the case, currently, that gay-marriage is extra-constitutional (it is not), so there's the need to amend the Constitution to specifically ban it.

Posted by: Timothy on July 27, 2006 07:53 AM
48. Timothy, where in the state constitution does it define sexual orientation as a "class" of people such as race or gender? Please point to this part of the constitution and then tell us if this class does not exist, then how can it be unconstitutional to define marriage between a man and a woman?

Posted by: Palouse on July 27, 2006 08:07 AM
49. Timothy,

Are you really that dense? Laws can't change the reality that the earth is round just as laws can't change the reality that men are different than women. No matter what we humans do, a marriage will always be one man and one woman. Any other combintation, by nature (not law) is not a marriage. A union of two men is not the same as a union of one man and one woman. Calling them the same is dishonest. Everyone has the right to marry, including gays. Heck, many gays are currently married to people of the opposite sex. The issue here is the redefinition of marriage. The earth isn't flat, a dog isn't a cat, and only one man and one woman can marry, that's nature, learn to deal with it.

Posted by: AP on July 27, 2006 08:12 AM
50. Timothy, where in the state constitution does it define sexual orientation as a "class" of people such as race or gender?

There's no requirement to specifically define each "class" in the Constitution. I hold it as self-evident that gays are a class. That said, please re-read Section 12...

SECTION 12: SPECIAL PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES PROHIBITED

No law shall be passed granting to any citizen, class of citizens, or corporation other than municipal, privileges or immunities which upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens, or corporations.

Gays need not even rise to the level of "class" (which they clearly do) to be afforded equal rights; the laws says equal rights must apply even to a "citizen."

The fact that we use the term "homosexuals" or "gays" in this discussion, and that we clearly know of which we speak, proves that we recognize this group as a class.

Posted by: Timothy on July 27, 2006 08:31 AM
51. Laws can't change the reality that the earth is round just as laws can't change the reality that men are different than women.

I haven't advocated either of those scenarios.

No matter what we humans do, a marriage will always be one man and one woman.

That's news to my ancestors who were involved in polygamous marriages. That's news to most bible-believers whose early prophets were married to more than one woman. That's news to significant portions of the world's populations that still practice multi-partner marriages.

Your statement is not supported by history or logic.

Any other combintation, by nature (not law) is not a marriage.

Your statement is not supported by history or logic.

That said, we are not governed by "nature" but by laws. Laws change.

A union of two men is not the same as a union of one man and one woman. Calling them the same is dishonest.

It is the same in some ways and different in others.

Everyone has the right to marry, including gays. Heck, many gays are currently married to people of the opposite sex. The issue here is the redefinition of marriage.

Words change and evolve over time. Even your assertion that marriage means one thing is not supported by history or logic.

only one man and one woman can marry, that's nature, learn to deal with it.

Chapter and verse of the State Constitution, please.

Posted by: Timothy on July 27, 2006 08:39 AM
52. Talking about a group of people does not make them a protected class. Nor does your statement that says they are a class make it so. There's lots of groups with labels, but that does not mean they are worthy of special rights. And since you provided nothing in the constitution that says sexual orientation is a protected class such as race or gender, then it cannot be unconstitutional to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

Posted by: Palouse on July 27, 2006 08:40 AM
53. Timothy,

You are a broken record. Just as a dog is not a cat, a union of people that is not one man and one woman can not be a marriage. There is nothing to do with the constitution here, NOTHING! Laws change but nature and reality don't. You can call a cow a horse but that doesn't make it a horse. Thanks for proving to everyone here that the entire issue of gay marriage is about redefining an important and successful human institution for politcal purposes, not equality.

Posted by: AP on July 27, 2006 09:31 AM
54. Talking about a group of people does not make them a protected class.

Again, my argument does not rest on this. That said, our State laws now define sexual orientation as a protected class.

special rights.

That's a specious term. Again, the idea that I have to come into a conservative forum and argue for the notion that rights are broadly defined, not narrowly defined, that I don't look to government to tell me what I can and can't do with my life, what my rights are and are not, is quite ironic.

Small-government indeed. Conservatives who continue to believe that the Republican party and U.S. Conservatism are about this are deluded.

And since you provided nothing in the constitution that says sexual orientation is a protected class such as race or gender, then it cannot be unconstitutional to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

As I pointed out, the State constitution doesn't require it to be a class; it says that you can't deny equality even down to the level of citizen.

Posted by: Timothy on July 27, 2006 09:44 AM
55. Timothy,

Using your argument, any two people of legal age should be able to marry. Does that include brothers? Sisters? Parent and child? Can you explain why there are laws prohibiting incestual relationships? Could it be because of the potential genetic defects that might occur in an offspring of such a union? Do you group marriage between brothers (or a gay couple) differently from how you'd group a marriage between a mother and son or brother and sister?

Posted by: Dewey on July 27, 2006 09:46 AM
56. There's irony in your charge:

You are a broken record.

When you keep saying:

Just as a dog is not a cat, a union of people that is not one man and one woman can not be a marriage.

After I've asked you to provide reference to support that claim, and you've failed to do so.

There is nothing to do with the constitution here, NOTHING!

That's rich. Tell me, do you support a Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage?

Laws change but nature and reality don't.

Your statement is not supported by history or logic. We are governed by laws.

But, now I'm curious...what are some aspects of nature that don't change?

You can call a cow a horse but that doesn't make it a horse.

I haven't done so.

Thanks for proving to everyone here that the entire issue of gay marriage is about redefining an important and successful human institution for politcal purposes, not equality.

Equality is a political purpose.

Posted by: Timothy on July 27, 2006 09:50 AM
57. Using your argument, any two people of legal age should be able to marry.

Sure. I don't look to the government to restrict the associations and contractual relationships that I choose to enter into. Do you? Do you consider yourself a small-government advocate? This decision is of the most personal that any of us will ever make, and granting the right to government to control this decision is of the among the most intrusive invasions into privacy we've ever allowed.

Does that include brothers? Sisters? Parent and child?

Brothers and sisters and Parents and Children are already related as family. So, I'm not sure this is needed, but I don't expect government to dictate the nature of our families to us. Do you?

Can you explain why there are laws prohibiting incestual relationships? Could it be because of the potential genetic defects that might occur in an offspring of such a union?

If this is an issue, then we can craft laws narrowly focused to address this without granting the power to government to determine the shape, size and scope of our family relationships.

Do you group marriage between brothers (or a gay couple) differently from how you'd group a marriage between a mother and son or brother and sister?

So far as I am concerned, it is not the business of government to define what family is. There was a time when I'd have expected general consensus on this point from most small-government conservatives.

Posted by: Timothy on July 27, 2006 10:00 AM
58. Timothy - your argument is specious. Read the decision. The concurring justices say that you are wrong.

The dissenting justices show their lack of knowledge by claiming that EVERYONE that voted for DOMA did it primarily out of hatred of homosexuals. They also made the claim that, since gay marriage would be on the books in the future, DOMA should be overturned now - a very politicdal legislative viewpoint, but not very judicial.

"As I pointed out, the State constitution doesn't require it to be a class; it says that you can't deny equality even down to the level of citizen."

We deny equality down the the level of citizen every day. 10 year olds can't marry. 11 year olds can't drive a car. 30 year olds can't run for president. Felons can't posess a firearm. 5 year olds can't go into a bar, etc.

Anyone can get married (with some restrictions). No one is allowed to marry a member of the same sex. Not the outcome you wanted, but equal.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on July 27, 2006 10:06 AM
59. Timothy,

I'll address your grievances one at a time:

WA Constitution, Article 1, SECTION 3 PERSONAL RIGHTS

No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.

Due process of law has happened; a law was passed by the State legislature, and that law was challenged in court, all the way to the State Supreme Court, and the law was upheld. Due process of law has occured; hence this argument goes away - you have not been deprived liberty without due process of law.

NOTE the qualifier the Constitution includes - WITHOUT DUE PROCESS OF LAW. Essentially, the state CAN decide to deprive individuals of life, liberty, or property as long as it is done within the construct of our legal system.

This was so done; a bill proposed, moved on, passed, and signed into law. Challenged in the state courts, and ultimately found constitutional. Hence, if you feel that you are being deprived of liberty, that IS actually constitutional; the state reserves that right when it is carried out as dictated. Which it was.

If you disagree, please tell me how due process of law as not followed? I know you do not like the outcome, but that does not mean that the process was not followed.

If you cannot show that due process was abridged, then your argument of this section goes away.

WA Constitution, Article 1, SECTION 11 RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

Absolute freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment, belief and worship, shall be guaranteed to every individual, and no one shall be molested or disturbed in person or property on account of religion; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the state. No public money or property shall be appropriated for or applied to any religious worship, exercise or instruction, or the support of any religious establishment: PROVIDED, HOWEVER, That this article shall not be so construed as to forbid the employment by the state of a chaplain for such of the state custodial, correctional, and mental institutions, or by a county's or public hospital district's hospital, health care facility, or hospice, as in the discretion of the legislature may seem justified. No religious qualification shall be required for any public office or employment, nor shall any person be incompetent as a witness or juror, in consequence of his opinion on matters of religion, nor be questioned in any court of justice touching his religious belief to affect the weight of his testimony.

The State cannot choose to use religion in determining your suitability for employment with the state or as a juror; however that is the list of restrictions by the state on use of religion in making judgements.

Essentially, the State cannot decide that it will not hire Baptists, or exclude Catholics from juries. However, it is NOT restricted from using a religious filter for any other function of the State.

So, can you show where in the State Constitution the State is prohibited from using religion as a means to test the validity of this law? Clearly this section states only that the State cannot use religion for employment or judicial positions only; it does not enumerate other roles, thus those roles are left open.

WA Constitution, Article 1, SECTION 12 SPECIAL PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES PROHIBITED

No law shall be passed granting to any citizen, class of citizens, or corporation other than municipal, privileges or immunities which upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens, or corporations.

What part of the DOMA does not grant you the right to marry a woman? Likewise what part DOMA grants either of us the right to marry a man?

This law applies equally to all citizens; marriage is two people of different gender only. It is "sexually agnostic".

I do not see any state law - or any part in the Constitution - that classifies GLBT as a "class" of citizens; if there was such a law, then I would reconsider my position. However, DOMA applies equally to all citizens, and does not break any legally-defined classes of citizens' rights, hence it does not violate this section.

--------------------------------------------

Now, on some general notes...

1. I assume that since you believe that DOMA is wrong, you would also rescind rules by the State prohibiting marriage of those under 16 (some states - Hawaii, South Carolina, Kansas, Tennessee - are 14 or even 13), rescinding marriage of first cousins or siblings, rescind marriage of parents/children, or rescind marriage of more than two people.

Clearly, if we choose to say that DOMA is to be thrown out because of a person's sexual orientation, then by section 12 of the State Constitution we must throw out ALL laws regarding sexual orientation and marriage.

2. The Supreme Court identified how to "correct" your perceived injustice. Through the legislature. There is nothing Constitutionally wrong with this law; to argue otherwise is a moot point, since the Supreme Court disagrees with you.

Note, however, that DOMA is NOT a Constitutional amendment; it is a law, can be rescinded, modified, or superceded as desired. The solution is quite simple - get a new DOMA passed that covers what you believe marriage should cover.

3. Judicial activism. Whether you are for or against the final ruling, we should all rejoice in that the Supreme Court has chosen to NOT go beyond its bounds (or at least a majority so chose). They need to look at a law strictly from a Constitutional issue; regardless of personal feelings or politics.

Given the three refutations of Constitutional challenges above, for the Court - or any judge - to find otherwise would be judicial activism.

The way that laws are enacted is via the legislative process; when in doubt, the justices should be legally conservative, meaning siding with the legislature and letting existing laws stand. It is up to those opposed to the law to bring forward another argument, if they believe a better case can be made.

In this case, clearly, pushing DOMA as violating the State Constitution as it currently exists was incorrect. DOMA does not violate the Constitution.

The state already has the right to limit

Posted by: Edmonds Dan on July 27, 2006 10:09 AM
60. What I found irresponsible in the gay issue is comparing gay rights movement to the civil rights movement. The color of your skin and your gender are genetic. There has not been any proof no matter how hard they have tried that proves that being gay is anything besides a choice.

The response to the ruling yesterday was coming out that this supports racist view. Being gay is not a race and should never be referred to as that. Than under their same reasoning being a child molester is a protected class. Because that is a choice between what we believe is right and wrong.

Next is the whole heterosexual marriage divorce rate. No study accounts for how many of these divorces are caused by the gay community themselves. How many of them end due to one of the party deciding they are gay after they have been married? I know of two personally in the last two years. One a friend who after being married over five years coming home to his wife and saying I figured out what's wrong with me. He than announces he is gay but yet has no idea how to explore that revelation. Second were my Aunt and Uncle who raised two kids and have grandchildren. He is in his late fifties and just decided he was gay. But asked my Aunt not to tell anyone in the family and can they stay together. But have totally separate life styles.

Posted by: James S. on July 27, 2006 10:17 AM
61. Read the decision. The concurring justices say that you are wrong.

I have read the decision, and I think the majority opinion was poorly argued and fundamentally flawed. But, to your point, the majority opinion didn't adequately address my arguments.

The dissenting justices show their lack of knowledge by claiming that EVERYONE that voted for DOMA did it primarily out of hatred of homosexuals.

Your statement is not supported by a review of the dissenting opinions.

They also made the claim that, since gay marriage would be on the books in the future, DOMA should be overturned now - a very politicdal legislative viewpoint, but not very judicial.

Your statement is not supported by a review of the dissenting opinions.

We deny equality down the the level of citizen every day. 10 year olds can't marry. 11 year olds can't drive a car. 30 year olds can't run for president. Felons can't posess a firearm. 5 year olds can't go into a bar, etc.

Distinctions between adults and children are an unrelated discussion. For the record, I'd support eliminating the age requirement for political offices.

Anyone can get married (with some restrictions). No one is allowed to marry a member of the same sex. Not the outcome you wanted, but equal.

Do you believe that government should be in the business of telling us these things?

That said, I disagree with your assertion.

Posted by: Timothy on July 27, 2006 10:17 AM
62. Timothy wrote:

I have read the decision, and I think the majority opinion was poorly argued and fundamentally flawed. But, to your point, the majority opinion didn't adequately address my arguments.

Can you argue what sections of the Washington State Constitution were violated by DOMA?

If you cannot, then your arguing against this ruling is disingenuous; you are arguing that the justices should have ignored their Constitutional mandate, and gone with their feelings or own personal beliefs.

DOMA exists as a law; the onus is on those opposed to DOMA to show why it is unconstitutional.

Posted by: Edmonds Dan on July 27, 2006 10:23 AM
63. Again, my argument does not rest on this. That said, our State laws now define sexual orientation as a protected class.

Sure it does. You argue that DOMA is unconstitutional, and the fact that sexual orientation is not a protected class means that the legislature can define marriage however it wants.

Our state laws have not changed the Supreme Court of the United States decisions, which does not define sexual orientation as a suspect class like race or gender. Just because some left leaning legislators decided to create this class in the case of housing and employment does not specifically create this suspect class in all laws. However, that same legislature can change the definition of marriage if it wants, and that is how it should be.

Posted by: Palouse on July 27, 2006 10:24 AM
64. Due process of law has happened; a law was passed by the State legislature, and that law was challenged in court, all the way to the State Supreme Court, and the law was upheld. Due process of law has occured; hence this argument goes away - you have not been deprived liberty without due process of law.

So, you agree that the homosexual community has been denied liberty?

I disagree that the due process you outline is Constitutional. Due process has to be Constitutional to begin with, or it is invalid, regardless of due process. I can't, for example, deny your ability to practice a religion simply by giving you "due process."

If you disagree, please tell me how due process of law as not followed?

I'll agree with you that due process has occurred; the denial of liberty, in this case, is fundamentally unconstitutional, in my opinion.

If you cannot show that due process was abridged, then your argument of this section goes away.

I disagree. Apparent due process can still be unconstitutional. Happens all the time.

Essentially, the State cannot decide that it will not hire Baptists, or exclude Catholics from juries. However, it is NOT restricted from using a religious filter for any other function of the State.

I don't believe this to be settled law.

What part of the DOMA does not grant you the right to marry a woman? Likewise what part DOMA grants either of us the right to marry a man?

This is a specious argument. Even when made by a Supreme Court justice.

Above, you've argued that liberty (I consider equality a central component of liberty) has been denied, but it has been done by due process. Here, you want to argue that liberty has not been denied.

Which is it? Has liberty been denied or not?

I do not see any state law - or any part in the Constitution - that classifies GLBT as a "class" of citizens; if there was such a law, then I would reconsider my position.

Class is not universally defined in the Constitution. That said, my arguments don't wholly rest on this distinction.

Posted by: Timothy on July 27, 2006 10:30 AM
65. 1. I assume that since you believe that DOMA is wrong, you would also rescind rules by the State prohibiting marriage of those under 16 (some states - Hawaii, South Carolina, Kansas, Tennessee - are 14 or even 13), rescinding marriage of first cousins or siblings, rescind marriage of parents/children, or rescind marriage of more than two people.

Your assumption is wrong. Contractual law allows for distinctions between adults and children, and I believe that to be a valid distinction. Children are not held as legally capable of entering into contractual relationships.

Clearly, if we choose to say that DOMA is to be thrown out because of a person's sexual orientation, then by section 12 of the State Constitution we must throw out ALL laws regarding sexual orientation and marriage.

I don't believe that follows.

That said, I wouldn't mind removing all governmental oversight relating to marriage, except for enforcement of the contractual relationship.

The Supreme Court identified how to "correct" your perceived injustice. Through the legislature. There is nothing Constitutionally wrong with this law; to argue otherwise is a moot point, since the Supreme Court disagrees with you.

I don't believe that members of this forum, generally, would accept the reasoning of the court if they had found that the legislature is within its rights to deny heterosexuals the right to marry while allowing it for homosexuals. Do you?

The right of association, to build our families, is among the most basic of all human rights. I don't believe that legislatures should be allowed to determine this.

Note, however, that DOMA is NOT a Constitutional amendment; it is a law, can be rescinded, modified, or superceded as desired. The solution is quite simple - get a new DOMA passed that covers what you believe marriage should cover.

Sure. But, this is a short-sighted solution. We should not be granting this authority to government.

3. Judicial activism. Whether you are for or against the final ruling, we should all rejoice in that the Supreme Court has chosen to NOT go beyond its bounds (or at least a majority so chose). They need to look at a law strictly from a Constitutional issue; regardless of personal feelings or politics.

I believe that this decision is a prime example of judicial activism and extra-constitutional reasoning.

Posted by: Timothy on July 27, 2006 10:39 AM
66. That said, my arguments don't wholly rest on this distinction.

They do, but you just don't realize it (yet). You sound like a smart fellow, despite your specious "small government conservative" arguments (which by the way, your arguments in this regard are more supportive of libertarian views, not conservatives). Do some reading of Supreme Court cases regarding suspect classes and strict scrutiny, and then you will realize that this decision did not use it and why. If sexual orientation was and they did, the outcome would be different.

Posted by: Palouse on July 27, 2006 10:39 AM
67. You argue that DOMA is unconstitutional, and the fact that sexual orientation is not a protected class means that the legislature can define marriage however it wants.

I don't believe that all rights must need be enumerated in the Constitution. See Article 1, Section 30 of the State Constitution. There was a time when many conservatives understood this point.

Our state laws have not changed the Supreme Court of the United States decisions, which does not define sexual orientation as a suspect class like race or gender.

Race and gender have not always been defined as a suspect class. Our understandings of the law change. In State law, we now prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. So, we clearly recognize this as a protected class.

legislature can change the definition of marriage if it wants, and that is how it should be.

So...you believe that government should have the right to tell you who you can and can't marry? There was a time when conservatives would bristle at such a suggestion.

Posted by: Timothy on July 27, 2006 10:48 AM
68. Timothy wrote:

I'll agree with you that due process has occurred; the denial of liberty, in this case, is fundamentally unconstitutional, in my opinion.

Timothy,

Please re-read Article 1, section 3 once again. It is CONSTITUTIONAL for the State to decide to deny individuals liberty, provided due process is followed.

Show where the process was not followed; failure to do so means that your entire argument about liberty or individual rights is specious.

Likewise, see section 12 - the State can choose to limit your freedom of religion for licentious act, or the peace and safety of the State.

In all clauses of the State Constitution the State is granted the right to restrict the rights of citizens in certain, specific cases. These cases are what is being argued.

Trying to turn this into a gay rights issue is misguided, and may be why the challenge lost. It is not about gay rights; it is about a legal process whereby the State exerted its ability to restrict rights of certain people. And it was found to be Constitutional.

So, I ask you once again:

What Constitutional section was violated? Arguing that you believe your rights were violated is not enough, for the Constitution clearly confirms the right to do so directly to the State provided process is followed.

So what process was not followed?

Posted by: Edmonds Dan on July 27, 2006 10:48 AM
69. Edmonds Dan...are you comfortable granting to Government the power to tell you who you can and cannot marry?

Posted by: Timothy on July 27, 2006 10:50 AM
70. And when I write:

You argue that DOMA is unconstitutional, and the fact that sexual orientation is not a protected class means that the legislature can define marriage however it wants.

I mean that it still cannot define marriage in such a way that it makes it illegal for one of the protected classes to marry. This is the key distinction between old laws which forbid interracial marriages, which were clearly unconstitutional, and this issue, which is not. Race is a suspect class. Get it?

Posted by: Palouse on July 27, 2006 10:51 AM
71. Timothy wrote:

So...you believe that government should have the right to tell you who you can and can't marry? There was a time when conservatives would bristle at such a suggestion.

From a governmental, contractual level? Yes, it is up to the State to decide if we have the priviledge of forming a civil marriage. It cannot prevent me from a relgious ceremony, or considering my wife as my partner, but it can decide to revoke any priviledges that arise from its choice to recognize marriage.

Marriage is not a Constitutional right; it is a priviledge granted by the State, and can be modified or revoked at the discretion of the State.

Posted by: Edmonds Dan on July 27, 2006 10:54 AM
72. Palouse...so, the legislature could pass a law denying you the right to marry?

Posted by: Timothy on July 27, 2006 10:55 AM
73. Timothy -
I have to respond on your f/u to Palouse...

You said:
"so, the legislature could pass a law denying you the right to marry?"

My answer:
YES, provided that the law is equally applied to all citizens. That said, try and find a legislature that would do so.

Posted by: Dewey on July 27, 2006 10:57 AM
74. Marriage is not a Constitutional right; it is a priviledge granted by the State, and can be modified or revoked at the discretion of the State.

So, you believe that the State could choose to grant rights to marry to the homosexual class of people, yet deny it to the heterosexual class of people?

This is where you and I differ. Dramatically. I see the power of government as fundamentally limited by our Constitution. You are granting to Government the most egregious of all rights.

My preferred solution would be to get Government out of this decision altogether. Again, conservatives used to understand this point.

Posted by: Timothy on July 27, 2006 10:59 AM
75. Our state laws have not specified sexual orientation as a suspect class. It has only established it as a class in cases of housing and employment. That does not automatically carry over to every law on the books.

So, you believe that the State could choose to grant rights to marry to the homosexual class of people, yet deny it to the heterosexual class of people?

The state has done no such thing. It has defined marriage as between a man and a woman. The two non-existent protected classes you mention have nothing to do with it.

Posted by: Palouse on July 27, 2006 11:13 AM
76. Palouse...I'm asking...if the State were to define marriage as between one man and one man or one woman and one woman, and deny associated benefits to heterosexual relationships, are you arguing that the State would be within its right to do so?

Posted by: Timothy on July 27, 2006 11:18 AM
77. Yes, it would be in its rights to do so. Just like it can change the definition tomorrow to include those combinations in addition to man and a woman.

Posted by: Palouse on July 27, 2006 11:20 AM
78. The reason it can do so? Because sexual orientation is not a suspect class. That's the botttom line in all of this.

Posted by: Palouse on July 27, 2006 11:22 AM
79. Timothy,

The government ALREADY HAS THE POWER to dictate who is "married" and who is not.

I believe the State could change the definition of marriage to be only between two people of the same gender, yes. The State could change the definition to be only between two people within 3" of each other in height. As long as it applies to all people equally, then it would be Constitutional.

Would I be upset if the State tomorrow decided that overweight, middle aged WASPs could not longer be married, and thus my own marriage legally desolved? Of course! However, I would still be religiously married, and while it would impact what I would need to do contractually with my wife, I would abide by the State.

Doesn't mean I wouldn't work to change the law, though... However, I would do it legislatively, NOT through the courts. Even the Supreme Court dictated this was to be the path for changing DOMA.

Fundamentally, a marriage license is NOT a right; it is a priviledge. Much like a driver's license, or cosmetology license, or any other license. Ownership of such a license is NOT a right.

I assume you now accept that it is CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED for the State to "discriminate" provided it follows its limitations - due process, and does not use religion for the basis of employment or judicial placement. Outside of that, the State has the Constitutional right to abridge our liberty.

If you have an issue with that, then I would suggest giving up on DOMA and challenging section 3 of the State Constitution, to strike the due process qualifier.

So let me ask you: what is it that you seek from recognition of marriage by the State? Taxation issues (joint filing), medical access, shared estates, etc. Correct?

Those are granted at the will of the State; they are not rights; the Constitutional right to seek taxation is a given, but it is at the discretion of the State to exercise such right as it sees fit.

Likewise the State can choose to restrict medical access; witness the great clamping down on medical record access in the last few years. There is no "right" to be by someone's bedside, nor see their medical records. The State can decide just how far that can go.

There exist legal, Constitutionally based solutions to each of these issues; individual tax returns (trust me, the marriage penalty is real), living wills, shared estates, trusts. All will provide what you seek.

And you can still perform a religious ceremony, be married, and wear a wedding ring - that has never been restricted by the State.

If you want these contracts to be "automatic" then the solution is legislative, not legal.

Bottom line: can you show where DOMA violates the Constitution? I do not believe any of the justices - either for or against - argued outright that DOMA violated the Constitution directly.

It is the law of the land; to change it, you simply must go through process. Initiative, petition your legislators, referendum. But as it stands - rightfully so, in my opinion - DOMA is legal and constitutional.

And a majority of the Supreme Court agrees, and they are the final arbiters of what is Constitutional and what is not.

Fundamentally, you're pursuing the wrong path. This is not an issue for the Court; this is an issue for the legislative branch. The justice you seek is found down that path. Use of the Court to change what was Constitutionally passed by the legislature is to be avoided at all costs.

Posted by: Edmonds Dan on July 27, 2006 11:22 AM
80. Liberal Invincible Ignorance strikes again!

timothy, you are going to be one sad, disaffected, and unsatiated puppy from the looks of things. The answers are right there in front of your face, but you "reserve the right to disagree".

Fine.

You apparently reserve the right to be an iggy, too. Pity. Have fun with that...

Posted by: alphabet soup on July 27, 2006 11:26 AM
81. Listen...I have no illusion that I'm going to convince anyone on this forum that the denial of gay marriage is Unconstitutional.

But, the point of my participation here is to drive home the point that Conservatives in this country have long ago abandoned any claim to being for small, less intrusive government.

If you can't recognize the right of individuals to self-define their own private relationships, or if you choose to give benefits to one class of people over another, then you are granting to government a right that is so invasive as to negate most other ways in which you think you are limiting the power of government.

Most of you seem to think it is OK for the government to have this power; I think it is a travesty, much worse than the intrusions that have come from the left over the past 200 years. It makes me chuckle whenever I hear the charges (repeated ad nauseum) about socialist liberals or big-government democrats.

It is ludicrous to think of individual rights as something that we have to keep defining and expanding within the Constitution. The intent, clearly stated in the 9th amendment of the Constitution and in our own States Section 30 was that the rights of individuals are broad, and that it falls upon the state to justify abridgement of rights.

We bend over backwards to think of new and unique ways in which businesses can enter into contractual relationships with each other. We should be at least that willing to do the same for individuals.

You've confirmed to me that you're willing to cut your nose off to spite your face.

Posted by: Timothy on July 27, 2006 01:34 PM
82. Timothy,

you might as well stop with this. First of all you have made no valid arguments as to this issue being unconstitutional. You have only made arguments of your opinions on what you feel is unconstitutional. You have not proven that marriage is a constitutional right (cause it is not) and you keep changing your approach to try to say that as small government conservatives we should be against government control in our lives. First of all, Conservatives by and large have been against gay marriage so that blows that argument out of the water. Secondly, this has nothing to do with government growing. The government has to set limits on things it deems important. This is why we have speed limits, drivers licenses, age limits on marriage, minimum age limits for employment and definition of marriage between a man and a woman. The DOMA law would never have been created unless the government felt that the institution of traditional marriage was under attack by activists.

Posted by: TrueSoldier on July 27, 2006 01:44 PM
83. "You've confirmed to me that you're willing to cut my nose off to spite your face."

There, that's closer to what you suggest. You're trying really hard, but you're failing spectacularly. Your specious arguments are simply absurd. They're not so much like apples vs. oranges, they're like apples vs. Denubian frange fruit!

But don't let us stop you from indulging yourself in your fantasies of oppression...

Posted by: alphabet soup on July 27, 2006 01:54 PM
84. Timothy,

I appreciate your input; I am always grateful when those on the other end of the spectrum stop by as it provides a good contrast, and a gut-check for each party about the real effect of their positions.

That said,

If you can't recognize the right of individuals to self-define their own private relationships, or if you choose to give benefits to one class of people over another, then you are granting to government a right that is so invasive as to negate most other ways in which you think you are limiting the power of government.

I recognize the rights of individuals to self-define their own private relationships; I also recognize the right of the State to define public relationships.

Again, if you wish to be married in a private ceremony, then go for it! No one here, I believe, is arguing against that.

If you wish for the State to publicly support your relationship, however, that will happen if it fits the definition of marriage as spelled out in DOMA.

I believe the issue is one of where does a private relationship become public, and what role does the State have in regulating public relationships.

Class is not an issue; there isn't a class to speak of. Legally, or IMHO morally. Unless you choose to self-identify yourself as a class of person? Self-segregation so to speak...

We bend over backwards to think of new and unique ways in which businesses can enter into contractual relationships with each other.

And they are regulated by the State. And there are certain relationships that are simply not allowed by the State, including the way profit/non-profits may work together, the way you can flow funds between on-shore and off-shore entities, the way multinational businesses operate, even the way I can send money from my own US based business to a foreign venture I am part owner of.

The State has the right to regulate these connections for the greater good. In this case, the legislature - the ones who write the laws - chose DOMA as best for the State. And they did so in a way that was completely Constitutional, as proven by the findings of the Court.

Arguing that "it's not fair" will not change that; you don't agree, but by definition it's fair, as it has been adjudicated. If you want to change the rules, don't use the Courts; initiative, referendum, or lobby your legislators for a new bill.

Fundamentally, conservatives are for limited government when it is in the best interest of all; in some cases - interstate commerce (not how it's been broadly stretched), foreign relations, national defense, and societal structure are areas where I believe conservatives recognize and willingly cede authority to the State.

This issue falls under societal structure and interstate commerce (because of portability of insurance, benefits, and the like and because only two other states recognize homosexual marriages).

Posted by: Edmonds Dan on July 27, 2006 02:03 PM
85. Edmonds: "This issue falls under societal structure and interstate commerce"

When this finally gets to the SCOTUS... probably years from now... my prediction is that this will be a big Deja Vu if you look at the Loving vs Virginia decision back in 1963. "Marriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of man'..."

It's interesting to read the arguements in that case, when the majority of Americans were against interracial marriage, and compare them to the arguements used today... the arguements are incredibly similar: Using the Bible as "Proof" of how marriage was designed; Protecting the children of these 'unnatural' marriages so they would not face undo ridicule; Arguing that everyone has the right to marry, but the State can define the terms.

Sexual orientation is just another part of the human condition, as much a part of what makes us individuals as the color of our skin. Science has not provided decisive proof of this yet, but I'm confident they will soon. I find it sad that society has to go through these long drawn out growing pain every time we come to one of these decisions, but apparently that is how we move forward... at glacial speed, kicking and screaming all the way.

And by the way, this IS a "Conservative" opinion. It's just that the GOP gave up most of it's conservative credentials some time ago.

Posted by: Splinter on July 27, 2006 02:30 PM
86. SCOTUS has already declined to get involved in the Massachussetts case, I doubt they will all of a sudden change their mind on cases that upheld DOMA. But if they do, precedent is not on the side of those who want to overturn DOMA, because of the aforementioned suspect class issue.

Posted by: Palouse on July 27, 2006 03:02 PM
87. Like I said in my post, I don't expect it to happen very soon... probably years from now. And I suspect that we will have more and more evidence (to the point of being overwhelming) that would give this future court the reasonable conclusion that homosexuality at least approaches in immutable characteristic.... Just my opinion of course.

As a side note, after reading up through the comments, I find it really wierd that people are so "relieved" about this decision. Funny actually, that some heterosexuals feel they might somehow be physically or even emotionally harmed if gay people were allowed to marry. People are getting married in Canada and in Mass., and I fail to see how anyone has been harmed even in the slightest way. Homosexuals always have and always will make up a small portion of the population and there is nothing that will ever change that

Posted by: Splinter on July 27, 2006 03:22 PM
88. Splinter, I know it's probably not a source you would read voluntarily, but take the time to read this article about a country that has had gay marriage for over 10 years and their results.

Posted by: Palouse on July 27, 2006 03:50 PM
89. Stanley Kurtz....LOL!

He's simply manipulated the demographic statistics to paint a picture he wants you to see. Honestly, using his own statistics, you can see that marriage "collapsed" BEFORE gays were allowed to marry.

Do you believe everything you read?

Posted by: Splinter on July 27, 2006 04:07 PM
90. You obviously did not read the whole thing and dismissed it as soon as you saw the source, which is what I expected. Nevermind.

Posted by: Palouse on July 27, 2006 04:11 PM
91. Sorry, I did not mean to sound condescending, but I have read that article and it has been refuted. The scandanavian countries introduced domestic partnerships as an option to marriage, which totally messes up the demographic data. Also, his "out of wedlock" statistics fails to mention that those are primary two parent households and that the two parents do indeed end up getting married... yes, sometimes after the child is born. But again, there is absolutely no relationship to out of wedlock births and gay marriage.

Posted by: Splinter on July 27, 2006 04:14 PM
92. Their statistics during the 90's after the advent of gay marriage say otherwise. The salient point is that this happens slowly, starting with legalized gay marriage, and then eventually leading to changed attitudes about marriage in general, and then the separation of marriage and parenthood. It's already happened there, and the push is on here. As stated in the article, we are in stage 2.

Posted by: Palouse on July 27, 2006 04:20 PM
93. OK - I did a google and found that this is the most coherent of the arguments showing the flaw in Kurtz's logic. And now it's your turn... will you be able to read this "liberal rag" with an objective mind? ;-)

http://www.slate.com/id/2100884/

I'm signing off, but it was nice chatting. Have a nice evening.

Posted by: Splinter on July 27, 2006 04:29 PM
94. So the specious arguments that gay marriage will have no effect on that individual's marriage really do not look at the societal picture. There's alot of that here now, probably because people are short sighted and really don't think about the impact of things that won't affect them in the next 30 minutes. There's a reason traditional marriage exists, because it works.

Posted by: Palouse on July 27, 2006 04:34 PM
95. OK.... I can't resist your comment, "There's a reason traditional marriage exists, because it works."

50% plus divorce rate is your definition of traditional marriage working? And you honestly believe letting gay people get married would make this worse? Heterosexuals would not love each other as much, or kids would start turning gay?

Sorry, but I honestly do not get it.

And now, I really do need to go or I'll be stuck in traffic forever!

Posted by: Splinter on July 27, 2006 04:43 PM
96. Yes, it works. Especially in the cases where kids are involved. The fact that people get divorced doesn't change that. Kids who grow up with a mother and father are infitely more well adjusted than those who don't.

As for the Slate article, he basically argues that all that would have happened anyway, fine. But he does brush by a fact that supports Kurtz argument:

Norway's big surge occurred in the 1980's, with an increase from 16 percent to 39 percent.In the decade after Norway recognized same-sex couples (in 1993), the nonmarital birth rate first rose slightly, then, after a couple of years, leveled off at 50 percent.

So, an increase from 39% to 50% AFTER the advent of gay marriage would have happened anyway? Perhaps, but I doubt it. The addition of gay marriage exacerbated the problem of the separation of marriage from parenthood.

Posted by: Palouse on July 27, 2006 04:51 PM
97. "Registered partnerships" are largely thought of as marriage in those countries as well. And the statistics show a degradation in the out-of-wedlock birth rate following the institution of those partnerships as well:

nine consecutive years of average two-percentage-point increases in the Dutch out-of-wedlock birthrate, a rise unmatched by any country in Western Europe during the same period. Ever since the Dutch passed registered partnerships in 1997, followed by formal same-sex marriage in 2000, their out-of-wedlock birthrate has been moving up

What the Slate analysis also doesn't mention is that:

cohabiting parents break up at two to three times the rate of married parents

More here and here and here

Posted by: Palouse on July 27, 2006 06:30 PM
98. Jeff B: 1) Marriage has it's place as a social institution, and we would do well to maintain frameworks of morality in our society such as marriage.

Timothy: Chapter and verse of the State Constitution, please.

ME: Another profound example of a individual who can write English, but is incapable of READING English. IF Jeff had stated: "Marriage has its place in the STATE CONSTITUTION..." THEN, and ONLY THEN is your "chapter and verse of the State Constitution" request valid. Gawd, I'm SO SICK AND TIRED OF THIS CRAP! What's your major malfunction? Why don't YOU GET THAT?? You can't possibly be this ILLOGICAL and IGNORANT, but you, in fact, are. A self-righteous, close-minded, fundamentalist liberal IDIOT. Of course, as I quickly scrolled through the 90-some posts I was confronted by your "Chapter and verse" babble ad infinitum, AD NASEUM. Another self-proclaimed intellectual atlas who thinks for himself. Nothing like the "sheeple" and the "breeders," right smart guy?

Oh, and guess what?

I hold the SAME CONTEMPT for the irrational, illogical, bullying, racist, homo-hater, Pastor Ken Hutcherson and people of HIS ILK. They ARE just as nauseating as you.

See, Timothy, unlike you and the rest of the conserva-phobic, hetro,white male-hating brethren, I don't discriminate. You're both IDIOTS. I'm DISGUSTED beyond belief. Or, In the SIMPLEST OF TERMS: I don't hold you in contempt because of you're lifestyle. NO, not at all. I hold you in contempt for being a world class HYPOCRITE and WASTING OUR TIME with your INANE argument. Get it? Got it?? Good.

Posted by: Your Life Is MY Fault on July 27, 2006 07:25 PM
99. So, a final comment and then I'll go. And, this one is personal.

While many of you here celebrated this decision as some sort of victory, for me and my family, this was a painful, painful day. I was prepared to lose this one, or so I thought, But, it still hurt.

I have two gay brothers. I've been dealing with this directly since I was 14. I was raised religiously conservative, and spent most of my life working toward building the zion that I then envisioned.

As I said, I'm aware that my comments are not persuasive to any of you here. I've come to accept the divide between us; but I don't like it. This divide splits my family, my community.

I guess I just feel a need to express that while for many of you this seems a political and philosophical exercise, it is much, much more personal to me. I've seen the destruction that is caused by the marginalization of the gay community, and the broken lives left in it's wake. But, I've also seen the destruction caused to those who are told that if they only try harder, they can live a "normal" heterosexual life.

Anyway...all I'm really trying to do here is to hold out some semblance of an olive branch. My community is in deep mourning over this decision. I don't know if I can adequately explain that here, on this forum, or if even this will be mocked. But, beyond the shouting back and forth, this issue represents real lives, real issues. I live with this issue every day of my life.

This division between us is not healthy. I continue to look for ways to bridge the divide. I hope at least some of you, while not agreeing with me, will seek to reach across the divide to at least comfort and understand some of those who are in pain over this issue. To at least be human to each other, despite our differences.

That's my hope.

Posted by: Timothy on July 27, 2006 08:25 PM
100. So how many of the 50% of marriages end in divorce are caused by people who decide they are gay?
Nobody ever wants to bring that point up when using the divorce percentage.

Posted by: James S. on July 27, 2006 11:21 PM
101. timothy, you speak of "destruction that is caused by the marginalization of the gay community" as if that were something that normal people - especially conservatives - do to homosexuals. Sorry bud, but that just simply isn't the case. And your emotional display doesn't change that one whit.

Homosexuals marginalize themselves by virtue of their behavior. There were many of us who said that the "in your face, we're here, we're queer, deal with it" attitude of militant homosexuals would have a societal backlash, and it has. Not the sort of backlash that one would expect from liberals who would key your car or p!ss on your peonies, but the measured and reasoned response of people that regard the rule of law over your feeeeeelings.

Nowhere in any of your posts do you demonstrate any anecdotal evidence that anyone in the straight community has acted in any manner other than "To at least be human to each other, despite our differences.". Normal Americans are remarkably tolerant of homosexuals, but if you demand our acceptance of your lifestyle, you had better be prepared to be disappointed. In the case of your attempts to redefine the normalcy of marriage you are demanding something that goes beyond the bounds of normal society and your notions have been rejected. Get over it.

Posted by: alphabet soup on July 28, 2006 08:47 AM
102. "Normal Americans are remarkably tolerant of homosexuals"

Oh thank you! Thank you for letting us live with all you "Normals"!

Masta is soooo generous for not locking us up in asylums anymore... for not harrassing us with the Normal Police and for letting us create or own Pervert Churches.

Oh Mercy! Thank you Masta Normal!

Posted by: Capt. Sarcastic on July 28, 2006 12:19 PM
103. You're welcome ;'}

Posted by: alphabet soup on July 28, 2006 01:21 PM
104. Timothy,

Marginalization happens to all marginal groups; when you compose a small percentage of the population your concerns will be taken with less importance. That's the brutal truth - society tends towards the "what's best for the majority" approach to things.

For example, try being overweight. Myself, I'm 300 pounds, and 6 feet tall. Yes, I wear a size 46 pant and a size 58 jacket. I had my last physical 2 months ago and had great numbers (BP 124/77, total cholesterol of 179, resting heart rate of 56 BPM, and 20 minutes on the treadmill). I'm in great shape, but genetically my entire family carries a gut, big thighs, and are built like houses - wide and squat.

Try dealing with societal pressure about size. Fitting in seats of airplanes, buses, movie theaters. Looks of disdain when you eat ice cream - never mind that I could out-work pretty much anyone at the Baskin Robbins!

Do I dwell on it? No - I live with it. It's something that I - as a "minority" have to live with. I don't lift my shirt and wave my belly at those staring at me, calling them bigots. I go about my business, knowing that what they believe really doesn't matter.

The issue is well-put by alphabet soup - it is the DEMAND for acceptance by the radical side of the GLBT community that is killing your own goals. For the vast majority of people, the gay lifestyle is a lifestyle - it is a choice. Right or wrong, that is what the vast majority of society believes. Trying to force acceptance of a behavior that most do not approve of will never work.

If the GLBT wants to make progress in simply being left alone, no longer "discriminated" against, then the best way is to simply shut down the radical in-your-face groups. Melt in with society. America is the melting pot - bring up your differences only when it is appropriate to do so!

Flaunting sexuality just doesn't work. In 10, 20, 40 years? Maybe. But having a large portion of the GLBT community actively flaunting and pushing acceptance of the gay lifestyle will not move society as a whole towards acceptance.

If you want to educate society that the GLBT lifestyle is decent, then the best way to do that is to simply live decently. For a good amount of time. Don't push it, don't flaunt it. And after you've spent a dozen years working next to someone who's anti-gay, and it finally comes up about each other's sexual orientation, THEN you will open eyes - they will know you as a person first, an orientation second.

Unfortunately, too many of those in the forefront of the GLBT community want to be known by their sexual orientation first, then by their own persons second. That just won't work.

Posted by: Edmonds Dan on July 28, 2006 01:27 PM
105. Edmonds: "For example, try being overweight. Myself, I'm 300 pounds, and 6 feet tall. Yes, I wear a size 46 pant and a size 58 jacket."

Are you being denied any basic legal protections based on your size?

Edmonds: "But having a large portion of the GLBT community actively flaunting and pushing acceptance of the gay lifestyle"

The gay dads or lesbian moms, quietly living in the suburbs, or gay christian kid quietly standing behind the crowds at a pride parade... these people don't make the evening news. It's the dykes on bikes and the leather clad daddies or the mostly naked go-go dancers that do.

I would argue that the vast majority of gay folks are quiet, decent people, working a normal 9 to 5 job. They tend to just blend in and you don't even notice them.

So how do you change society when all society sees is the sensational? Kind of a catch 22 isn't it?

Posted by: Splinter on July 28, 2006 02:43 PM
106. Splinter,

For me personally? No. And I know I'm in excellent health; every checkup my doctor says the same: "Well, according to the charts you're morbidly obese, and should lose 100 pounds. However, you're healthy as a horse, just built like a football lineman. So, see you next year".

However, many ARE discriminated against because of their weight; perhaps this class of people - the obese - should be protected from all forms of discrimination? Is it genetic? Is it just a behavior that can be changed? Does it matter?

So no I'm not being denied any basic legal protections based upon my size. No more so than those in the GLBT are being denied basic legal protections with DOMA. I cannot qualify as a police officer or fire fighter simply based upon my BMI and size; never mind my physical ability.

Please read this article for an excellent CURRENT example of the problems the GLBT community brings upon itself.

Failing to show up to a GLBT event now is shouted down as "you support intolerance!". That simply doesn't make sense. Essentially, to NOT be called interolerant, or a bigot, I MUST support everything that the GLBT community supports.

In that case, is the GLBT community intolerant and bigoted towards Catholics? They certainly don't support the Catholic church's position on homosexuality.

Or how about President Bush? The vast majority of the GLBT community is virulently opposed to President Bush, and will not show up and support him at his events in Seattle. Thus they are filled with intolerance and bigotry.

See the problem?

You nail it perfectly - it is the dykes on bikes, the lether clad daddies, and the like that are showcased AS the "GLBT community". THAT is the image that pops in everyone's heads when they hear about gay pride. The lines by k.d. lang about "intolerance because he won't show up". That is the problem.

The solution is really simple - if those who are currently "showcased" really are the minority, it is the majority of the GLBT community's responsibility to wrest control back, and make the case in a more reasoned, socially acceptable case.

I don't think many would argue that it is socially acceptable to have drag queens and leather clad guys with open-ass chaps strutting the streets!

If you want to get a law passed, then you have to convince a majority of the legislators that it is in society's best interest to pass it. That means getting a majority of their constituents behind it. That means learning how to convince society as it stands TODAY to consider your position.

Over-the-top parades, shouting down those who won't show up and cheer as "intolerant", and most of the extremism that is used as the "face" of the GLBT community simply won't work with most of society.

I would argue that if the overtly gay wing would be told to shut up, then the vast majority who are quiet and decent could make the changes they desire.

It's easy for nearly everyone to point at the extreme examples and refuse to support or even consider their position. It's a lot harder when it's the guy you've been working with for 8 years and you just find out he's gay...

Keep the sexuality in the background - that's the solution. Treat it as NAAFA approaches the issues of the obese; we don't have "fatty" parades, nor demand that if you don't show up at a large-person's camp you're intolerant.

Attitude is the issue, I'm convinced of it.

Posted by: Edmonds Dan on July 28, 2006 03:39 PM
107. Dan - I don't disagree with you about the amount of intolerance in the gay community. Gay people can be a bit dramatic to say the least, and calling someone intolerant for not showing up at a parade, or shouting down people that have deeply held convictions, isn't going to win over anyone.

Regarding your comments about discrimination, my personal feeling is that there should not be any anti-discrimination laws at all at this point. If a landlord or a business owner doesn't want to do business with you because you are gay, because you are asian, or because you are an evangelical Christian.... I'm fine with that. Frankly, I would like to be able to screen out preachy arrogant evangelicals from my business, but it's against the law. You should not legislate thoughts at all in my opinion, which is what these laws do.

Discrimination wasn't really the point of discussion though, legal protection being withheld was.

"I don't think many would argue that it is socially acceptable to have drag queens and leather clad guys with open-ass chaps strutting the streets!"

I don't really think pride parades are the problem, I think it is a matter of society not getting exposed to the other section of the the gay community. We see half-naked, bare breasted, drunken heterosexuals every Mardi Gras and every Spring Break, but society doesn't believe they necessarily represent all of straight society. I love a big wild party on the very rare occasion, but it doesn't define me. We have that pesky free speach thingy here, so it's not very realistic to suggest that one part of the gay community tell the other part of the gay community to "shut up".

The solution is that the more socially acceptable parts of the gay community need to become more visible, without appearing militant. They are making some progress in my opinion when we see the old lesbian grandmas getting married after being together for 35 years, or the two gay church-going dads with the adopted kids. SoulForce is making some inroads into the mainstream Christian community.

If you have more comments, I will probably have to respond on Monday... have a nice weekend.

Posted by: Splinter on July 28, 2006 04:11 PM
108. Edmonds Dan...I truly appreciate your tone in this discussion. Thanks for that.

That said, I'm not very persuaded by your advice. This is not an issue that will change when the gay community learns how to act better. You perpetuate a common myth in your suggestions, that the gay community is a single, coordinated entity. It isn't. Much like if I were to say to the right...if you'd just get those fanatical christian fundamentalists to tone down their rhetoric!" Of course you can't, and won't, because there's no central coordination that works in that manner.

But, again, to me? This is a basic right that should not be determined by the whims of the majority. Can you imagine if we transplanted your argument back to the Interacial Marriage debates? It might go something like this..."If you'd just get those radical black people to stop demanding marriage rights...if you could get them to dress and talk more like us normal people, then we might allow them to get married."

The mere notion of asking permission for this is extremely distasteful, and I'd suggest, would never be tolerated by whites or heterosexuals, or catholics, or any group of people to whom this is currently granted but who is also not a minority population.

But, again, thanks for your suggestions, and more importanly, your tone.

Posted by: Timothy on July 28, 2006 04:15 PM
109. "So how do you change society when all society sees is the sensational? Kind of a catch 22 isn't it?"

Society doesn't need changing. Society is working fine exactly as it is. If you make your primary purpose in life to be offended, it isn't difficult to find offense. As Edmonds Dan has described so well, the "gay" community has allowed its most extreme members to define and illustrate themselves. As long as the publicly perceived notion of homosexuals continues to be that of bizarre anti-social degenerates, the public at large is going to hold them at arm's length.

You hold the key to your own fate.

Posted by: alphabet soup on July 28, 2006 04:17 PM
110. When a "civil rights" group entire identity is a sexual preference, the civil rights issue falls away. If you choose to practice homosexuality, forget about marriage and children. That is your choice and you can't have it all. If you don't like that answer, please petition God that men and men or women and women can make children and therefore marriage. I doubt he will grant your wish but until then, don't bother me about it. Your need for sex doesn't bother me, it's your need of inclusion and desire of society's blessing that gets on my nerves.

Posted by: Elaine on July 28, 2006 10:09 PM
111. You know? It would go a long way if a conservative here, perhaps one who agrees with the decision, would explain to Elaine why her reasoning is really poor, and has absolutely nothing to do with secular laws in this country.

Posted by: Timothy on July 28, 2006 10:54 PM
112. Timothy,

And thank you for keeping it civil! I enjoy good political discussions, but so often they fall into name calling and insults... Doesn't go forward at all. Even if neither of us ever changes our minds (and on this issue I doubt either of us will...;)) at least we've learned a little bit!

I think the statement by Splinter is right-on:

Regarding your comments about discrimination, my personal feeling is that there should not be any anti-discrimination laws at all at this point. If a landlord or a business owner doesn't want to do business with you because you are gay, because you are asian, or because you are an evangelical Christian.... I'm fine with that. Frankly, I would like to be able to screen out preachy arrogant evangelicals from my business, but it's against the law. You should not legislate thoughts at all in my opinion, which is what these laws do.

I fully agree. Laws against discrimination, hate crime laws, and other laws that protect classes or enforce association are, IMHO patently unconstitutional for they absolutely enshrine special, protected rights for classes of people.

As far as marriage being a right, I don't think it is. I believe that's the fundamental issue. We have the right to free association (except in those cases that Splinter eloquently pointed out), but that does NOT mean the State must approve - or even provide recognition - of those associations.

Your analogy of inter-racial marriage isn't really a good analogy; sexuality is something internal, race is something external. Additionally, the laws were challenged for decades before being struck down once there was enough public support to do so. It wasn't a courageous stand by the Courts and legistatures; rather it was a tacit acknowledgement that times had changed.

It was only after there wasn't a big concern over political repercussions that such laws were wiped away. And I believe because fundamentally the Courts and the legislatures knew inherently that marriage is not a right.

I'd say this is more akin to restrictions on marriage amongst close relatives, or polygamy. Should the State recognize those as well? If not, then the State inherently has the ability to decide what is best in terms of this recognized relationship.

You know? It would go a long way if a conservative here, perhaps one who agrees with the decision, would explain to Elaine why her reasoning is really poor, and has absolutely nothing to do with secular laws in this country.

I agree; one does not need to extend religion into it to argue for DOMA. At the same time, that means use of section 11 - religious freedom - to counter DOMA is also incorrectly based...;)

Posted by: Edmonds Dan on July 29, 2006 10:27 AM
113. Edmonds Dan...your kind tone has brought me back into the conversation. :-)

I fully agree. Laws against discrimination, hate crime laws, and other laws that protect classes or enforce association are, IMHO patently unconstitutional for they absolutely enshrine special, protected rights for classes of people.

I tend libertarian in my political philosophy, so this argument has sway on me. However, history has taught us that majorities can become tyrannical; that's why we went down the path of the Bill of Rights; to enumerate basic instances where rights are considered supra-constitutional.

In certain ways, though, it seems to me that the Bill of Rights have set us in the wrong direction. People now make comments, such as have been given in this very discussion, that rights must now be specifically mentioned in the constitution in order for them to exist.

I think this is faulty, short-sighted reasoning. Rights are expansive. The 9th Amendment was an attempt to remind us of this, but we've all but forgotten about it.

As far as marriage being a right, I don't think it is. I believe that's the fundamental issue. We have the right to free association (except in those cases that Splinter eloquently pointed out), but that does NOT mean the State must approve - or even provide recognition - of those associations.

I agree and disagree. I think marriage is a right. When I speak of rights, I'm not saying that the State needs to give us that right. The State never gives rights, it only protects them. We have a right to make these fundamental life-decisions on our own. I have a right to shape my life as I see fit, to create family with whom I see appropriate. You seem to agree with this when you cite the freedom of associations as a right. We agree.

I don't look to the State to provide "recognition" in the way that argument intends. But...here's the point. Once the State begins to recognize the freely chosen family relationships of one group of people, then it becomes incumbent upon the State to treat all groups equally.

As I mentioned above, I'd prefer it if the State weren't in the business of marriage at all. The only legitimate State role, in my opinion, is to enforce these contractual agreements. But, since there's no way were going to move in that direction anytime soon, then my argument is that treatment must be equal and fair.

So, to summarize. You and I agree that there is a right to free association (again, this is not granted by the State, it supercedes the power of the State). Once the State begins recognizing certain associations, it follows that it must do so equitably. That's my argument in a nutshell.

Your analogy of inter-racial marriage isn't really a good analogy; sexuality is something internal, race is something external.

So? I'm not sure what this is supposed to prove? Would you agree that it would be unconstitutional to approve of Irish marriages but not Scottish marriages? The visible traits of a person are not, constitutionally, more important than the non-visible traits of a person.

BTW...I never get why either side of this discussion delves into the "immutability" question. Religion is not immutable, and we provide myriad protections for that chosen lifestyle.

Additionally, the laws were challenged for decades before being struck down once there was enough public support to do so. It wasn't a courageous stand by the Courts and legistatures; rather it was a tacit acknowledgement that times had changed.

Sure. The reality is that no minority population will gain these protections until a large percentage of the majority have come to understand their plight. I recognize this.

And I believe because fundamentally the Courts and the legislatures knew inherently that marriage is not a right.

Again, I disagree. Marriage is a right (freedom of association). We agree that State-sponsored marriage is not a right. What we don't seem to agree on is whether the State can arbitrarily restrict the recognition of some marriages and not others. I don't believe they can absent compelling reasons. I don't think there any any close-to-compelling reasons in this instance. I think there are superstitious and religious reasons.

I'd say this is more akin to restrictions on marriage amongst close relatives, or polygamy. Should the State recognize those as well? If not, then the State inherently has the ability to decide what is best in terms of this recognized relationship.

My ancestors were polygamists. I spring from their form of marriage. I see no basis for denying the free association of adults, including polygamy.

I agree; one does not need to extend religion into it to argue for DOMA. At the same time, that means use of section 11 - religious freedom - to counter DOMA is also incorrectly based...;)

The usage of section 11 is meant to show that we are not able to use religious dogma from one specific religious theology to craft laws of discrimination against a minority population. I think that argument still holds.

Now...

Many on this forum are arguing from a position of strength and confidence. You just won a major victory. But, that doesn't make me wrong or stupid, as some have suggested. I'm quite confident that I understand the nuances of this argument much better than most.

I'll say this...I'm confident that my arguments are going to win out in the not-too-distant future. Do conservatives on this board really believe that we are going to turn the clock backwards on this issue? We've been on a steady march towards equality for gays for decades now. Even this decision portends dramatic change. This was a 5 to 4 ruling. Even the majority couldn't piece together an argument agreed to by the majority for this ruling. The majority opinion here is actually supported by less than a majority of the court.

In other words, your victory here is short-lived. We'll see this change, Nationwide, in less than 20 years.

Posted by: Timothy on July 30, 2006 08:30 AM