- Notes from the Front Lines (no permalinks; scroll to March 28) includes this quote in a good post about “separate but equal”:
Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson answered the question 55 years ago: “The framers of the Constitution knew, and we should not forget today, that there is no more effective practical guaranty against arbitrary and unreasonable government than to require that the principles of law which officials would impose upon a minority be imposed generally. Conversely, nothing opens the door to arbitrary action so effectively as to allow those officials to pick and choose only a few to whom they will apply legislation and thus to escape the political retribution that might be visited upon them if larger numbers were affected.” (Railway Express Agency, Inc. v. New York).
- A really excellent response to Shelby Steele by Andrew Sullivan. The entire piece covers a lot of ground, but here’s a small sample:
Is the lesbian relationship with genetically related children so different from a family with adopted kids that it demands a separate institution? Or is it so different than the remainder of these relationships that it cannot be included among them? I would argue not. In fact, I would argue that the differences between gays and straights are far more innocuous than Steele seems to believe. The love that once dared not speak its name is still love. The pain of separation between two men in love is the same as that between a parted heterosexual couple. I can understand the central relationships in Romeo and Juliet or Much Ado About Nothing because I am human–not gay or straight. I can relate to the ups and downs of my straight peers in their couplings because I know what love is. Yes, there are differences between relationships. The span between a lesbian couple and a gay male couple is as profound as the difference between men and women. But the marriage movement is dedicated to affirming what we have in common, not what keeps us apart. It is about the virtues and emotions that marriage includes, not the people it excludes.
- Eve at Marriage Debate asks: Should we leave it to the states?
As a matter of short-term strategy, it might be for the best if marriage equality is left to states to decide for a while. After a few years of same-sex marriage in places like Oregon and Massachusetts fails to cause the sky to fall (or straight marriages to break up, or a surge in single-mother families, etc etc), the case for marriage equality will be that much stronger.
I also have faith in the reflexive fairness of most Americans. Give the marriage equality movement several years of showing that marriage equality is about real human families loving each other, and many Americans now in the anti-equality majority will overcome their fears. The idea of equal treatment under the law has a basic appeal to fairness which I think will win out over the horror stories of the fearmongers.
However, as a matter of principle, the 14th amendment should protect all Americans, not just heterosexual Americans. Same-sex couples therefore should have equal marriage rights in every one of the fifty states. In the long run, if the states won’t recognize equality on their own, I hope the Supreme Court forces them to.
- Also on MarriageDebate, this post by “stay-at-home knitter” Lucia Liljegren needs to be quoted in full:
Let us say we buy the idea that that all parents ought to be married. That does not imply that all married people ought to have children, nor does it imply that marriage is defined by children or even “about” children.
It seems to me that the law has LONG recognized that marriage is not “about” child bearing. We can, one would think, get some idea what it is “about” by examining grounds for dissolution of marriage. After all, that gives us an idea of the elements legislators consider essential to a real marriage.
Despite the many, many possible grounds for divorce dreamt up by the various 50 states, infertility, or unwillingness or a partner to have children is NOT grounds for divorce in even one state.
Legislators always recognized that, fundamentally, marriage is about something… else!
- Gabriel Rosenberg responds to Ben Bateman with great thoroughness.