December 10, 2013

"We at the ACLU are chipping in to help 5 same-sex couples have a Big, Gay, (Il)legal Wedding..."

"...to highlight the unfair patchwork of state marriage laws and why it's so important for everyone to have the freedom to marry."
We're giving $5,000 to couples with the best ideas for how they'll cross state lines to tie the knot. Do you and your special someone have a great idea? Enter for your chance to win or vote for your favorite couple!

69 comments:

Moose said...

AH! That is what you people call a "stunt"!!

YoungHegelian said...

Well, I guess from the ACLU's point of view, federalism can just go fuck itself.

Michael in ArchDen said...

Why not, likewise, chip in to help 5 16-year old couples get married? I mean to protest they "unfair patchwork of state marriage laws and why it's so important to have the freedom to marry" as it applies to age?

n.n said...

The ACLU arbitrarily acknowledge one kind of union, while discriminating against other kinds. They are not exactly a civil rights leader. Stop being so conservative and obstinate, really, to progressive morality and biology. Embrace the "rainbow".

Mini Mongo said...

I'll be impressed when they ship a plane full of Mormon apostates to a country that recognizes plural marriage, turns the 100 single people into twenty or so families under local marriage laws, and then bring them back stateside.

This just seems like a crass fundraising appeal to a wealthy subset of Americans.

Paddy O said...

$5000?

That's not a big wedding.

SteveR said...

I can honestly say I care nothing about the issue anymore. Obviously people are using it to raise money somehow.

tim maguire said...

There's nothing illegal, immoral, or even unusual about crossing state lines to marry. This is a yawner of a protest.

ALP said...

I'll preface this with a disclaimer: I voted for SSM in WA state because there is no reason NOT to allow it.

Yet, it puzzles me that couples aged 35+ or so, that do not plan on having children, assume marriage is the most beneficial arrangement. My opposite sex partner and I will go through the list of pros and cons every few years...the cons consistently outweigh the pros by a nose, so we stay single; going on 20 years, we have outlasted every couple who's wedding I have attended. I have yet to see a SINGLE article that says: "Hold on a minute gay folks, consult your CPA before tying the knot." Looking at marriage in strictly financial/material terms seems to be verboten if it leads to NOT getting married, but perfectly fine when advocating GETTING married.

I'll give a hetero example, so you know I am not singling out SSM. My BF from high school, with one marriage/divorce behind her, tells me she's marrying the guy she's been dating for over a year. "What the fuck are you getting married for - are you gonna start popping out babies at age 50? What the hell FOR? Why not just shack up?" She was more attracted to the idea of "getting married" than the idea of actually making a commitment. Subtle difference between the two; a distinction lost on a lot of women. Men, not so much.

Imagine TWO women in the throes of "marriage lust" - abandoning all reason. I shudder to think.

Well, not long after the marriage, she finds out the guy has a GAMBLING problem, and issues with owing lots of money - with many new financial problems since the marriage. Now, his bad financial status is polluting HER good credit rating. He actually took off for a while, luckily he came back, but for a while there she was freaking out because bill collectors were after HER. Had they not gotten legally joined - she'd be in a much better position.

I asked her if it was worth destroying her financial situation for the sake of "proving her love" or some such shit. I got silence in return.

I pine for the days when gays and lesbians promoted the "love doesn't need a piece of paper" idea. Now, suddenly, its not really love until you get married, like Ozzie and Harriet brought back from the dead.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Most creative way to get across state lines? Huh? I thought the ACLU said that gay couples were like everyone else! So wouldn't they take either a car or an airplane?

Or is this going to attract performance artists?

"We were dragged across the state line by a chicken with its beak cut off to show how refusing to accept gay marriage is the equivalent of celebrating factory farms!"

"We flew to Mexico and then paid a coyote to slip us back into the country, killing several border patrol agents in the process, to show that gay marriage, like the right to migration, should have no limits or boundaries!!!"

Ann Althouse said...

"Well, I guess from the ACLU's point of view, federalism can just go fuck itself."

Federalism is a topic I have taught in law school for almost 30 years.

American federalism has to do with the proper allocation of power at different levels of government. There are many things that are done better in a decentralized patchwork, but the argument — and I think it's a good one — is that same-sex marriage is one of the places where the patchwork doesn't work.

The argument is based on the problems it causes individuals, who are able to obtain legal status as married in one place, then not have it respected elsewhere. Why would you want to subject people to this confusion? Why is it good?

That's the federalism question to answer.

Ann Althouse said...

Don't just say: Federalism is good.

Tell me: What is good federalism?

Some things should be uniform and not vary from place to place as one moves around the country. What are those things?

Deirdre Mundy said...

ALP-- the thing is, if it's about the emotional need to show a commitment, there are churches that will marry gay couples even when the state doesn't recognize gay marriage....

So this contest seems to be more propaganda for it that the only rights we have are the ones recognized by the government, and that government is the only appropriate name for things we choose to do together....

Deirdre Mundy said...

Argh.. for the IDEA than only rights...

Sorry... too many conversations going on while I type!

Ann Althouse said...

@Deirdre

Consider Edith Windsor, who inherited a house when her spouse died. The couple had been married in Canada, had lived together for many years in a loving relationship that was legally regarded as marriage in Canada and, later, in NY where they lived.

Windsor faced $300,000+ in estate taxes because under DOMA, the feds defined ssm as not marriage for federal purposes. So you see why the govt's recognition mattered?

Why do any of us need the govt to put its stamp of approval on our relationships? In a way, it's creepy, but it's what we've done for a long time. Given that -- and the huge effect of taxes and benefits and so forth -- what is the legitimate governmental interest in excluding people from this recognition because of the sex of the 2 individuals being the same?

Sam L. said...

Howzabout 3-somes and more-somes, ACLU? (Buncha pikers!)

Deirdre Mundy said...

Well, here's a question-- why does the government bother giving tax benefits to married couples at all?

It clearly doesn't care whether a couple is in love. A marriage of convenience receives the same benefits as a romantic marriage.

We no longer have laws against fornication, so it's not about legitimizing sexual relationships.

We now allow easy divorce, so it's not about life-long stability.

So, why is it in the government's interest to subsidize marriage? Why should it regulate it in anyway?

Is 'legal marriage' just a holdover from some antiquated idea about the basic building blocks of human society? Does it still have any meaning? Why should married people get a break on estate taxes in this day and age?

Archie said...

I agree. Federalism is piffle. We should allow the most morally bottom dwelling state to drive the culture and mores of all the other states. I nominate California.

Diana said...

Ann,

What do you think about federalism in the case of California Law SB 274:

http://tinyurl.com/no7jyes

Should this be applied to every state?

Deirdre Mundy said...

I'd argue that legal marriage originally grew out of natural marriage. The law was recognizing a family structure that already existed. The state chose to recognize this particular structure, as opposed to other ones (like aging sisters sharing a household), because it was essential for the production and rearing of the next generation of citizens.

Now, the state gives the same recognition to older, infertile couples because 1. It's not obvious on the surface whether a given couple can produce children. 2. Children take 18 years to raise, so if a widow marries a widower, they could still be involved in child rearing even if they're no longer fertile, and 3. Male/Female and Not Too Closely Related are easy calls to make.

So... now we live in a world where the welfare system ensures that children can be reared in situations other than marriage. The state has taken over a lot of the burden of educating and socializing most children. We see groups who cannot reproduce clamoring for the same benefits as heterosexual married couples....

So.... why do we continue to legally recognize marriage at all?

Moose said...

Wholly appropriate that the Edith Windsor was about money. Seems to be all that's lasting to marriage anymore.

YoungHegelian said...

@Prof Althouse,

The argument is based on the problems it causes individuals, who are able to obtain legal status as married in one place, then not have it respected elsewhere. Why would you want to subject people to this confusion? Why is it good?

Uhhhh, wasn't that what DOMA was about, except from the other side? The anti-SSM side argued "wait, if we have SSM in one state it'll be the camel's nose under the tent." To which the pro-SSM side responded "No, the states are the laboratories of democracy, and where marriage law has always resided. Let's let a thousand flowers bloom & sort it out later".

Surprise! All that "thousand flowers blooming" was just one more multi-culti feint. Once one state had SSM in place, the "laboratories" could just go hang, and it suddenly became time to righten the federal vs state ledger for SSM couples, which the SCOTUS just did, declaring DOMA unconstitutional.

You lived through the passage of DOMA. I lived through it, too. It turns out that those on the right who were vilified by the gay activists of the time called the course of events so accurately that one would think they handed out crystal balls & gypsies at the local GOP headquarters.

SSM activists were always for federalism, until they weren't. This is an affliction which has certainly affected more than just them in recent US history, but I don't see any reason not to call out this hypocrisy when I see it.

jacksonjay said...


I always thought the magic of federalism was that it allowed people to LIVE in states where they were comfortable with the public policies created by the prevailing mores and customs. If you want to be married to another man or woman MOVE to a state where that is allowed and has been adopted!

Vegas is a fun place to visit, but who wants to live there?

If I want to smoke weed, I'll move to Colorado!

If I want to be normal and right-wing, I'll stay right here in Texas!

Don't move your ass to Texas and then expect us to adopt all your hippie-dippie bullshit ways! Don't come down here and bitch about us executing cop killers, for example!

Mike said...

What a great day for a big gay distraction! That is, until anyone who cares about sick people reads the Washington Post story on how Obamacare is rationing drug therapy. You can read a summary on PowerLine here: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/12/if-you-like-your-medications-you-can-pay-for-your-medications.php

In essence, people with HIV will be required to pay for their own drugs to battle AIDS. I know my friends drugs cost over $10,000/month near the end of his life...in 19992 dollars, mind you, not the deflated post Obama-boom dollars we are spending now. So between that and raising the deductibles to $10,000 per year, that should just about sentence most non-wealthy HIV victims to a short unhappy life.

Thanks, Obama!

Now back to your big gay distraction for the day.

Mike said...

The date above should be 1992. I have no idea what inflation will be like in 19992.

n.n said...

Separation of marriage and unions. The rights and liabilities conferred under marriage should be assigned to unions. While the institution and classification of marriage is preserved to normalize the only natural relationship.

This publicity stunt is not about civil rights, but about special interests. Neither the activists nor the ACLU and similar cooperatives intend to address the actual issues. They will continue to exploit this issue and others for their political, material, and social profit.

Anyway, keep ignoring the issues, and push people to the edge. As long as there are promises of redistributive (e.g. Obamacare) or retributive (e.g. lawsuits) change then perhaps people will not notice or offer their implicit consent.

ALP said...

Deirdre Mundy: excellent questions, excellent posts all around - some of the most intelligent posts on the subject of marriage I have seen in a while. Thank you for providing some balance to the emotional screeds common in the media.

Cath said...

There are other practical, socially beneficial purposes for marriage besides just raising kids... creating a common household, being responsible for one another's debts, the ability to make medical decisions for one another if one is incapacitated, obtaining financing for purchases together, etc. I've always thought gay marriage ought to be a clear and obvious winner to conservatives. Encouraging people to form stable, monogamous relationships where couples commit to helping and supporting each other in times of need (as opposed to falling back on the state) seems like a good idea to me.

As for the idea that supporting gay marriage equals explicitly approving of and celebrating homosexual behavior, I look at it like people of religions I don't believe in getting married - there may be some customs, beliefs and behaviors in your system that I don't support, but why does that mean I should try to stop you from getting married?

Peter said...

Deirdre "We now allow easy divorce, so it's not about life-long stability."

Yet statistically straight marriages last much longer than opposite-sex cohabitations.

One may speculate on the reasons, yet the reality is that even though the state no longer enforces marriage as a lifetime commitment, many couples seem to take the commitment seriously. And, yes, perhaps some cohabiting couples make a similar commitment, but who's to know? Marriage is a public act; cobabitation, not so much.

So even if the point is to encourage stable unions for children (not to mention ones that are more likely to encourage investment in one another and the children) there remain significant differences between marriage and cohabitation.

ALP said...

RE: the Federalism question.

If it is our goal to ensure equal treatment of SSM marriage across state lines - are there not similar issues already present in hetero marriage? Example: some states are community property, others are not. My sibling divorced my brother in law; she lived in CA, he was living in WA state. From what I could tell, they compared the advantages of doing the divorce in both states, and picked WA. Would these issues need to be addressed as well?

Not being a huge fan of matrimony, I am no expert on marriage in states other than WA - but should people be able to "shop the most advantageous jurisdiction" for divorce? Or should it be more consistent across state lines?

Deirdre Mundy said...

Cath-- but the benefits of sharing debts, easier medical decisions, etc. are personal benefits for the couple, not for society as a whole.

Why should the government subsidize these arrangements? Or subsidize them differently than it does business partnerships?

Why is marriage a special kind of legal entity? Why should the government care if you've formed a household with your lover, versus your sister?


Deirdre Mundy said...

Also... here's another point to consider:

Various forms of marriage (i.e. polygamous, vs. monogamous, variations in appropriate degree of consanguinity, etc.) have been recognized throughout human history.

Yet gay marriage has never been a 'thing' before. Surely committed gay couples didn't suddenly appear in the 1970s! So... why wasn't there official recognition of these relationships in other times and cultures? Why all the attention given to male/female marriage and male/female inheritance?

What's changed so that NOW there is a need for government entities to recognize gay couples, when there wasn't in the past?

ALP said...

Cath said:
"There are other practical, socially beneficial purposes for marriage besides just raising kids... creating a common household, being responsible for one another's debts, the ability to make medical decisions for one another if one is incapacitated, obtaining financing for purchases together, etc."
****************
RE: debt and financing. This is the KEY reason we are not married. All debt and liability is on MY side. My partner is very supportive of me financially, which allows me to deal with this debt...no marriage required.

Should we need to borrow money - my "all liability no asset" situation would screw us if we were married. Much better to let my partner make the application himself - he's ALL asset and NO debt or liability.

We do NOT need the guiding hand of the state of Washington to my partner to support me financially due to my situation - he is perfectly capable of doing so on his own.

Medical decisions are easily handled by power of attorney. The advantage of not getting married is the ability to tailor our union the way WE want it.

Broomhandle said...

As a conciousness-raising stunt I'm guessing this has limited effectiveness. Given the abundant media hoo-ha regarding gay marriage I would bet that, if polled, over half the population would say that they think gay marriage is legal in every state in the union.

cubanbob said...

Some things should be uniform and not vary from place to place as one moves around the country. What are those things?"

Tell us which things shouldn't be uniform. If uniformity is the goal then why bother to have states? It would be simpler and more efficient to dispose of the various states and simply turn them into administrative sub-divisions of the national government. With that who needs fifty separate legislatures and judiciaries? Or a national Senate? A House of Representatives will suffice. State and local police can become part of the DoJ and state courts can become lower federal district courts. More efficient and certainly solves the uniformity problem.

Now the problem with this is that most of the country-the fly over states will probably leave the union. What can one expect from mossbacks who can't understand that the blue coastal elites are better suited to governance than they are.

Crimso said...

"Tell me: What is good federalism?"

Apparently, it will allow SSM while forbidding that icky (and religiously-based) polygamy. I once directly asked you on a SSM thread why the arguments you were laying out did not equally apply to polygamy. IIRC, you ignored the question. I now repeat it. I'm genuinely curious as to how a Constitutional law professor reconciles allowing one but not the other, particularly when the other is largely a question that comes down to religion.

I'm not owed an answer (it's your blog), and maybe you've already covered this ground and I missed it. But I really am curious about it.

Michael K said...

I could care less about this. What annoys me is the couple with the bakery that is forced to make a wedding cake for a gay wedding.

I had an argument with my leftist son a few years ago on this subject and he scoffed that any gay couple would try to force acceptance by others, such as a Catholic Church.

Here we are with step one. I'm waiting for declared Catholic Andrew Sullivan to sue the Church.

Terry said...

"Yet gay marriage has never been a 'thing' before. Surely committed gay couples didn't suddenly appear in the 1970s! So... why wasn't there official recognition of these relationships in other times and cultures? Why all the attention given to male/female marriage and male/female inheritance?"
There was no official recognition of gay marriage in other times and places because marriage was thought be out of the pervue of the political state. The State couldn't legalize marriage between same sex individuals because it was ludicrous if marriage had its origins in nature or wicked and sinfull if marriage was ordained by God.
It is only in the totalitarian present that we assume that marriage a thing made by and for the state, that the state may define to suit its purposes.

Ann Althouse said...

"Well, here's a question-- why does the government bother giving tax benefits to married couples at all?… So, why is it in the government's interest to subsidize marriage? Why should it regulate it in anyway?"

My point is that it does. And once it does, it must treat citizens properly.

The govt recognition of marriage is unlikely to be withdrawn. You can toy with the idea, but it's a little weird that you are toying with it ONLY because you don't like certain people being able to have it. You have to engage with your desire to change the system only now, now that the gay people are asking for equal treatment.

Ann Althouse said...

"I'm not owed an answer (it's your blog), and maybe you've already covered this ground and I missed it. But I really am curious about it."

In fact, I have seen this issue and answered it many times, perhaps not the time you yourself raised it, but many times.

The answer is: Everyone gets one, the one that they choose.

The argument for more than one is different and not a basis for denying some people the right to marry the one person that they have selected as their one.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Ann- I'm toying with the idea because, until the gay marriage debate, I just took government recognition of marriage for granted and never thought about WHY the law existed in the first place.

It may have made sense in an era where the government was 'in our bedrooms' and banned things like premarital sex, sodomy, contraception, and affairs...

The gay rights side has made argument that heterosexuals have already undermined marriage to the point that the original reasons for it have been lost.

I think they may be correct. So why have tax benefits for marriage at all? Why not just throw it back to the churches and individuals?

The problem is that the argument seems to be "Marriage has lost its original purpose, therefore we deserve special treatment under the law too!" But it seems more practical (and better for revenue generation) if we instead declare that NO relationship deserves special treatment, and just have people write their own contracts.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Ann- I'm also curious about why one is such a special number. I mean, sure, the majority of people prefer to have one spouse, but the majority also prefer to have an opposite sex spouse. So what's the philosophical justification for one?

Broomhandle said...


"The answer is: Everyone gets one, the one that they choose."

There are limitations on your answer other the gender. I'm all for gay marriage (or rather I'm indifferent to which adults other adults marry)but no, everyone does not get the one they choose and for very good reasons.

Terry said...

Deirdre Mundy wrote:
"The gay rights side has made argument that heterosexuals have already undermined marriage to the point that the original reasons for it have been lost."

If that's their argument, it's a crappy one.
In what other context would you believe that an institution is defined by the people who do the least to support it?
At what point would you consider that gays have undermined marriage and so they have lost their right to defend it as the union between one person of either sex and one one other person of either sex?

n.n said...

The argument that heterosexuals have undermined marriage invites scrutiny of its cause. It invites scrutiny of the progressive morality which distorts the relationship between men and women. It invites scrutiny of the social justice movements which foment conflict between men and women. It invites scrutiny of the pro-abortion/choice advocates who have rationalized irresponsible behavior. It invites scrutiny of the "rainbow" coalition, which includes all of the above groups and homosexual activists. The degeneration of traditional morality did not happen without cause and it did not happen without ulterior motives. The dysfunction was progressive and premeditated.

Crimso said...

"The argument for more than one is different and not a basis for denying some people the right to marry the one person that they have selected as their one."

I guess I'm interested in the argument against more than one. Personally, I don't consider it any of my business what sort of marriage others engage in, and that includes polygamy. What do I care who other people marry?

Renee said...

If one's relationship has no affect on the rest of the community, why does the government acknowledge couples, over other groupings?

The marriage license isn't a party permit.

Is there any obligation from the couple that is expected of them from society?


They get a legal status of marriage, what do we get in return.

Other then couples being ripped off by the wedding industry.

In my marriage society gets that my children are raised with their biological dad. No need for the Department of Revenue or Family Court to intervene. Also my kids get all the social capital that children get from a dad. As a mother my stress level is reduced by the father being an cooperative and fully invested in me & the kids. I'm not a baby momma, he has to deal with.

I'm not saying I'm 'better', I'm saying is that this situation as a person in a heterosexual relationship is different with different factors go consider.

We can't force people to marry, but the narrative that it is all about two people and equality is doing a disservice for those without their dad as apart of the family.

Renee said...

Crismo, it is our problem if children are raised in high rates of unmarried homes.

See Princeton's research on fragile families.

LilyBart said...

Consider Edith Windsor, who.... Windsor faced $300,000+ in estate taxes ....

This isn't a marriage-law problem - this is the problem of a too-big, too-greedy government always ready to confiscate large portions of people's assets.

Renee said...

Deirdre,

I was married in Massachusetts in 2000. Our laws in everyone were written with the expectation of monogamy and procreation of children. I was required to take a blood test that related to pregnancy.

When Good ridge came the blood tests were removed. A lot of our statutes sit unchanged though. Remember that case as 4-3.... and the court ensured our legal right to define marriage as a man and a woman by ballot.

Ballot was not allowed by our legislature and won't because of the heavy lobby influence. Everyone here, except me, is afraid to talk about marriage. They tell me to move on, but when I can over lay other issues such as income equality and lack of educational attainment with fatherless homes.

You just can't ignore that from a public policy point of view.

Renee said...

The Windsor was a good case, but the inheritance tax was unfair not the definition of marriage.

I would compromise if they made sperm/egg donation and surrogacy illegal for everyone.

kentuckyliz said...

Well...if the states are all supposed to be the same, why not have some state line boinking to challenge disparate age of consent laws?

Traditional American values are not good to appeal to in this instance. Most states had an age of consent of 10, and as low as 7 in Delaware, in the 19th century.

kentuckyliz said...

Well...if the states are all supposed to be the same, why not have some state line boinking to challenge disparate age of consent laws?

Traditional American values are not good to appeal to in this instance. Most states had an age of consent of 10, and as low as 7 in Delaware, in the 19th century.

Terry said...

n.n.-
The conflict, as I see it, is that many of these 'social justice' movements were undertaken with the idea that government could better regulate and support things like families and race relations than non-government actors (meaning free men and women) could. This idea isn't that old, it developed around the turn of the 20th century and should have been utterly discredited by the failure of the state to achieve its objectives. My God, Stalin killed millions trying to turn peasants in farm laborers with no attachment to the land. And he failed. The debate about whether or not the state should try and do certain things is limited by the hard fact that there are some things the state cannot do.

cubanbob said...

"The answer is: Everyone gets one, the one that they choose. "

Thats not an answer, that is a rationalization.

n.n said...

Terry:

That's right. Stalin killed millions; Mao killed millions; and so on and so forth. They also caused the death of tens of millions more through gross misalignments in development. Something similar is happening in modern civilizations in the form of abortion, which has in the last several decades prematurely terminated several hundred million human lives.

The fundamental failure of all left-wing ideologies is that they are premised on intelligent design, and motivated by a demand for instant gratification. Unfortunately, consolidation of capital and control corrupts human beings. As we lack omniscience, and self-control, our intelligent design efforts on a large scale create misalignments in our economy, culture, etc.

The fundamental failure of right-wing ideologies is when they are not accompanied by moral (i.e. religious) temperance. Liberty is on suitable and possible for individuals capable of self-moderating, responsible behavior.

the hard fact that there are some things the state cannot do

Cannot and should not do. The people in government are not so different from people everywhere. They suffer from the same flaws and are vulnerable to the same corruptive influences, which are typical motivated by individual egos. This is why a constitutional republic, which recognizes individuals as principals is superior to democracy and other governing formats. The distribution of capital and control constrains progressive dysfunction through the efforts of competing interests.

There are also some things which the state (i.e. central authority) can and should do. Those are fairly well outlined in our constitution, but a document is incapable of enforcement and so our civil servants and the long-lived bureaucracy has accrued capital and control through manipulations and distortion of the language, thereby marginalizing the influence of the people. All with the best of intentions, if perhaps with a myopic outlook.

Anyway, progressive dysfunction seems to be inevitable. Christian moral philosophy was adopted by people in response to a dysfunctional convergence. Today, people have enjoyed the comforts and stability of civilization engendered by Christianity, and are ready to escape its strict moral constraints. This is a recurring theme throughout history and the world. The precedents do not favor viability or positive progress.

jr565 said...

"We at the ACLU are chipping in to help 5 same-sex couples have a Big, Gay, (Il)legal Wedding to highlight the unfair patchwork of state marriage laws and why it's so important for everyone to have the freedom to marry."
Stop saying "everyone"!
Everyone does not have the right to marry. If you do not meet the requirements for marriage then you can't marry. Polygamists, bigamists, incestual couples etc need not apply.

n.n said...

Terry:

The "social justice" movements are part of a replacement theology. They were initiated as active measures to substitute for the passive influence of religion (i.e. moral philosophy). Unfortunately, what should have been short-lived reactive movements, were then incorporated, and are now sustained with a profit motive. Today, they are incapable of providing guidance, let alone direction. This is the same dysfunction and corruption which was so evident with traditional religions when organization preempted dogma.

The coalition of various movements has been accomplished despite diametrically opposed goals. They have found a common language and interest in their pursuit of material prosperity with delegated responsibility. Apparently, this represents the zenith of human development, since it is a recurring feature of all civilizations.

Anyway, they don't want to call it religion because they realized their positions through its marginalization; but, what they offer is a replacement religion (i.e. moral philosophy), and a replacement theology where mortal beings are revered as virtual gods. However, since their primary interest is motivated by material interests, they are more a cult than a traditional religion, which predisposes them to suffer greater corruption than the institutions they are replacing.

MayBee said...

You can't make the argument "everybody gets one" without acknowledging that restrictions can be placed on marriage according to what society wants and little more.

Which is a perfectly fine argument (and I agree!) but it's hard to use when trying to make a change against what society wants.

The Edith Windsor case would be solved and federalism kept intact by the Federal government recognizing marriage that is legal in any state. And by revisiting estate tax laws.

EDH said...

To incur a $300k federal estate tax liability, wouldn't the estate have to be in the range of $6 million?

That's about a 5% effective (average) rate.

The political vagaries governing of the estate tax exemption and rate work greater injustices across a broader swath of society.

Renee said...

Sometimes I agree with the ACLU on the cases that get much less attention. Certain cases that get media attention seem more like proaganda.

Monies should go to the legal needs of the poor, not to a cash sweepstakes for a couples. This is a marketing gimmick.

http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/breaking/20131205_State_Supreme_Court_considers_appeal_by_teen_mom_over_lost_custody_of_son.html?mobile=true

'Her rights were violated because Family Court didn't appoint a lawyer to represent her until the boy had been in foster care for nearly two years, her Maui attorney, Benjamin Lowenthal, argued at a hearing before the high court today.

The identities of the mother and child are being shielded by the court.

The court treated her differently because of her age, Lowenthal argued, noting that the boy's father, who was 18, and the baby's grandparents, received court-appointed attorneys.

The mother didn't get one until after she was 18, but by then termination proceedings were already underway, said Lowenthal who was appointed to represent the mother in her appeal.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii and other public service law groups filed a friend of the court brief in the case, saying they want a uniform Hawaii policy guaranteeing legal counsel for all indigent parents who face losing custody of children, regardless of their age, instead of on a case-by-case basis."

Deirdre Mundy said...

Renee- here's the thing. If gay marriage makes sense, and people keep assuring me that it does, then there is no reason for the state to subsidize marriage, since the idea of marriage has been entirely divorced from the idea of procreation.

Gay marriage didn't start the trend, of course. It started with legalized contraception and sterilization. We now live in a society where children are an accessory, not a natural product of marriages. On the other hand, we also live in a society where a large percentage of children are born outside of a marriage, and where unmarried people can acquire a child through in vitro and surrogacy.

The state also subsidizes out-of-wedlock childbearing at a much higher rate than it subsidizes marriage.

So..it appears that the reasons that the state once offered benefits for married couples (to ensure that children were taken care of in safe, stable environments) are no longer related to the marriage subsidies.

Our society as a whole, outside of a few isolated subcultures, seems to have no problem with this. So it makes sense that the state should just eliminate the legal status of 'married' all together, and let people draw up contracts in accord with the beliefs of their own subcultures.

Legal marriage no longer makes sense, because societal norms have shifted.

On the plus side, if the state just completely got out of the marriage racket, a major point of contention could be gone. Relationships would no longer be fodder for politics. Instead, we're setting ourselves up for a long and bloody battle over what SHOULD be an entirely personal matter.

(Gay marriage, IMO, should be the opposite of the abortion issue. If Svetlana decides to kill her unborn child, it's an issue because someone needs to speak up for the child's rights. If Steve and Bob decide they want to spend the rest of their lives together, it's not really my business once government subsidies aren't involved.)

Sure, taxes might be harder if we couldn't check the 'filing jointly' box... but why not just let people file jointly with whoever they pleased, married or no?

Again, if this is all about ease of hospital visits and shared resources, why are romantic relationships given a special privelege that other relationships - brother/sister, grown parent/grown child, long-time friends - aren't? Why does it make sense for the state to subsidize couples just because they're in love?

Bruce Hayden said...

Many of my friends would be surprised that I belonged to the ACLU at one point. But that was when I saw them as a truly bipartisan civil rights group. That seems like so long ago now - now they are mostly a hard left progressive advocacy group, often taking the statist, authoritarian side of issues.

As for polygamy, I continue to wait to hear a compelling argument why SSM should be legal, and not polygamy. The one has been legal throughout history in one place or another, is accepted by major religions, and probably in excess of a billion people live today in countries or cultures that accept it. The other has pretty much never been legal or accepted until our lifetimes and is still considered an abomination by nost around the world. So, in this country, the latter is legal, and the former not only illegal, but it's practitioners persecuted and prosecuted.

Deirdre Mundy said...

It's because polygamy is often tied to religious belief, and religion is icky.

If you want to argue your position from personal feeling, you are welcome in the public square.

If you bring in philosophy or theology, you are beyond the pale.

Also, polygamists have a lot of kids, and kids are icky too.

And they're not cool. They've never had their own sitcom. We need "Will, and Grace, and Gertrude, and Giselle, and Gunhilda" to make it cool and sexy.

Michael in ArchDen said...

"The answer is: Everyone gets one, the one that they choose. "

Awesome! Now I just need to decide if if I want to choose Angelina Jolie, or Jennifer Aniston!!

Deirdre Mundy said...

Personally, I don't think either gay marriage OR polygamy makes sense. I also don't think it makes sense to marry with the intention of never having children. (Couples past the age of natural fertility are a different story, since the 'normal' way to 'have children' at that age is actually to participate in the larger family.)

BUT-- if we're going to legislate that 'marriage' is whatever the couple defines it to be for the purposes of tax breaks and hospital visitations, then why should it be limited to couples? Why is a pair-bond more special than a tri-bond or a quad-bond?

Renee said...

@Deirdre

Gay marriage is a 'result' not a cause.

No doubt.

The problem is the secular world wants to destroy Catholic marriage, proclaiming our Sacrament is homophobic in nature because it is ordered towards procreation.

We have little protection left, and I can't even watch TV without the over stating of characters being gay.

I just read on Facebook complaining they opey gay characters, but never openly left handed characters. The person was left handed and a progressive.

On the reality show the biggest loser, a contestant constantly talked on camera about his lack of self confidence coming out and AFTER the show wanted to come out to his dad.

Um.. you're ON TV IN FRONT OF A CAMERA telling everyone you're not interested on girls and are attracted to men. OK, but don't whine you have no self confidence because you're gay.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Also, your dad probably already knew. But just because he knows about your lifestyle choices doesn't mean that he'll celebrate them.

Though, in most American families today, you're more likely to be celebrated for being gay than for choosing to have more than 3 kids.

Why? Because our culture thinks babies are icky. I mean, think of it. We now proclaim 'unprotected sex' as dirty and disgusting and dangerous. Meanwhile, sticking a piece of metal into your uterus? Hygienic and responsible.

"Our culture" only refers to upper-middle class America, though. But that's the culture that's choosing politicians, filing lawsuits, and writing NYT articles.

Paul Zrimsek said...

"The answer is: Everyone gets one, the one that they choose. "

Thats not an answer, that is a rationalization.

It's not even that; it's nothing more than a flat restatement of the conclusion, without even the attempt to deliver the justification that was asked for.