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  1. Perhaps this is because many rightly see this as a state issue.

    Comment by Ignatius — November 5, 2012 @ 12:35 pm - November 5, 2012

  2. The reason is simple, Dan.

    Gay-sex marriage pushers do so, not because they want legal recognition, but because they want to punish and attack peoples’ religious beliefs.

    Civil unions do nothing of the sort. Changing the tax laws do nothing of the sort. It is nothing more than an attempted exercise of pure raw power and spite, and it has triggered a massive backlash.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — November 5, 2012 @ 12:38 pm - November 5, 2012

  3. Now this issue is playing out in Maryland. In February, the State Legislature passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. And just as with Proposition 8 in California, opponents to this bill collected enough signatures to put it on the ballot next week.

    But there are some key differences from California’s experience: this will be the first time a gay-marriage referendum is on the ballot in a state with such a high percentage of African-Americans. This will also be the first vote on gay marriage since President Obama and the nation’s pre-eminent civil rights organization, the N.A.A.C.P., came out last spring in support of marriage equality. Both faced a backlash from some African-Americans, especially those in the religious community. But no matter which side you are on, the gay marriage question in the black community has forced a conversation, which is taking place in the pulpits and the pews, the hair salons and barbershops — and ultimately at the ballot box.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/02/opinion/the-black-vote-for-gay-marriage.html

    Comment by rusty — November 5, 2012 @ 12:50 pm - November 5, 2012

  4. Perhaps this is because many rightly see this as a state issue.

    I do think this is mostly a state issue.

    However, given the fact that many benefits such as SS and medicare are federal programs, I think the Federal government should take some steps to make sure at least couples in states where marriage or civil unions are recognized aren’t left out of this loop.

    That said-I am also not much of a fan of referendums. I would prefer that laws concerning the recognition of gay unions (either civil or marriage) be handled in legislatures.

    I live in a state that recognized civil unions first and then later marriage. I can’t say it has affected me in anyway.

    I do have a gay friend who is about to begin his 3rd marriage since gay marriage was recognized-the odd thing is that he and his partner had been together 10 years and were among the first to get married and they were divorced within 9 months.

    Comment by Just Me — November 5, 2012 @ 1:14 pm - November 5, 2012

  5. Just Me,

    I disagree, referrundums are essentially just a really big legislature. Sometimes they get it right, sometimes they get it wrong.

    Here in Ohio, our constitution is incredibly easy to amend. What doomed the anti-DOMA movement to me when the amendment came up was they campaigned on fear and terror rather than what good Fred could bring to the state. Plus all the things they said would happen hadn’t happend under the Defense of Marriage law already in effect. (and haven’t come to pass post DOMA).

    Our DOMA was a defensive measure. When I see a version I like (Fred) I’ll vote to have the amendment changed. Until I do, I can take some small comfort in that if I can’t see Fred established, at least we can’t go farther than Fred.

    Comment by The_Livewire — November 5, 2012 @ 1:33 pm - November 5, 2012

  6. That said-I am also not much of a fan of referendums. I would prefer that laws concerning the recognition of gay unions (either civil or marriage) be handled in legislatures.

    In a constitutionally limited sense, I agree. However, you’re implying the same argument that Dan is making, i.e. that public decisions aren’t as valid as those made by those the public has elected. Politicians have their own agendas and often don’t accurately reflect their constituents. Campaigns reflect the public’s opinion expressed through market research but when law is made or changed, a politician usually expresses his own personal view. In a system mostly without term limits and where incumbents enjoy huge advantages (such as franking privileges, media attention, etc.), an incumbent can better afford to dismiss referenda, initiatives, and other direct public participation in matters of law. Couple this with political executives adding more control to their own branch of government (Secretaries of Education, Commerce, Energy, etc.), and the public is even further removed from decision-making, meaning politicians have systematically insulated themselves. Add to this certain pressure groups running end games around traditional political means such as making law from the judicial branch when the public decides “wrongly” and all this adds up to a less democratic and more autocratic system. Politicians were never supposed to have this much power in our system.

    Comment by Ignatius — November 5, 2012 @ 1:35 pm - November 5, 2012

  7. I should add to the above^ that the failure here isn’t congressional but those who don’t understand federalism or who simply don’t recognize constitutional limits when public opinion doesn’t agree with theirs.

    Comment by Ignatius — November 5, 2012 @ 1:39 pm - November 5, 2012

  8. Then there’s all the proposed legislation from President Obama after he evolved, only to have it blocked by the republicans in congresss…oh, wait, that didn’t happen.

    Comment by Az Mo in NYC — November 5, 2012 @ 2:08 pm - November 5, 2012

  9. I think that SSM supporters in general (although not people like you) mistake opposition to SSM for a desire to exclude people rather than recognizing that for people who are even halfway traditionally-minded (i.e., not just hardcore social conservatives), the idea that marriage is one man and one woman isn’t controversial. It just is what marriage means to most people. It’s not really even dependent on whether or not one considers homosexuality immoral. There’s no malicious desire to deny anyone anything. This is not to say that I’m unsympathetic to same-sex couples disappointment or indignation that opposition to SSM remains so strong. Even so, I think the way SSM supporters misjudge the motivations of those on the other side is what really closes the minds of people who are opposed to SSM but not ardently so. What many SSM opponents want, and I think a clear majority of Americans want, is for same-sex couples to receive virtually all of the same benefits as heterosexual married couples. However, based on how people actually vote—at least up to this point—the majority of Americans still believe that marriage ought to remain defined as one man and one woman.

    One other thing that I think drives opposition to SSM is that SSM supporters have not really presented a clear definition of how they would define marriage. Should it be defined as the union of two people regardless of gender? Or could that definition expand even more, e.g., three people who want to join themselves together? I am not all that convinced that SSM would destroy marriage, but I am quite concerned that marriage’s definition would become ambiguous and arbitrary based on what’s popular. It seems to me that most SSM supporters don’t really support the idea of expanding the definition of marriage beyond the union of two people, but they seem reluctant to draw that line, perhaps because doing so would still leave marriage an institution that still could discriminate against some possible unions of people in love.

    Comment by chad — November 5, 2012 @ 2:35 pm - November 5, 2012

  10. 1. Laws that define marriage as between one man and one woman discriminate against many kinds of relationships, not merely homosexual.
    2. The best response that many homosexuals are going to receive from a large percentage of Americans is tolerance, nothing more.
    3. The arguments for benefits can be handled with ad hoc legislation rather than wholesale redefinition of an ancient human institution based upon biology.
    4. Redefining marriage affects heterosexuals more than homosexuals — by definition. An obvious point but one that seems to be forgotten from time to time.
    5. Making marriage more ambiguous and especially for reasons of material benefits will likely make false claims more likely, i.e. claims of relationships and claims for those benefits.
    6. From my personal conversations, I’ve concluded that ssm advocates are more interested in state validation of their relationships rather than any affect such laws might have on the ways they perceive or behave within their relationships, spousal, familial, or otherwise. Ssm isn’t about love but status.
    7. Homosexuals are never denied performing marriage ceremonies nor living together in loving, satisfying relationships.

    Comment by Ignatius — November 5, 2012 @ 3:22 pm - November 5, 2012

  11. Well said, Ignatius. The other thing I’m struck by is that the stress is on marriage as a right. But I think this does not resonate with most heterosexual married people, who do not view their own marriages in terms of rights but rather responsibilities. Speaking for myself, I don’t feel like the substance of my marriage is built on government’s endorsement of it or anyone else’s personal endorsement of it but rather is built on the daily devotion my wife and I have to each other. On the one hand, this diminishes the argument that government endorsement of SSM will destroy marriage. But on the other hand, inasmuch as this debate is centered on rights, people are likely to feel unmoved by arguments for SSM. There is a larger issue here. Marriage has long been threatened not so much by SSM but just the overall culture of rights over responsibilities. The advent of no-fault divorce, greater acceptance of adultery, greater acceptance of co-habitation in lieu of marriage, and little things like schedules that keep couples and families from eating together most dinners have already heavily damaged marriage. SSM advocates see this and then argue that since marriage is already messed up, one shouldn’t care if traditional marriage is further challenged by the expansion of its definition to include SSM. This is the wrong approach. To win over people who lament the decline of traditional marriage, SSM advocates should not antagonize them. Instead, they should do more to understand traditionalists’ concerns and develop a rapport with them (as Dan does). If supporters of SSM do that, they will likely alleviate those concerned that SSM will further destroy traditional marriage and help swing the issue further their way. My worry though is that supporters of SSM will just believe that time is on their side (and it certainly seems to be) or just try to push the issue through the courts. I don’t think marriage will be better off with that approach.

    Comment by chad — November 5, 2012 @ 5:56 pm - November 5, 2012

  12. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/23/opinion/how-my-view-on-gay-marriage-changed.html

    But there are more good things under heaven than these beliefs. For me, the most important is the equal dignity of homosexual love. I don’t believe that opposite-sex and same-sex relationships are the same, but I do believe, with growing numbers of Americans, that the time for denigrating or stigmatizing same-sex relationships is over. Whatever one’s definition of marriage, legally recognizing gay and lesbian couples and their children is a victory for basic fairness.

    Another good thing is comity. Surely we must live together with some degree of mutual acceptance, even if doing so involves compromise. Sticking to one’s position no matter what can be a virtue. But bending the knee a bit, in the name of comity, is not always the same as weakness. As I look at what our society needs most today, I have no stomach for what we often too glibly call “culture wars.” Especially on this issue, I’m more interested in conciliation than in further fighting.

    A third good thing is respect for an emerging consensus. The population as a whole remains deeply divided, but most of our national elites, as well as most younger Americans, favor gay marriage. This emerging consensus may be wrong on the merits. But surely it matters.

    . . .

    So my intention is to try something new. Instead of fighting gay marriage, I’d like to help build new coalitions bringing together gays who want to strengthen marriage with straight people who want to do the same. For example, once we accept gay marriage, might we also agree that marrying before having children is a vital cultural value that all of us should do more to embrace? Can we agree that, for all lovers who want their love to last, marriage is preferable to cohabitation? Can we discuss whether both gays and straight people should think twice before denying children born through artificial reproductive technology the right to know and be known by their biological parents

    Comment by rusty — November 5, 2012 @ 6:23 pm - November 5, 2012

  13. I disagree, referrundums are essentially just a really big legislature. Sometimes they get it right, sometimes they get it wrong.

    Let me explain further-I am not a fan of any type of referendum that creates, changes or nullifies laws. Other than voting for candidates to hold specific offices about the only other thing I think belongs on a ballot would be bond measures. I just think the creation, change and nullification of laws is a matter for legislatures. BTW I live in a state that doesn’t allow referendums and my legislature passed SMS.

    The other thing I’m struck by is that the stress is on marriage as a right. But I think this does not resonate with most heterosexual married people, who do not view their own marriages in terms of rights but rather responsibilities. Speaking for myself, I don’t feel like the substance of my marriage is built on government’s endorsement of it or anyone else’s personal endorsement of it but rather is built on the daily devotion my wife and I have to each other.

    I agree. I am not opposed to SMS although I am bothered that often the reasons stated from those who support it is more “I want a list of goodies” rather than arguing in favor of the institution itself.

    I am a fan of the institution, and have often said if the government decided tomorrow that they would no longer recognize any type of marital relationship that I wouldn’t feel less married. Marriage for me is about the commitment and promises my husband and I made not the paper from the government.

    Comment by Just Me — November 5, 2012 @ 6:23 pm - November 5, 2012

  14. Or could that definition expand even more, e.g., three people who want to join themselves together? I am not all that convinced that SSM would destroy marriage, but I am quite concerned that marriage’s definition would become ambiguous and arbitrary based on what’s popular.

    That is what you get when you get the government involved where it shouldn’t be. If you want the institution of marriage to become stronger, get the government out of it. This isn’t the first time the government has weakened the institution; no-fault divorce comes to mind.

    Comment by Rattlesnake — November 5, 2012 @ 6:50 pm - November 5, 2012

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