October 26, 2006

"Dems Dodge Big Gay Bullet?"

Says ... asks ... Mickey Kaus:
It seems to me the New Jersey Supreme Court has -- perhaps non-accidentally -- denied Republicans the powerful base-mobilizing weapon that a ruling mandating gay marriage would have given them. Sure, New Jersey proponents of gay marriage have been more or less invited to return to court if the legislature doesn't call the equal package of rights it grants gay couples "marriage." But by kicking the nomenclature question to the legislature, and giving them 180 days to resolve it, the New Jersey justices avoided having the state instantly become, in AP's pre-anticipatory words, "the nation's gay wedding chapel."
That is, we don't have the instant spectacle of people suddenly going to New Jersey to get married. (Going to New Jersey to get married sounds like the least cutting-edge thing in the world to do, doesn't it? But throw in the gay and nothing's boring.)

The first link in Mickey's quote is to Dale Carpenter's analysis of the New Jersey court's decision. Carpenter doesn't see much of a way for the New Jersey court, once it's stepped onto this particular slippery slope, to keep from going all the way to a right to same-sex marriage:
[H]aving started down the path to full equality for gay individuals and couples through a variety of state statutes and judicial decisions, the state could not give any good reason why it should continue to differentiate. For example, the court noted, the state has adopted a domestic partnership system that gives gay couples a list of rights also given to married couples. But yet the domestic partnership system does not extend other rights of married couples to these same-sex couples. What’s the basis for granting a select list of the rights but not the others?...

It is difficult to understand how withholding the remaining “rights and benefits” from committed same-sex couples is compatible with a “reasonable conception of basic human dignity and autonomy” [recognized in the state domestic partnership law]. There is no rational basis for, on the one hand, giving gays and lesbians full civil rights in their status as individuals, and, on the other, giving them an incomplete set of rights when they follow the inclination of their sexual orientation and enter into committed same-sex relationships....

The state had nothing left in defense of the rights gap except an unadorned “tradition” that the state itself had steadily undermined in its public policy....

Seen in this light, the New Jersey court’s quotation from Justice Brandeis’ famous dissenting opinion praising the states as “laboratories” to “try novel social and economic experiments” is a bit ironic. The New Jersey court now holds that once the state substantially experiments with gay equality it must go all the way, ending the experiment.
So the court shifts the attention back to the legislature. If the legislature doesn't choose full-scale marriage, things will go back to the court, and I think you know what to predict. The court has at least slowed down the process and involved the legislature, giving people a chance to respond -- adapt? -- to the change the court has set in motion. Mickey Kaus suggests that the court's motivation was not quite that kind of interest in the political process, but a politically engaged concern about how the opinion would affect the next election.

As it is, what the court did is complicated enough to mute the effect. And there are no exciting pictures to show on the news and splatter on YouTube.

62 comments:

Dave said...

Thirty years from now society will look back on opposition to gay marriage the way society currently looks upon anti-miscegenation laws.

And you know what? Straights will still marry. Marriage will survive.

And you know what? Even if, as the anti-gay marriage folks claim, we'll all be banging goats, society will continue apace.

The Emperor said...

I'm not so sure about the comparison of anti-gay marriage to anti-miscegenation. I think it might be more like anti-abortion. In thirty years, there will still be a large group that is adamantly opposed.

Internet Ronin said...

As it is, what the court did is complicated enough to mute the effect.

I tend to doubt that. Opponents don't have to answer the court's opinion in detail - all they have to do is come up with a short, catchy phrase summing it up and proceed apace to make hay with it. Which I expect they will.

Bruce Hayden said...

If in 30 years, we will look back and marvel that it was an issue, then I would suggest that we shall also marvel that you could only marry one person, or maybe even be limited to humans.

One issue that these liberal activist courts adamently refuse to consider is that if homosexual marriage is acceptable, then why not polygamy? After all, polygamy has over gay marriage that:
- it is traditional, supported by the Bible, etc.
- it's primary purpose is childrearing.

I don't think that the legal theorists who are pushing this so hard have adequately addressed the slippery slope problem: where do you stop? Why stop with homosexual marriage? If two gays can marry, why not two siblings? Parent/child (great way to beat the Death Tax - marry your child or children)?

I agree with the Emperer, it is far more likely to be like abortion, inflaming passions and converting liberals to conservatives because liberal activist courts bypassed the legislatures, again.

Bruce Hayden said...

I don't think that it will be that hard to come up with a catch phrase, for example: NJ Supreme Court to the people of NJ: give us gay marriage, or we will force it on you.

Fitz said...

That’s what so lurid about this decision. Here you have a Court not just being politically activist in the public policy sense; but being activist in the strategic sense. How exactly all the incidents of marriage are well within the courts purview – yet the nomenclature something to be left to the legislature?
Its like saying the court will rewrite the property laws to define all private property to be owned by the state; yet it will allow the legislature to come up with a new term for property (if it wishes).

This courant mealy in this culture war demonstrates two things:
#1. The shameless political-ization of the courts… beyond mere activism and into adroit players in manipulating public opinion.
#2. The absolute need for incidents of marriage clauses in all State constitutional amendments.

Edward said...

"The New Jersey decision achieves maximum benefit with minimum controversy."

That comment appeared in a thread on another blog, and it perfectly captures Ann's point.

This court decision maximizes the benefit not just for gay couples, but for all of New Jersey's citizens. Everyone benefits when discriminatory laws are struck down.

My one objection to Ann’s post involves her description of the idea of states as “laboratories of democracy.” [In fairness to her, she’s primarily describing someone else’s interpretation of the idea.]

The New Jersey decision does not discredit this important concept, which has always celebrated the fact that significant public policy differences can exist between states.

For the foreseeable future, the differences will be as vast as possible between states in terms of the legal protections they give gay couples. For many years to come, there will be some states that aggressively deny all rights to gay couples. These states not only deny marriage, they ferociously ensure that gay couples are not granted any legal recognition at all.

And this maximally discriminatory regime is enshrined in the constitutions of these states.

The contrast between these states and states like New Jersey and Massachusetts could not be more complete.

Just like in a perfectly controlled scientific experiment with diametrically opposed conditions co-existing side-by-side, our country will be able to see which public policy approach toward gay couples works better.

It is already clear to me which approach will prevail.

The idea of states as laboratories of democracy has always described differences between states, not so much conditions within any particular state.

Bruce Hayden said...

I disagree that this isn't going to have some effect on energizing the anti-gay marriage crowd. Sure, the NJSC punted, but it also made clear that it intended to do something about the problem if the legislature didn't.

That should first worry the people of NJ, who indirectly put that court in place through its choice of governors and legislators. And secondly, it should energize the anti crowd in states like CO here that have gay marriage bans and initiatives on the ballot this time.

Goesh said...

Gay male domestic violence shelters, that's what comes to my mind. We know women have shelters and services for domestic violence and to a lesser extent do men. Won't with the assertion of equality for same sex unions there be a mandate for more services for male victims of domestic violence? X amount of tax dollars are already allocated for addressing male victims of domestic violence. I mean men can't stay in women's shelters, right? Or has that changed too? If we are all just really the same, it shouldn't matter, but that's another issue. With the Court's assertion of equality, then there must be reciprocation on the part of the People to sustain said equality. Is there a higher rate of same sex male domestic vioence in said relationships as compared to violence against males in hetro relationships? I don't know and it doesn't matter. I just wonder how this particular aspect of equality is being and will be addressed. If you're given an inch but deserve a mile, why not go for it? The real test of equality can never be separated from economic considerations. The tax payers of RI should not take issue with more expenditures to address this concern, if indeed they are as fair minded as purported to be.

Dave said...

" it is far more likely to be like abortion, inflaming passions and converting liberals to conservatives because liberal activist courts bypassed the legislatures, again."

Sorry to be obtuse here, but how has NJ "bypassed" the legislators? Didn't the decision leave to its legislature the responsibility of coming up with a solution? Or are you referring to the fact that the decision essentially forces the legislature's hand?

Too Many Jims said...

Kaus' argument that the 180 day perid is politically motivated seems exceedingly weak to me. First, when the Massachusetts court reached its decision, they did exactly the same thing.

More importantly, if the NJ Court really wanted to deny "Republicans the powerful base-mobilizing weapon" wouldn't they just have sat on this opinion for 2 weeks? Is there some reason the decision had to come out now rather than, say, November 9?

Fitz said...

“Cast in that light, the issue is not about the transformation of the traditional definition of marriage, but about the unequal dispensation of benefits and privileges to one of two similarly situated classes of people.”...

But (of coarse) the classes are not similarly situated in the least. Indeed, the court fails to distinguish the brute biology that fails to “situate” these distinct classes of people in any remotely similar way

Men and women are members of a class that can produce children. While any member of that class may not or cannot produce a child, they remain members of a class that can produce children. Same sex pairings can never produce children. They are members of a class that can never produce children. Therefore same sex “marriage” necessarily severs marriage from procreation. It both androgynizes the institution and separates it from any necessary link to childbearing.

Too Many Jims said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sloanasaurus said...

If the NJ decision says that the legislature must decide what to call the Court's new law they just created, then the whole decision is a political whitewash. Essentially, the court is saying "pass gay marriage or we will pass it."

I think Kaus is wrong. People will figure this out real quick.

Paul Zrimsek said...

The catchphrase: Pass a gay-marriage law, or else. Noblesse oblige: we'll let you decide what to call it.

Kaus' argument uses another of those distinctions-without-a-difference which seem to cluster around this decision. Surely what's stopping Massachusetts from being the nation's gay-marriage chapel is not the need to establish residency (which shouldn't be all that hard to do) but the fact that the marriages won't be recognized back in people's home states. Those who want something that's called "marriage" but not legally recognized as such can already get that without leaving home, with the help of a liberal-minded preacher. (And they, too, can sue their state governments to have the union recognized, for all the good that does.)

Derve said...

It's fun watching some of you begin to grapple with reality. I think denial is the first stage, then anger...

You really believed that homosexuals would have to grovel and jump through whatever hoops you threw up, stay polite and become whatever you wanted them to be, because as majority you held the absolute power and they had to come to you for special favors to improve the quality of their lives. It was easy to say, I'm for gay rights, but through the legislative process. Never thinking that day would come, until you were "ready".

Must hurt. Even if you don't live in NJ. You can smell what's coming and you don't like it much.

Fitz said...

"It was easy to say, I'm for gay rights, but through the legislative process. Never thinking that day would come, until you were "ready"."

Well... I'm not so angry I guess because I never said this. The only "gay rights" I'm for are those enumerated in our constitution. Like the right to bear arms ...or the all important right to vote. You know, popular sovereignty.

I’m happy to defend marriage come what may. Upholding the idea that children should be raised by their own Mother’s & Father’s in a married household is a discernable, unique, and morally persuasive concept. Its also a very old one. Ideological fervors like this sexual revolution were having will pass.

When the dust settles, and the revolutionaries go to their grave, those that stood for tradition will have the endorsement of history.

Derve said...

Fitz,

New Jersey has "gay rights" protected in the state Constitution. As do other states.

Even if some states amend their constitutions today, without a Federal Amendment, you can't keep 'em all down. It's a symbolic power loss for the idea that only the majority gets to decide on this specific issue.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"It is difficult to understand how withholding the remaining “rights and benefits” from committed same-sex couples is compatible with a “reasonable conception of basic human dignity and autonomy”

I'm still waiting for someone to enumerate just exactly are these remaining rights that are being withheld. As I understand it, there already exists a domestic partnership legal structure and most if not all companies provide coverage for the domestic partner (same sex or not same sex).

Instead of vague references to "rights", how about some clarity in what is trying to be accomplished.....unless clarity is too revealing. Maybe that is the point?

Fitz said...

Derve
"It's a symbolic power loss for the idea that only the majority gets to decide on this specific issue."

Yes Derve you are correct This is a major blow to democratic self-government and sound judicial review.

Joan said...

As it is, what the court did is complicated enough to mute the effect.

Oh, I don't think so at all. I'm concerned about the strategic thinking going on there, but I'm also completely unimpressed by the court's inability to see how this would affect the upcoming elections. There is no realistic scenario now in which this decision does not impact the election, and in favor of the Republicans. It doesn't matter that the court didn't write the law itself, it only matters that the court directed the legislature to write the law, and to write it in a very particular way because it will come under scrutiny.

For the life of me I can't understand why they didn't just sit on this decision for a couple of weeks. I guess they believe all the reporting that says the Democrats are going to win big and take over both houses, so they figured it was safe to release this now. Bizarre.

Internet Ronin said...

Joan - They didn't sit on it because the Chief Justice had to retire. This was her last decision.

Internet Ronin said...

I think Derve hits the nail on the head here. If you haven't already done so, read Dale Carpenter's commentary at the Volokh Conspiracy.

That said, it seems to me that the New Jersey state legislature has two choices: grant full marriage rights (and use the term) or get out of the marriage recognition business.

Too Many Jims said...

Ronin,

Thanks for the heads up on the retirement. That explains a lot.

Fitz said...

I thought this was spot on (and funny) from powerline

"Although under the Domestic Partnership Act same-sex couples are provided with a number of important rights, they still are denied many benefits and privileges accorded to their similarly situated heterosexual counterparts. Thus, the Act has failed to bridge the inequality gap between committed same-sex couples and married opposite-sex couples."

This is consistent with the modern view seemingly held by many judges, under which a statute is analogous to a rough draft of a student's essay that is turned in to a teacher, perhaps to return with an instruction to do better next time.

What is left to the legislature, apparently, is the discretion to decide whether the name "marriage" will be appended to the fully equal scheme of homosexual union:

"The name to be given to the statutory scheme that provides full rights and benefits to samesex couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter left to the democratic process."

Well, that's a relief, I guess. We wouldn't want the court to impinge on the democratic process. As the court itself acknowledged, it has no mandate to resolve issues of social policy:

"To be clear, it is not our role to suggest whether the Legislature should either amend the marriage statutes to include same-sex couples or enact a civil union scheme. Our role here is limited to constitutional adjudication, and therefore we must steer clear of the swift and treacherous currents of social policy when we have no constitutional compass with which to navigate."

A better satirist than me could have some fun with such passages. All I can say is, those who believe that fundamental decisions of social, economic and security policy should be made democratically, not by judicial fiat, are losing the battle. If they stay home on November 7, that trend can only accelerate.

Edward said...

The one thing that everyone here can agree on is that Fitz (of all people) is not a particularly skilled satirist.

Even he has the good grace to agree.

AlaskaJack said...

On the strength of its belief that there can be no rational reason in a civilized society for favoring traditional marriage, the New Jersey supreme court has dictated to the people of New Jersey and their elected representatives that they are henceforth prohibited from granting or recognizing any kind of priviledged status to the unique relationship between one man and one women that has traditionally been termed "marriage". This forceful command is said to be consistent with democracy.

I'm afraid that this ruling will do nothing but undermine the legitimacy of the New Jersey supreme court.

AatomSmith said...

"When the dust settles, and the revolutionaries go to their grave, those that stood for tradition will have the endorsement of history."

Exactly, fitz, although you may be surprised to find out that it was the gay marriage lobby that stood for tradition all along.

Russ said...

Fitz, et al.

Please recall that what the Constitution does or does not say about homosexuals is irrelevant, based on the Bill of Rights:

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

CatoRenasci said...

The first commentator on this thread said:

Thirty years from now society will look back on opposition to gay marriage the way society currently looks upon anti-miscegenation laws.

I don't think that's right. What I think will actually happen is that perhaps not 30, but certainly by 50 years from now, society will look back on the push for 'gay marriage' and look back on it as we now look back on the French Revolution's attempt to reform the calendar and abolish religion, or the Soviet Union's attempt to abolish the family - with astonishment that so many apparently sensible people could have actually advocated such nonsense with a straight face.

Fitz said...

In Recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex “marriage” courts do specifically reject the most egregious illogical conclusion of Goodridge, that procreation is some kind of bad faith post-hoc invented reasoning to hide the “real” reason marriage is a husband-wife institution.

From the Washington State Decision

“Plaintiffs also rely on Goodridge, where the Massachusetts court rejected the argument that procreation justified limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples. The court said that “{t}he ‘marriage is procreation’ argument singles out the one unbridgeable difference between same-sex and opposite-sex couples, and transforms that difference into the essence of legal marriage.” Goodridge, 440 Mass. at 333. The court held that “it is the exclusive and permanent commitment of the marriage partners to one another, not the begetting of children, that is the sine qua non of civil marriage.” Goodridge, 440 Mass. at 332.

“But as Skinner, Loving, and Zablocki indicate, marriage is traditionally linked to procreation and survival of the human race. Heterosexual couples are the only couples who can produce biological offspring of the couple. And the link between opposite-sex marriage and procreation is not defeated by the fact that the law allows opposite-sex marriage regardless of a couple’s willingness or ability to procreate. The facts that all opposite-sex couples do not have children and that single- sex couples raise children and have children with third party assistance or through adoption do not mean that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples lacks a rational basis. Such over- or under-inclusiveness does not defeat finding a rational basis.”

Note the court appropriately applies Loving, etc.

The plurality makes strong criticisms of the concurrence and two of the dissents at the outset of its opinion, including charging the main dissent with “sadly overstep[ping] the bounds of judicial review” for suggesting that supporters of marriage laws are bigots. Besides calling the lower court decisions “transparently result-oriented” and a reflection of “the dominant political ideas of their local community,” the concurrence says: “[t]hough advanced with fervor and supported by special interests loudly advocating the latest political correctness, the arguments (and the dissenters) cannot overcome the plain legal and constitutional principles supporting Washington’s definition of marriage.”
The opinion employs a traditional legal analysis, deciding that sexual orientation is not a suspect classification and that there is no fundamental right to marry a person of the same sex. The plurality was very deferential to the reasons the state advanced in support of its marriage law. The concurrence was even stronger, arguing that the marriage law was supported by compelling interests because of “its exclusive link to procreation and child rearing.”

James Stephenson said...

The thing is, this is a dumb thing for Democrats to back which is why you see so many running for the door.

Anytime it has come up for a vote, overwhelmingly it has been voted down, averaging 70% of the vote.

Think about that, even in Washington State, a serious blue state, it got 70%.

Before you call me a homo-phobe, in 2004 I voted for Bush and against the Amendment that bars gay marriage. 74% of the people of Georgia voted for the Amendment. 55% of the people voted for Bush, which means 20% of the Kerry voter voted for the Amendment.

I bet I know which blocks of Democrats voted for the Amendment, union and African American.

This could finally be the wedge that will allow African Americans to come into play. Well, if the Democrats would stop running elections based on fear.

"The Republicans are going to bring back slavery." I actually heard this on an Atlanta hip-hop station.

"The Republicans are going to take away Social Security." We here this every election cycle.

Yet, Republicans are the ones who play to fear. The Democrats should know, since being against the Civil Rights Act in the 1960's, they have lied and played to the fears of African Americans.

Finn Kristiansen said...

180 days? So this issue will pop up just in time to be exploited during the start of the presidential campaigning?

Fun stuff

Strabo the Lesser said...

I feel my rights are violated by not allowing me to have four wives. Leastways, I can't see why the NJ rule wouldn't apply to me in that situation, since I am currently being discriminated against.

Furthermore, this discrimination against animals should not be tolerated. Horses rose as high as consul during the Roman empire, surely we can find an animal-american to run for Chief justice of the state of New Jersey.

Anonymous said...

Will the South Park compromise idea work in New Jersey?

(it didn't seem to please anyone in South Park)

Also, if you could gay marry, who would you gay marry?

(because real men contemplate with whom they would gay marry, here's my list of five folks)

Fitz said...

XWL

My list would be
(because real men contemplate with whom they would gay marry)

1. Thomas
2. Alito
3. Scalia
4. Roberts
5. Bork.

Garage Mahal said...

(Going to New Jersey to get married sounds like the least cutting-edge thing in the world to do, doesn't it? But throw in the gay and nothing's boring.)

Ann, I think you have this wrong, again, when you imply "...going to New Jersey to get married..."

As far as I know, again the decision doesn't rule in favor of gay marriage (nor against) But it wouldn't allow out of state residents to get married in NJ either.

I don't mean to play a "gotcha" game with you, but your thread titles, and opinions on them seem so misleading sometimes.

The Border Moved Over Me said...

Thirty years from now society will look back on court-imposed fiats and wonder why our society gave up on democracy.

Sometimes I think that our society, perhaps after watching too many science fiction movies, has decided that a council of elders should decide our important issues.

Yes, I am aware that there have been court decisions decision that were necessary to uphold right. But it strike me that too many people engage in "all squares are rectangles therefore all rectangles are squares" type thinking. Some important past issues were necessarily resolved by the courts therefore all important issues must be resolved by the courts. If there is some policy you want but fail to convince your fellow citizens to enact, declare it a right and have the court, (perhaps by a slim majority) enforce it.

Derve said...

"The thing is, this is a dumb thing for (X) to back... Anytime it has come up for a vote, overwhelmingly it has been voted down, averaging 70% of the vote."

Except for politicos,
how many people here think the game ends on Nov 9 (election day)?

The NJ Ct ruling appears judicially solid, according to legal experts.

Why put all of your faith in a "passing" game, when the "rushing" option is perfectly legit too?

Despite the labelling of "activist state judges" from people outside NJ who just disagree with the ruling, the state Constitution -- the traditional contract that guides all New Jersey citizens -- was unanimously interpreted by the rules established in our democracy. Citizen's majority rule is not promise of all branches.

So, if amendments in other states -- which may or may not have been fated to pass -- are affected by NJ's legitimate decision, so be it. If federalism means the laws in the various states will vary, that is part of the democratic arrangement. State constitutions are tailored for the needs of that state.

Acknowledging that the game now solidly includes both the "pass" and the "rush" options will be considered a win in some quarters, whether one backs any particular team, or the parity of the system in general.

Suddenly, with more options working and setting up who knows what, things are looking competitive again, no matter what the next few plays may bring. (I'm seeing opponent defensive, not offensive moves, and not so strong to regain any yardage. Here's betting a NJ state amendment would not pass)

I know, I know. Keep your joy quiet if you're not sitting with like-minded fans as the realities of the game sink in...

Wade_Garrett said...

Married couples get an array of rights, regardless of whether or not they have children. In fact, married couples get right whether or not the couple is physically able to have children. Accordingly, as far as I'm concerned, the argument that the state needs to limit marriage to heterosexuals because irresponsible boys and girls are always making babies that would become wards of the state but for the incentives given by the state to married couples is pretty patently false on its face.

Furthermore, the New Jersey state legislature has acted in accordance with the public policy set forth by the state legislature. It doesn't make sense to give gay individuals the same rights as straight individuals, but then to deprive gay couples of rights given to straight couples. If you think that's activism, then I don't know what to tell you. The Court cannot be described as activist any time it overturns a lower court.

ed said...

Hmmm.

The one thing that everyone here can agree on is that Fitz (of all people) is not a particularly skilled satirist.

I see the pro-gay marriage folks are as polite and well mannered as usual.

Personally I'm opposed to gay marriage. I frankly think that homosexuality is aberrant and, in the context of incubating STD diseases, is actually rather dangerous.


No doubt someone here will try and make something of it. *shrug* ask me if I care.

Pogo said...

Derve has a knack for employing the worst metaphors ever. One-off, circuitous, and self-congratulatory all at once. Oof.

Re: "It doesn't make sense to give gay individuals the same rights as straight individuals, but then to deprive gay couples of rights given to straight couples."

Yeah, screw centuries of learning passed on as tradition. What did it ever do for me? Why, gay marriage has been tops on the to-do list for almost 5 whole years! All of its problems are solved! People who disagree are bigots!

Gimme state-endorsed gay marriage, polygamy, polyamory, NAMBLA, man-weds-LLC, incest, and even man-weds-cat.
On with the second Dark Ages!

Palladian said...

"No doubt someone here will try and make something of it. *shrug* ask me if I care."

We don't care that you're stupid either. Straight people aren't STD "incubators" (gee, what a warm, human metaphor)?

Palladian said...

"Gimme state-endorsed gay marriage, polygamy, polyamory, NAMBLA, man-weds-LLC, incest, and even man-weds-cat.
On with the second Dark Ages!"

Pogo, I often like you and agree with you, but take a chill pill, will you?

Can you please refrain from the sleazy NAMBLA/gay people comparisons? I consider it blood libel, akin to saying that Jews bake matzo with gentile blood.

Kellen said...

James Stephenson wrote: "74% of the people of Georgia voted for the Amendment. 55% of the people voted for Bush, which means 20% of the Kerry voter voted for the Amendment."

You've made a mathematical mistake here. Looking at CNN.com's 2004 election page, we can see that your numbers are basically correct, in terms of the Bush/Kerry split and the For/Against the amendment split. Also, we can see that just about all voters cast ballots for both President and the amendment.

What that means is that (to simplify) if Georgia had only 100 voters, 58 of them voted for Bush and 41 voted for Kerry. And of these 100 voters, 74 of them voted for the amendment and 26 voted against it.

If every single Bush voter - all 58 - voted for the amendment, that means the other 18 pro-amendment voters voted for Kerry (58 + 18 = 76 total pro-amendment votes).

So Kerry received 41 votes in total, and of those 41 voters, 18 also voted for the amendment. 18 of 41 Kerry voters = about 44% of Kerry voters who also voted for the amendment, not 20% as you state.

Derve said...

Pogo: Hey-- I didn't bring up the sack ratio!

(Just good American fun. You'd approve if anyone other than MoDo used it :)

Kazinski said...

I don't understand the discrimination rational. There is no one I could marry as a straight male that a gay male couldn't also marry. Now others have tried to explain it to me as the right to marry the person of one's choice, but that doesn't seem to be sinking in either. I have long wanted to marry Uma Thurman, but I can't seem to find a judge that will order her to marry me. What about my civil rights?

Blue Moon said...

Okay, I need a quick Con Law lesson (I am a lawyer but practice criminal law).

Does the "legal" (Constitutional) argument for gay marriage depend on whether or not sexual orientation is a suspect class? Or does it depend on whether the right to marry is a fundamental right, or both? It seems to me that there is a reluctance on the part of the judiciary to come right out and say "being gay is like being black therefore, you cannot keep gay people from doing things because they are gay that you would be prohibited from keeping black people from doing because of their color."

Pogo said...

R3e: "Can you please refrain from the sleazy NAMBLA/gay people comparisons? I consider it blood libel, akin to saying that Jews bake matzo with gentile blood."

Chill pill it is.
There is no comparison between these groups, which really couldn't be further apart. Except one.

They share one distinction only: they cannot marry the desired other. My argument is that of the slippery slope: If gay marriage, then why not these others? I can see no defensible reason for exclusion once one group is granted that right. You may disagree.

I fully understand why no one wants NAMBLA on their team. Straights deny they're straight, gays deny they're gay. I have several friends and family as victims of pederasts, so I detest them on a personal level.

My sincere apologies, especially as I consider your opinion valuable and learned, even where we disagree. One cannot discuss the slippery slope without naming the consequences, so I hope that argument isn't deemed out of bounds simply as to avoid conflating these unrelated groups.

(Did I just take the red pill, or the blue one?)

Wade_Garrett said...

Blue Moon -- you're right about the judiciary's reluctance. The New Jersey Supreme Court came out and said that it could not find a constitutional right to get married in the state. Instead, it used equal protection: If the stated goal of the legislature in passing marriage benefits is to promote stable relationships, and the stated goal of other New Jersey legislation is to prevent discrimination against homosexuals on the basis of orientation, then the legislature can't choose to give marriage benefits only to heterosexual couples and not to homosexual couples.

Ann Althouse said...

Garage: Read the post. I didn't say what you think I said. It's a hypothetical scenario.

Revenant said...

They share one distinction only: they cannot marry the desired other. My argument is that of the slippery slope: If gay marriage, then why not these others?

For the same reason that legal recognition of hetero marriage didn't put us on a slippery slope to allowing men to marry *female* children -- children can't consent.

Pogo said...

Re: "children can't consent"

Any culture that can redefine marriage will have little trouble redefining age of consent (14 being currently acceptable -with momma's okay- in Texas, Utah, and Alabama).

And your point only addresses one group. Polygamy yes?

Fitz said...

step #2

(note the promenance of the signatories)

http://www.beyondmarriage.org/

" Legal recognition for a wide range of relationships, households and families – regardless of kinship or conjugal status.

Access for all, regardless of marital or citizenship status, to vital government support programs including but not limited to health care, housing, Social Security and pension plans, disaster recovery assistance, unemployment insurance and welfare assistance.

Separation of church and state in all matters, including regulation and recognition of relationships, households and families.

Freedom from state regulation of our sexual lives and gender choices, identities and expression.

Marriage is not the only worthy form of family or relationship, and it should not be legally and economically privileged above all others. A majority of people – whatever their sexual and gender identities – do not live in traditional nuclear families. They stand to gain from alternative forms of household recognition beyond one-size-fits-all marriage. For example:

Single parent households

Senior citizens living together and serving as each other’s caregivers (think Golden Girls)

Blended and extended families

Children being raised in multiple households or by unmarried parents

Adult children living with and caring for their parents

Senior citizens who are the primary caregivers to their grandchildren or other relatives

Close friends or siblings living in non-conjugal relationships and serving as each other’s primary support and caregivers

Households in which there is more than one conjugal partner

Care-giving relationships that provide support to those living with extended illness such as HIV/AIDS.

The current debate over marriage, same-sex and otherwise, ignores the needs and desires of so many in a nation where household diversity is the demographic norm. We seek to reframe this debate. Our call speaks to the widespread hunger for authentic and just community in ways that are both pragmatic and visionary. It follows in the best tradition of the progressive LGBT movement, which invented alternative legal statuses such as domestic partnership and reciprocal beneficiary. We seek to build on these historic accomplishments by continuing to diversify and democratize partnership and household recognition. We advocate the expansion of existing legal statuses, social services and benefits to support the needs of all our households.

We call on colleagues working in various social justice movements and campaigns to read the full-text of our statement “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision,” and to join us in our call for government support of all our households."

Revenant said...

Any culture that can redefine marriage will have little trouble redefining age of consent (14 being currently acceptable -with momma's okay- in Texas, Utah, and Alabama).

That's backwards, in my opinion. We've never had any problem redefining the age of consent, and do so frequently. Indeed, when our nation was founded the idea that a teenaged girl would be legally forbidden from marrying with her parents' permission would have been just as shocking as the idea that she *wouldn't* be forbidden from marrying is today.

That people are seriously considering redefining marriage to cover gays is a *result* of our long-standing willingness to tweak what the institution means and who should properly be allowed into it -- not a precursor to some future willingness to do so.

And your point only addresses one group. Polygamy yes?

Oh, I'm entirely in agreement that court-mandated recognition of gay marriage puts us on a slippery slope to legalized polygamy. Since I think polygamy should BE legal, of course, that doesn't actually bother me at all. I do wish gay marriage activists would be more honest about it, though.

Fitz said...

"Oh, I'm entirely in agreement that court-mandated recognition of gay marriage puts us on a slippery slope to legalized polygamy. Since I think polygamy should BE legal, of course, that doesn't actually bother me at all. I do wish gay marriage activists would be more honest about it, though."

They are...(see above)

Revenant said...

"do wish gay marriage activists would be more honest about it, though."

They are...(see above)

Some are. Some strenuously deny that "people should be allowed to marry who they want to" means that polygamy's fine too. There's usually some flimsy rationalization about how "marriage means two people" -- why that's got any more historical validity than "one man and one woman" is left unexplained.

AST said...

Thirty years from now society will look back on opposition to gay marriage the way society currently looks upon anti-miscegenation laws.

If that happens, American society will be moribund, because critical thinking will have entirely disappeared. It's getting fainter already, but thankfully, there are still people who think clearly without much training. The rest learn to reason from watching television commercials.

Susan said...

Your comment "Going to New Jersey to get married sounds like the least cutting-edge thing in the world to do, doesn't it?" just appeared with an attribution in a question on NPR's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me!

Ann Althouse said...

Susan: Thanks for telling me. I wish I'd been listening. That would have been weird!

the Rising Jurist said...

The best part was that they said "legal pundit Ann Althouse." Did you know you were a pundit?

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