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Gay Marriage, a Change that is a Privilege not a Right

If gay marriage advocates are serious about securing state recognition of same-sex marriage, they need show respect for and take issue with serious arguments against their cause.  The angry rants of all too many activists notwithstanding, many opponents of gay marriage ground their opposition not in bigotry but in their understanding of the meaning of the institution.

They see it, as it has been defined for millennia, a union of individuals of different genders.  I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repetition: those pushing for change need understand that that’s what they’re doing — pushing for change.

And considering how so many of them warmed to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign with just that slogan, “Change,” they should welcome a campaign for change.  They trying to change the type of relationships states privilege by calling them marriages.

Note the verb I use in that last sentence, “privilege” because that’s what states do when they call a particular kind of union, “marriage,”  they privilege it.  I’ve been saying that for years.

I find myself in good company.  A reader alerted me to Thomas Sowell’s column last week where he finds the issue of state recognition of same-sex marriage as one off privileges, not “rights:”  “The politically clever way to get special privileges is to call them ‘rights’– especially ‘equal rights.’

So, let’s change the campaign for gay marriage by honestly acknowledging the goal of the advocacy:  to include same-sex couples among the relationships states privilege.  With that in mind, we need understand what Sowell does (and what all too many gay marriage activists choose to ignore):

Marriage has existed for centuries and, until recent times, it has always meant a union between a man and a woman. Over those centuries, a vast array of laws has grown up, all based on circumstances that arise in unions between a man and a woman.

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said that law has not been based on logic but on experience. To apply a mountain of laws based specifically on experience with relations between a man and a woman to a different relationship where sex differences are not involved would be like applying the rules of baseball to football.

The argument that current marriage laws “discriminate” against homosexuals confuses discrimination against people with making distinctions among different kinds of behavior.

As I’ve said repeatedly on this blog, it’s time gay activists acknowledge reality and change their rhetoric and strategy accordingly.

The passage of Proposition 8 should serve as a wake-up call that these advocates need show respect for their adversaries.  Given that marriage has always been defined by sexual difference, they need recognize that they are pushing for social change.  Not just that.  In asking for states to recognize this expanded definition of marriage, they are asking governments to confer privileged status upon our unions, not protect some long-extant right that Californians just voted to usurp.

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31 Comments

  1. well, I think explaining how the expansion of individual freedom at home and overseas strengthen us all is the the most rational and compelling argument for any individual right.

    Comment by robert verdi — November 12, 2008 @ 7:41 pm - November 12, 2008

  2. I’ve had a number of public and private discussions with Dan about Prop 8. While I never publically announced how I voted, I did confide in Dan that in spite of my misgiving about the No on 8 campaign, I eventually voted NO.

    I was told repeatedly that the proposition would in no way effect churches. Now I hear the cries of No on 8 supporters asking that the Morman Church lose its tax exempt status. So much for no effect on churches.

    The largest majority in this state to pass Prop 8 came from African American voters, buy 70-30 % if what I read is correct. Now I read of protests in LA where Black Americans are being called the “N” word by opponents of Prop 8. Apparently, anyone who opposes the idea of SSM is to be subjected to labels of racists and bigots. This was what we heard for the No on 8 groups all during the campaign. This is why they lost. This is why I personally regret having voted against Prop 8. If I could do it over, I’d vote yes as loudly and as emphatically as I could. Very very few of these brown shirts, and yes, I call them brown shirts, have any conception of what marriage is, and I doubt if 1% of them would ever avail themselves of the responsibilities that go with marriage.

    As a gay man, I have to apologize to the proponents of Prop 8. You were right. Once again, what they cannot achieve at the ballot box, they seek out the courts to overturn the voice of the citizens of California, and if that means vicious verbal and physical assualts (see the article about the 69 yo woman in Palm Springs attacked by “activists” and being called a Nazi as they tore her cross to shreds). They called her a Nazi as they acted just like any street mob of Nazi’s would have acted.

    Dan, you are one of the few voices of sense in this season of absurdity. I can promise you I will NEVER vote again in favor of these idiots.

    Comment by John in Dublin California — November 12, 2008 @ 10:15 pm - November 12, 2008

  3. The actions of many of the protesters, or at least the protesters highlighted in the media, are nothing short of disgraceful. I condemn their actions and wish other gays and lesbians across the country would do the same. However, their actions do not answer the question: “Should marriage be legally restricted to opposite sex couples?” Regardless of the shameful actions of certain California gays, the answer to that question is “no.”

    “I was told repeatedly that the proposition would in no way effect churches. Now I hear the cries of No on 8 supporters asking that the Morman Church lose its tax exempt status. So much for no effect on churches.” That’s a non sequitur. “Cries” that the Mormon church lose its tax exempt status are based on its violation of the rules surrounding its 501(c)(3) status by the way it involved itself in the political process, not for refusing to recognize same sex relationships. If the Mormon church actually violated the law, it should have its federal nonprofit status revoked, as other nonprofits have. No church can be forced to marry two men, just as no church can be forced to marry non-adherents to its religion or mixed race couples.

    Comment by MichaelnotMike — November 12, 2008 @ 11:49 pm - November 12, 2008

  4. John, you should add your comment to my most recent post.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — November 13, 2008 @ 3:53 am - November 13, 2008

  5. There are clearly two choices here, one is that you accept your premise of Privilege, and thereby the argument isn’t change, but that heterosexuals are a special class, and are receiving benefits because of their status that others in society don’t. As such, privilege should be removed if it is being applied in a discriminatory fashion.

    Or, you could find as the CA Supreme Court found in May of this year, the justices ruled that people have a fundamental ‘right to marry’ the person of their choice and that gender restrictions violate the state Constitution’s equal protection guarantee.

    The idea that a majority vote gets to decide the fundamental constitutional rights of others is not sound.

    What’s next, a Prop 666 to take away freedom of religion? Majority vote it away my friends and see the protests it would spark.

    Comment by AllAmericanQueer — November 13, 2008 @ 6:46 am - November 13, 2008

  6. I’m actually glad you bring up the issue of privilege with regard to gay marriage because I think it is the backbone of opponents’ arguments. Just as was the case in the days of segregation and the civil rights struggle for African Americans, white people claimed “privilege” as the reason for trampling on the rights of blacks. It was supposedly “tradition” which gave them the “right” or “privilege” to have or do what black people could not. Just because a societal institution has been around for eons does not mean it is rational or justified based on precedent. This goes for slavery, second-class status of women, interracial marriage and for gay marriage.

    I don’t really see how your argument about marriage being a privilege would apply any differently to women’s suffrage. To be perfectly clear and analogous to your argument, voting was defined for thousands of years as only the right of men. Is women’s right to vote actually a privilege? Did the federal government simply extend the male privilege of voting to women or was it recognizing a fundamental right? The difference between “privilege” and “right” is not abundantly clear, but privileges are generally special rights for a limited few whereas rights, in a general sense, are for everyone. See that I even invoked the term “rights” to explain privilege, which is not wholly unusual because the terms are similar.

    It is not as black and white as you would like it to be, no pun intended. But gay marriage is just as justifiably a “rights issue” as is women’s suffrage or civil rights for African Americans.

    I’m not sure you’re drawing a clear distinction between your own argument and those of gay activists by saying, “In asking for states to recognize this expanded definition of marriage, they are asking governments to confer privileged status upon our unions, not protect some long-extant right that Californians just voted to usurp.” Most supporters of gay marriage would use the same argument as for women’s suffrage or for interracial marriage: The issues have been defined narrowly by the law in the past, but the progressive thing to do is redefine those laws so they actually provide equal rights – not special rights. The rights were “long-extant” in a theoretical sense of equality, but in a very real sense rights are meaningless without laws protecting them.

    Do we now believe that women’s right to vote or interracial marriages are special rights or that they were never theoretical rights “long-extant” before the law recognized them? Of course not! So in the same way that voting is now a priori understood as applying to both men and women or that marriage includes any combination of skin colors, gay marriage would simply become marriage between two consenting adults who hopefully love each other – yes, a change in the “traditional” definition of marriage, recognizing its historical flaw. It’s really not a hard pill to swallow when compared to other historical rights issues. In claiming privilege today, gay marriage opponents are no different than those in the past who claimed similar privilege over the rights of women, blacks, Native Americans, etc.

    Comment by Realist — November 13, 2008 @ 11:17 am - November 13, 2008

  7. I’m actually glad you bring up the issue of privilege with regard to gay marriage because I think it is the backbone of opponents’ arguments. Just as was the case in the days of segregation and the civil rights struggle for African Americans, white people claimed “privilege” as the reason for trampling on the rights of blacks. It was supposedly “tradition” which gave them the “right” or “privilege” to have or do what black people could not. Just because a societal institution has been around for eons does not mean it is rational or justified based on precedent. This goes for slavery, second-class status of women, interracial marriage and for gay marriage.

    I don’t really see how your argument about marriage being a privilege would apply any differently to women’s suffrage. To be perfectly clear and analogous to your argument, voting was defined for thousands of years as only the right of men. Is women’s right to vote actually a privilege? Did the federal government simply extend the male privilege of voting to women or was it recognizing a fundamental right? The difference between “privilege” and “right” is not abundantly clear, but privileges are generally special rights for a limited few whereas rights, in a general sense, are for everyone. See that I even invoked the term “rights” to explain privilege, which is not wholly unusual because the terms are similar.

    It is not as black and white as you would like it to be, no pun intended. But gay marriage is just as justifiably a “rights issue” as is women’s suffrage or civil rights for African Americans.

    I’m not sure you’re drawing a clear distinction between your own argument and those of gay activists by saying, “In asking for states to recognize this expanded definition of marriage, they are asking governments to confer privileged status upon our unions, not protect some long-extant right that Californians just voted to usurp.” Most supporters of gay marriage would use the same argument as for women’s suffrage or for interracial marriage: The issues have been defined narrowly by the law in the past, but the progressive thing to do is redefine those laws so they actually provide equal rights – not special rights. The rights were “long-extant” in a theoretical sense of equality, but in a very real sense rights are meaningless without laws protecting them.

    Do we now believe that women’s right to vote or interracial marriages are special rights or that they were never theoretical rights “long-extant” before the law recognized them? Of course not! So in the same way that voting is now a priori understood as applying to both men and women or that marriage includes any combination of skin colors, gay marriage would simply become marriage between two consenting adults who hopefully love each other – yes, a change in the “traditional” definition of marriage, recognizing its historical flaw. It’s really not a hard pill to swallow when compared to other historical rights issues. In claiming privilege today, gay marriage opponents are no different than those in the past who claimed similar privilege over the rights of women, blacks, Native Americans, etc.

    Comment by Realist — November 13, 2008 @ 11:21 am - November 13, 2008

  8. I’ve been quickly becoming a fan of the GayPatriot, and have to say that the calm and rational voice I hear from your point of view over same sex marriage has given me something more to consider. While it seems like we agree over many issues (comes with being a conservative I guess), and probably will not agree over SSM, I have gained a greater appreciation. Thanks for being the voice of reason in such an emotional topic!

    -AC

    Comment by AngryConservative — November 13, 2008 @ 11:41 am - November 13, 2008

  9. […] Gay Marriage, a Change that is a Privilege not a Right […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Where are the Grownups? — November 13, 2008 @ 12:05 pm - November 13, 2008

  10. As I understand it, marriage was established as a privileged social contract between a man and a woman for the purpose of raising children. For a society to continue, there must be progeny to carry it forth. Marriage made a man socially responsible to aid in the upbringing of said children and helped protect the woman from having to both provide for and to care for them. This even makes sense when applied to polygamous marriages: the man was to provide for, and the woman was to care for the children. While this practice was outlawed, it still fell under the general, male-dominated idea of tying a man to his children. Interracial marriage, women’s suffrage, and the like are based on discredited opinions (children cannot be raised by blacks, women don’t posses the mental capacity to understand the issues at stake in voting, etc). However, the issue of SSM differs greatly from these, as it is not an outdated opinion that two men or two women cannot have a child, that is a biological fact. I realize that via artificial insemination and adoption they could still have and/or raise a child, but this still does not address the root cause: marriage was designed to unite a man and a woman for the purpose of bringing up the next generation of society in a safe and provided for environment.

    Another major reason we have the institute of marriage is to help track the lineages of society. Originally for maintaining family crests and the like, now we realize that genetic diversity is vital to the survival of our species. The rate of adoptions and sperm donations is so low compared to the general populace, and the rate of those that don’t know their biological parent(s) a subset of that, we see the odds of accidental breeding with a close relative are astronomically low. If the rate of both of these goes up (as it would), and assuming that those in the gay community would tend to group together (highly likely), this could result in an increase in issues brought on by interbreeding. I don’t believe that this is a major issue, merely underscores another reason why marriage was established as it is defined now.

    Comment by Andrew M — November 13, 2008 @ 1:08 pm - November 13, 2008

  11. The idea that a majority vote gets to decide the fundamental constitutional rights of others is not sound.

    Marriage is not a fundamental constitutional right. If it were, NO prohibition on marriage would be legal, including polygamy, incestuous, pedophilic, and other forms. It is a privilege extended by society to encourage behavior that is beneficial to society.

    In addition, please note that, according to the original Constitution, the vote only belongs to wealthy white landowners. If you would like to throw out the amendment-by-vote process entirely, perhaps you should start with amendments 13 through 15 and see how that goes. Gays who are whining and screaming that amending constitutions is somehow illegal and wrong should not forget that, if that’s the case, the President-elect is ineligible for office, much less freedom.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — November 13, 2008 @ 2:11 pm - November 13, 2008

  12. Marriage itself is a privilege but Equal Protection under the law — which is what this debate really is about — is absolutely NOT.

    “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

    14th amendment, written plain as day.

    Sure, many people say gay people enjoy the “privilege” of marriage just the same — they can marry the opposite sex. Of course in the era of Jim Crow, a black person could vote, if only they had learned to read.

    I’ll take the position that the term “equal protection” was meant in a manner based somewhat on common sense and therefore the gay rights position is beyond reproach. We demand equal rights, not an additional privilege.

    Comment by JMW — November 13, 2008 @ 2:26 pm - November 13, 2008

  13. >>>the person of their choice and that gender restrictions violate the state Constitution’s equal protection guarantee.

    The people who passed the equal protection clause did not want the clause to apply to gays (or anyone else other than males and blacks). Why do you pervert their legislation? What gives you the right to violate the real meaning of the Constitution?

    Comment by RM — November 13, 2008 @ 2:51 pm - November 13, 2008

  14. Notice, though, JMW, that the Equal Protection Clause says any “person”, period — with no reference to any limitations based on age, familial relationship, or existing marriages.

    Therefore, since you insist that it is a violation of “equal protection” to prevent anyone from marrying whomever they want and say that it is wrong to limit marriage, please state for the public record that you consider bans on underage marriage, incestuous marriage, and polygamous marriage to be unconstitutional.

    And be glad to know that the ACLU and the liberal gays agree with you.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — November 13, 2008 @ 2:52 pm - November 13, 2008

  15. North Dallas:

    I didn’t realize I was speaking on the “public record”; are my comments here going into the Library of Congress?

    Personally I’d like to know, for the sake of argument, how far one intends to take this “privilege not a right” position. For example: driving is a privilege. If a state passes a law banning gays from getting driver’s licenses, do we not consider the Equal Protection clause applicable then? Speaking of slippery slopes …

    (or if we really want to be technical, just banning “gays in relationships,” so then we can make obtuse comparisons to polygamy, incest, etc.)

    As to your rather demanding direct question of me — for the public record, of course — I feel the burden might be on you to show how polygamy, incest, and underage relationships bear any resemblance to consensual gay relationships and, more so, to explain how eliminating miscegenation laws on similar grounds would not also necessitate allowing same. While we’re at it.

    Also what do the ACLU and whomever you linked to have to do with the price of tea in China? Are you trying to link me, an anonymous poster here, to some groups you deem radical? That seems a waste of time.

    Comment by JMW — November 13, 2008 @ 8:35 pm - November 13, 2008

  16. Your argument that marriage is a “privilege” and not a right would come as news to, among others, the U.S. Supreme Court, which has consistently held that marriage is a fundamental individual right. See Meyer v. Nebraska (1923) (recognizing right to marry as an individual right protected by the Due Process clause); Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) (describing the right to marry as “right of privacy older than the Bill of Rights – older than our political parties, older than our school system”); Loving v. Virginia (1967) (“The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men. Marriage is one of the `basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival.”); Zablocki v. Redhail (1978) (“[O]ur past decisions make clear that the right to marry is of fundamental importance.”); Turner v. Safley (1987) (state law prohibiting inmates from marrying violated fundamental right to marry).

    So what is exactly is the basis for your claim that marriage is a privilege and not a right? Where do rights come from, in a society governed by laws, if not from the law itself? Seems the law of the United States is pretty clear.

    Your point that marriage is a privilege also ignores the fact that the U.S. and most state constitutions have equal protection clauses that prohibit conferring special privileges on certain classes of citizens to the disadvantage of other classes. So even if you were right that marriage is a privilege and not a right–and as a matter of constitutional law you are clearly wrong–it still wouldn’t be OK for the state to confer that privilege on the straight majority while denying it to the gay minority.

    Your problem, I think, is that you are focused exclusively on “marriages” and not at all on “people.” People are affected by marriage laws. If those laws intrude upon fundamental rights or confer special privileges on a few, they are unconstitutional.

    Comment by Jim — November 13, 2008 @ 9:12 pm - November 13, 2008

  17. Is ‘privilege’ a constitutional principle? I was under the impression that our tradition didn’t champion privileges.

    Comment by jimmy — November 14, 2008 @ 12:38 am - November 14, 2008

  18. As to your rather demanding direct question of me — for the public record, of course — I feel the burden might be on you to show how polygamy, incest, and underage relationships bear any resemblance to consensual gay relationships and, more so, to explain how eliminating miscegenation laws on similar grounds would not also necessitate allowing same.

    Easy. The Constitution has no less than three amendments establishing race as illegitimate grounds for discrimination.

    Meanwhile, for the rest, you are attempting to spin and ignore the question. You have publicly stated that no person can be denied marriage for any reason and that doing so is a violation of “equal protection”. Since you have also stated that it is illegal for people to vote to limit marriage and that doing so is against minority rights, please state publicly that you oppose bans on polygamous, pedophilic, incestuous, and bestialist marriages.

    Or admit that you have no problem restricting marriage when it’s people that you don’t like and of whose behavior you don’t approve.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — November 14, 2008 @ 2:53 am - November 14, 2008

  19. Your argument that marriage is a “privilege” and not a right would come as news to, among others, the U.S. Supreme Court, which has consistently held that marriage is a fundamental individual right.

    Funny; the Supreme Court has also consistently upheld that this so-called “fundamental individual right” can be denied to individuals based on their choice of marriage partners, i.e. children, animals, their blood relatives, and those who are already married.

    Your point that marriage is a privilege also ignores the fact that the U.S. and most state constitutions have equal protection clauses that prohibit conferring special privileges on certain classes of citizens to the disadvantage of other classes.

    And yet, affirmative action, which deliberately confers special privileges on certain classes of citizens to the disadvantage of others, survives.

    I believe the argument is that the societal benefit of affirmative action is such that it outweighs the disadvantage it causes to others. The same would logically apply to marriage, given that the societal benefit of encouraging heterosexual relationships to form, create permanent partnerships, and procreate provides a societal benefit that far outweighs the “disadvantage” it causes to gay relationships, which cannot and will never naturally procreate.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — November 14, 2008 @ 2:58 am - November 14, 2008

  20. Amen John!

    Comment by Robin — November 14, 2008 @ 3:18 am - November 14, 2008

  21. NDT – How, exactly, would the “societal benefit” of “encouraging heterosexual relationships to form, create permanent partnerships, and procreate” be frustrated by allowing homosexual partners to marry? It wouldn’t. It’s not like straight people would be forbidden from marrying . . .

    In constitutional law terms, what you have here is a “tailoring problem.” Laws that simply forbid gay couples from marrying are not “tailored” to serve the ends they are purported to serve. Since they also intrude upon a recognized fundamental individual right, they are unconstitutional.

    The same is not true of laws that you mention concerning marriage with children, animals, etc. There, you have a state interest in discouraging bestiality, child rape, etc. Assuming those are legitimate state interests, laws that forbid marrying children and animals are actually tailored to advance those interests.

    Now if you think that simply discouraging same-sex marriage is a legitimate state interest, then current marriage laws might pass constitutional muster, because they undoubtedly are tailored to serve that end. But in this day and age I think you are unlikely to hear a state attorney general make that assertion. Instead, they are likely to say something like you said–that current marriage laws simply encourage heterosexual marriage. But then we are back to our tailoring problem…

    But to get back to the point of my original post, the right to marry is, indeed, a right, not a privilege. It has been recognized as such in a consistent series of Supreme Court decisions going back decades. GPW and Mr. Sowell apparently disagree, but they aren’t able to point to much in support of their position–other than the fact that it’s what they personally believe.

    Comment by Jim — November 14, 2008 @ 7:48 am - November 14, 2008

  22. NDT – How, exactly, would the “societal benefit” of “encouraging heterosexual relationships to form, create permanent partnerships, and procreate” be frustrated by allowing homosexual partners to marry? It wouldn’t. It’s not like straight people would be forbidden from marrying . . .

    By that logic, pedophilic, polygamous, and incestuous marriages should be allowed to, since they theoretically “wouldn’t” affect the societal benefit.

    Laws that simply forbid gay couples from marrying are not “tailored” to serve the ends they are purported to serve.

    Unfortunately for that argument, the laws do not say gay couples are forbidden to marry; they say that only the unions of a man and a woman of age, of unrelated bloodline, and only to each other are recognized by the states as marriage.

    The laws do exactly what they are tailored to do, which is to recognize only the appropriate male-female couplings as marriage and entitled to all the legal privileges thereof. There is nothing that says a man like yourself who is gay cannot get married; it only says that you must marry a woman. The fact that that is inconvenient to your sexual preferences is irrelevant — unless, of course, you now wish to argue that your sexual preferences should determine who you wish to marry.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — November 14, 2008 @ 1:37 pm - November 14, 2008

  23. If the gay rights groups continue with their current methods, there WILL be a Federal Marriage Amendment.

    Comment by Kit — November 14, 2008 @ 9:44 pm - November 14, 2008

  24. Is heterosexuality and homosexuality equal? Not by a long shot. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that homosexuality is unnatural and not at all equal with heterosexuality, thus to equate marriage between a male and female with that between two males or two females does violence to sound logic. If we force the government to equate the two, then what stops schools, media, or entertainment from imposing this fallacy upon our children in books and videos? What prevents this erroneous image from appearing on billboards and advertisements? …or any form of public display as “normal” or “natural”??

    I have nothing against gays (I have much empathy for them), and even support civil unions. But allowing same-sex marriage, i believe, is essentially equalizing homosexuality with heterosexuality. That is unreasonable, and can have dire consequences.

    Comment by John — November 15, 2008 @ 1:54 am - November 15, 2008

  25. A friend just sent me a link to your blog post about the anti-Prop 8 protests in California, and I must say, I’m really pleasantly surprised! I’m not gay myself, but I’ve always tried to be tolerant and loving of those different from myself. I’ve tried to keep an open mind about things like this, but I was so incredibly distraught by the reaction to the vote in California. I have friends there who live near several of the sites commonly protested and they’re seriously frightened. They know people who have been attacked! It concerns me, so I’m very relieved to see someone who’s a part of the gay community who’s just as distraught as I am by some peoples’ deplorable behavior.

    That said, thank you for this entry! I’ve been banging my head against a wall for a long time now, trying to get people to realize that marriage is not a right, it’s a privilege! But so many people can’t seem to tell the difference anymore. That’s really unfortunate, as it gets in the way of people being able to reason this issue out and come to a mutually beneficial conclusion.

    Beyond even that, though, I think you hit the nail on the head when you urged the gay community to “respect” their adversaries. That, I believe, is the whole problem. No one respects anyone else anymore. No one seems to have realized that tolerance does not equal acceptance. No one seems to understand that you can still respect someone even though you disagree with them. That’s called being reasonable, that’s called being mature, that’s called being an adult! Until we all grow up and realize that we need to respect one another before we’ll ever get anywhere, then we’re just going to end up seeing more temper tantrums like the ones currently going on in California. Until we can get past that, we’re only going to be setting each other back on our road toward mutual understanding and true tolerance.

    Thanks for your blog! You have a new reader. 🙂

    Comment by Meg — November 15, 2008 @ 12:52 pm - November 15, 2008

  26. I believe in equal rights for domestic partners, or whatever descriptor might be used for same-gender government sanctioning of same gender unions or bonding, i.e.: According to the General Accounting Office, marriage provides the protection of over one thousand federal laws that are not covered by civil unions, and only marriage confers such benefits as social security, inheritance in the absence of a will, filing joint federal tax returns, and automatic citizenship upon marrying a U.S. citizen. What I do NOT believe is that the marriage descriptor should apply to same-gender bonds. Consider:

    When women achieved equal rights with men, women were granted equal rights without being identified as “men”. Men were allowed to retain their unique traditional “men” descriptor, and women kept their unique traditional “women” descriptor, and equal rights are enjoyed by both.

    When minorities achieved equal rights with majorities, minorities were granted equal rights without being described the same as majorities, e.g., whites were allowed to retain their traditional unique “white” descriptor, and blacks were allowed to keep their unique traditional “black” descriptor, and equal rights are enjoyed by both. Women and minorities achieved equal rights without foregoing their unique descriptors, and without taking on the traditional descriptors of those who had rights ahead of them, otherwise today all women would be “men”.

    Why can’t gay couples achieve equal rights as traditional married couples have without taking on the traditional “marriage” descriptor of straight couples? Equal rights can be had by all government sanctioned couples, whether they are straight marriages, domestic partner couples, joined couples, bonded couples, unioned or whatever they might be called. Men and women already retain equal rights while checking different boxes on government forms for passports, social security, etc., e.g., “___ Male”, “___ Female”, and they still have equal rights. For marriage licenses why not check one box for “___ Marriage of a man and a woman”, or “___ Bonding of two same gender persons”?

    If gays adopt “marriage” for their government sanctioned union descriptor, traditional married couples lose their traditional unique he/she and man/woman descriptor and are forced to become “Party A” and “Party B”, no different than a gay couple. By allowing gay couples to be “married”, then rather than just granting all government sanctioned couples equal rights we destroy the long-standing tradition of bride and groom, mommy and daddy, married and marriage, etc. For governmental purposes, by letting all couples check one box or the other (e.g., married straights or bonded gays) we allow organizations, churches, etc. to do as they wish for subsequent descriptors as long as they follow appropriate guidelines similar to those used for men’s and women’s rights and minorities’ rights.

    Certainly there are many other legal issues and dilemmas, but my sole interest in this argument is protecting and continuing the marriage descriptor as applying to only straight couples while granting equality for other government sanctioned unions (SSM). Laws and regulations had relatively little difficulty in granting equal rights to women and minorities without major unreasonable re-writes and without calling women “men”, and without calling minorities the same descriptor as majorities. Why can’t we get through this and retain the traditional meaning of marriage for straight couples?

    Comment by Bill — November 15, 2008 @ 11:56 pm - November 15, 2008

  27. Call it whatever you want, but Columbia has even granted gay couples equal rights to straight couples. That means that Columbia (and Uruguay) are actually more on top of civil rights than the United States.

    Comment by krissy — March 7, 2009 @ 8:36 am - March 7, 2009

  28. I am an extreme supporter of the GBLT community, and while I am all for Gay marriage, the more I read, and the more I look at it from a psychological and sociological standpoint the more I realize that both sides just need to shut it. Now BEFORE ANYONE JUMPS DOWN MY THROAT, what I mean, is that those opposing gay marriage (not just you guys, fairly rational bunch from what I’ve read so far) stop exclaiming its “evils” that’s all co-dependent on your belief, and the gay population should take whats being offered for a better chance; civil unions with ALL the same Federal coverage of marriage. Different name, same governmental coverage. Personal preference would be the marriage title, but I’m so tired of seeing everyone fighting. There’s no use, where fighting a lot of other people in the world, and we can’t even get along with each other….

    –Kyra

    Comment by Kyra — March 7, 2009 @ 11:09 am - March 7, 2009

  29. I am an African American Hetrosexual female and I beg to differ with the opinion of most Americans it was most Americans that use to define slavery as legal. It is because of this that citizen of the united states was redefined to clarify what a citizen is . It is not a question that marriage is a priviledge . It is not a question that marriage is a right , because it is both.

    The constitution of the united states is clear it has not been fully enforced by congress however there has been amendments and ratification to even define what is clearly stated in laymans terminology simple as even a child could understand.

    ALL THAT APPLYS TO THE CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES>
    THE 14TH AMENDMENT

    NO STATE SHALL MAKE OR ENFORCE ANY LAW WHICH SHALL ABRIDGE THE PRIVILEDGES , OR IMMUNITY OF THE CITIZEN OF THE UNTITED STATES; NOR SHALL ANY STATE DEPRIVE ANY PERSON OF LIFE, LIBERTY, OR PROPERTY, WITHOUT DUE PROCESS OF LAW, NOR DENY TO ANY PERSON WITHIN ITS JURISDICTION EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAWS .
    ARTICLE IV – THE STATES
    SECTION 1
    EACH STATE TO HONOR THE ALL OTHERS FULL FAITH AND CREDIT SHALL BE GIVEN TO EACH STATE TO THE * PUBLIC ACTS, RECORDS, AND JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS OF EVERY OTHER STATE *AND CONGRESS MAY BY GENERAL LAWS PERSCRIBE THE MANNER WHICH SUCH ACTS, RECORDS AND PROCEEDINGS SHALL BE PROVED AND EFFECTS THEREOF.
    SECTION 2
    THE CITIZENS , EXTRADITIONS
    *THE CITIZENS OF EACH STATE SHALL BE ENTITLED TO *ALL PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES OF THE CITIZENS IN SERVERAL STATES.
    ARTICLE VI
    *THIS CONSTITUTION AND LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES WHICH SHALL IN PURSUAUNCE THEREOF; AND ALL TREATIES MADE OR WHICH SHALL BE MADE UNDER AUTHORITY OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL BE THE SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND *AND EVERY JUDGE IN EVERY STATE SHALL BE BOUND THEREBY ANYTHING IN THE CONSTITUTION OR LAWS OR LAWS OF ANY STATE TO THE CONTRARY NOT WITHSTANDNG.
    THE *SENATORS AND *REPRESENTATIVES BEFORE MENTIONED AND MEMBERS OF THE SEVERAL STATES LEGISLATURES AND ALL EXECUTIVES AND JUDICIAL OFFICERS, BOTH OF THE UNITED STATES AND OF SEVERAL STATES *SHALL BE BOUND BY OATH OR AFFIRMATION TO SUPPORT TO SUPPORT THE CONSTITUTION * BUT NO religious TEST SHALL *NEVER BE REQUIRED AS A * QUALIFICATION TO ANY OFFICE OR PUBLIC TRUST UNDER THE UNITED STATES.
    SECTION 8 THE POWER OF CONGRESS.
    TO EXERCISE LEGISLATURE IN ALL CASES WHATSOEVER, OVER SUCH DISRICTS ( NOT EXCEEDING 10 MILES SQUARE) AS MAY BE CESSION OF PARTICULAR STATES, AND ACCEPTANCE OF CONGRESS BECOMES THE SEAT OF GOVERMENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND TO EXERCISE LIKE AUTHORITY*OVER ALL PLACES PURCHASED BY THE CONSENT OF LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE IN WHICH THE SAME FOR THE CORRECTION OF FORT,MAGAZINES, ARSENAL, DOCK-YARDS AND BUILDINGS:* AND
    TO MAKE ALL LAWS WHICH SHALL BE NECESSARY AND PROPER FOR CARRYING INTO EXECUTION THE FORE GOING POWERS, AND ALL OTHER POWERS VESTED BY THIS CONSTITUTION IN GOVERMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OR ANY DEPARTMENT OF OFFICE THEREOF.

    Comment by Linda Keita — August 6, 2009 @ 6:22 am - August 6, 2009

  30. my point to the above statement is that if you are a “citizen of the united state” you are entittled to all priviledges of the united states. it is citizenship that entittled gay marriages . It is not a question of Religious morality due to we have freedom to choose religion. the constitution state no religious test shall” never be required” that removes the question is this religiously correct? is it fair to blame a person for their sexual orientation “no” that person is a citizen of the united states

    Comment by Linda Keita — August 10, 2009 @ 12:42 am - August 10, 2009

  31. By law, in most every country, certain conditions must be met before each person, and a couple, can obtain a government license to be married.
    For example,
    An individual may not be married until a certain age.
    One party of the marriage can not already be married.
    A person must be of sound mind and capable of making decisions.
    A marriage license must be obtained.

    Licenses are not required to exercise a right.
    Marriage is therefore a privilege and not a right.

    Article 1, Section 7 (b) of the California Constitution states:

    “A citizen or class of citizens may not be granted privileges or immunities not granted on the same terms to all citizens.”

    Federal law was changed (Nov 2009) and law now protects homosexuals from discrimination in employment. This change establishes homosexuals as a class of citizens.

    Proposition 8 modified the California Constitution by granting a class of citizens (hetrosexuals) the privilege of marriage and excludes the same privilege to other citizens
    (homosexuals), which violates Article 1, Section 7 (b) of the California Constitution.

    Does one’s age place them into a class of citizens.
    Discounts are given to seniors based upon age.
    One can not drive a car based upon one’s age.
    One can not join the military based upon one’s age.

    Would you permit males to marry at the age of 15 or older and females to marry at the age of 13?
    A 25 year old man marrying a 13 year old girl is perceived as inappropriate so by law most governments restrict marriage by age, thus making it a privilege, not a right.

    Can the privilege to marry be taken away?
    Yes. In most places if you are already married, or if you are clinically and legally designated as being incapable of making rational decisions.

    None of this has anything to do with religious marriage. Religions can set their own rules as they choose. Governments however must work within the framework of their constitution and not permit rules of any particular religion to cross over into law.

    In addition, since some religions do permit same-sex religious marriage, laws that prohibit same-sex government marriage violate the US Constitution that prohibits laws from interfering with religious beliefs and practices.

    Comment by Steve Svenson GWM — November 13, 2009 @ 8:23 am - November 13, 2009

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