- The Republicans have modified their proposed anti-marriage amendment so it’s language is less extreme; although it still forbids any state from recognizing same-sex marriages, state legislatures would be free to pass civil union laws under the new version of the amendment. (See Professor Volokh’s comments, and also Trey’s comments).
They’re hoping that the modification will let them pick up enough votes to pass the bill out of the Senate. I’m hoping they’re wrong.
- The Iron On-Line comments on gay marriage and sexism:
But the pink box remains. To accept that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, you have to first accept that men and women are fundamentally different. You have to ignore the diversity of real human beings, the nuances of real human relationships, and concentrate instead on a conception of Man, Woman and Relationship that may only exist inside your head. And you have to defend this conception against people who disprove it with every decision they make in their everyday lives.
- Oregon – as far as I know, currently the only place in the US where same-sex couples can still get a marriage license – has reached an agreement between several parties to boil the gay-marriage fight down to a single lawsuit, asking the courts to decide if the Oregon Constitution requires equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Even expedited like this, however, the case could take quite a while to reach the Oregon Supreme Court.
Worldwide Pablo points out that this is a defeat for the conservative Christians who oppose equal rights; they will submit a brief to the court, but they don’t get to be a party in the lawsuit.
- Although same-sex marriage licenses are still being issued in Multnomah County (where I live), Oregon’s Benton County – after saying they’d issue same-sex licenses starting this week – has decided instead to issue no marriage licenses to anyone until there’s a court ruling on the constitutional questions.
- Check out Where is My Gay Apocalypse?
Where Is My Gay Apocalypse? Over 3,500 gay marriages and, what, no hellfire? I was promised hellfire. And riots. What gives?
- A New York Times article on the satisfaction some kids of gay parents have gotten from their parents’ new marriages.
“I don’t think they can take it away,” said Alex Morris, mulling over a possible constitutional amendment. “Maybe they can go into the Hall of Marriages and rip up the papers. But emotionally, they can never take away the feeling that my parents are married.”
- SSM-advocate Tom Sylvester says that this Tom Tomorrow Cartoon accuses SSM opponents of “acting in bad faith.” I don’t see it. It does accuse Karl Rove of acting in bad faith, but it’s unfair of Tom to assume that any criticism of a particular SSM opponent (such as Rove) is criticism of every SSM opponent. Besides, the cartoon depicts George W. Bush as a good-faith (albeit stupid and bigoted) opponent of SSM.
The only people criticized here are Bush and Rove – and the critiques of them (Bush is dumb, Rove calculating) are ongoing stock critiques, not a critique of them that’s particular to the SSM debate. The cartoon’s point – which is that the definition of marriage has changed with the times, and so appeals to tradition should be viewed skeptically – is a reasonable one (although Tom may not agree with it), and focuses on attacking an argument, not on attacking SSM opponents personally. If SSM opponents actually do find this beyond the pale, then they need to grow thicker skins.
- Be sure to read Gabriel Rosenberg’s review of Jonathan Rauch’s book Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America. In particular, Gabriel uses his review to discuss how opposing SSM actually devalues marriage.
- An interesting article in the New York Times argues – fairly persuasively – that the “full faith and credit” clause of the Constitution would not mean that states have to recognize gay marriages performed in other states.
- It’s amazing how fast the gay marriage debate has been transformed, isn’t it? Support for civil unions – a fairly far-out idea less than a year ago – is becoming a centrist position. Even one Republican has, either out of a sincere changed heart or out of political necessity, recanted his DOMA-tainted past:
[Representative] Shays [of Connecticut], meanwhile, said Monday that his views on the issue have evolved since he voted for the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which says states don’t have to honor same-sex unions performed elsewhere. At the time, he said, he thought he would not support gay marriages. But after watching the coverage of gay marriages being performed in states like California and New York, he said he feels differently.
“I look at these gay marriages and I say ‘how is that impacting in any way against the marriage I have with my wife?’ I don’t think it does,” Shays said. “I don’t think people need to fear this type of union.”
Shays is, by the way, being challenged in the upcoming election by Diane Farrell (D) of Westport (my high school hometown). Farrell, who as a judge can legally solemnize marriages, has asked Connecticut?s attorney general for permission to solemnize gay marriages.
Along similar lines, check out Barney Frank’s comment on the modifications to the anti-marriage amendment:“Politically, they are making it easier for states to set up civil unions,” said Frank, who is scheduled to testify against the amendment today. “This is very interesting, since a year ago civil unions were the most divisive issue in history. Now they are very boring to anyone who isn’t in one.”
- “With This Ring” describes the less-than-attractive traits that used to be part of “traditional” marriage. Remember this when anti-SSM folks describe marriage as an eternal tradition that must never, ever be altered. Here’s a sample:
Husbands could physically discipline their wives, as long as they used what was called “moderate correction.” If that, or anything else, prompted women to leave home, their husbands would advertise the fact in newspapers, right alongside the ads Southern plantation owners placed for the return of runaway slaves.
The U.S. Supreme Court was loath to tamper with that tradition of the man as lord and master of the household as late as 1911, when it rejected the idea that a wife could sue an abusive husband. The justices called the very thought “revolutionary,” “radical and far reaching.”
Unfortunately, I can’t remember which “Alas” reader emailed me that link – but thank you, whomever you are!
- Check out “Notes from the Front Lines of the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage,” a new pro-SSM blog. I particularly liked the guest post by Dale Carpenter (scroll down to March 19th). (UPDATE: Here’s a direct link to Carpenter’s essay you can use instead). Here’s a sample:
The procreationists have two responses to the non-procreative-couples argument. First, they say laws are made for the general rule, not the exceptions. Most opposite-sex couples can reproduce, but no gay couple can. Second, the failure to require married couples to procreate is only a concession to the impracticality and intrusiveness of imposing a procreation requirement. It is not an abandonment of the procreation principle. It would be unthinkable, on privacy grounds alone, to subject couples to fertility tests as a requirement for marriage. We need no such intrusive test to know gay couples can?t reproduce, the procreationists observe.
The first response is an evasion. Laws often state general rules but provide exceptions where appropriate and just. Gay marriage, like non-procreative straight marriage, is an appropriate and just exception to the procreationists? rule that marriage exists for procreation.
The second response is equally unavailing. If we were serious about the procreationist project, we could require prospective married couples to sign an affidavit stating they are able to procreate and intend to procreate. If in, say, ten years they had not procreated we could presume they are either unable or unwilling to do so and could dissolve the marriage as unworthy of the unique institution.
That would be neither impractical nor require an invasive fertility test. That no one has proposed it, or anything like it, suggests we do not take the narrow procreationist vision of marriage very seriously. Marriage is not essentially about procreation because procreation is not essential to any marriage.
Further, this second response suggests that the general rule of procreation must bend to the overriding needs and interests of couples unable or unwilling to live by it. If that exception exists for non-procreative straight couples, why not for non-procreative gay couples? If there is an answer to this question, it cannot be found in the procreationist argument.
So the procreationist rule, refined in light of actual lived experience, is this: Nobody is required to procreate in order to marry, except gay couples. It?s a rule made to reach a predetermined conclusion, not for good reasons.
- UPDATE: Make sure to this response to the above link from Trey of Daddy, Poppa & Me. Trey’s right to criticize, imo. (I’ve just added both Daddy, Poppa & Me and Notes from the Front Lines to the blogroll, by the way).