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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • If you care. [slashdot.org] It's not my complete thoughts, but it is a fairly succinct and accurate representation.

    Not that your post is necessarily about gay marriage per se, and more about the arguments, but still.
    • [Just to be clear, I'm not railing at you at all pudge.]

      I've head this one before. Government does legal "unions" between two people, leave "marriage" to the churches who are free to do whatever they want. Church and state remain separated as God and the Founding Fathers intended.

      I like this idea. Anyone can get hitched to anyone else and if they want a marriage they can go to whatever church will take them to put a preacher's stamp on it.

      However, I have seen this used as a hypocritical excuse for peo
      • However, I have seen this used as a hypocritical excuse for people to vote against gay marriage resolutions. "I'm voting against because I don't believe government should say what marriage is". Ok, but meanwhile they are. And isn't it convienient that the existing definition is in your favor? As long as marriage is a legal thing, might as well patch it up as best we can.

        I can understand disliking it, and while it may be hypocritical for some people, it is not necessarily hypocritical.

        I would not vote aga
        • I would not vote against gay marriage resolution because government should get out of it, I would vote against it because it is an arbitrary change to a fundamental American institution that much if not most of the country is against.

          This is a fine example of "tyranny of the majority", a danger in democracy acknowledged by the founding fathers and something our Constitution tries to defend against. When an overwhelming majority exists (for example, heterosexuals) they can use that majority to take (or in this case, keep) citzen rights away from minorities (for example, homosexuals). This is exactly the point where the judiciary steps in to invoke the 14th amendment. That's what they're there for. That's their role.

          The 14th amendment doesn't say "that no State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens except those which make you feel a little uneasy or those whose privileges we've been abridging for a long time". Its all citizens. The judiciary isn't making new law, its keeping us honest.

          Because marriage is a priviledge. Its not just "we record that you are hitched". It imparts special legal status for all involved: special tax rules, special property rules and special status on the children of the coupling. You could try saying "gays can have a civil union which imparts all the same legal priviledges as a marriage, but we still call a union between a man and woman a marriage" but that's Seperate But Equal, a concept which has long since been shot down by the courts.

          When the majority gets to decide when the minority is ready for change... well, things aren't likely to change. In this case its even worse: the majority is deciding when the majority is ready for change, because nobody rational is arguing that gay folks aren't ready to get married. Its everybody else that's having trouble with the idea. Homosexuality isn't some fad that's going to go away in a few years.

          Furthermore, a lot of folks are tossing around the term "fundamental American institution". How does one define such a list? Is marriage mentioned in the Declaration of Independence? No. In the Constitution? No. Is male/female marriage something which makes us unique in the world? No. Well what is a fundamental American instituion? Things like the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That all men are created equal. That no State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.

          Little things like that.

          I can point out another fundamental American institutions. Slavery, I'm sorry "other Persons" -- that's mentioned a whole bunch in the Constitution. Good ol' discrimination against blacks, a fundamental American institution. Took nearly 100 years for the majority to decide to start fixing that one, and they only squeaked that in because half the country was knocked out of the legislature at the time. Took another 100 years to finish, and a lot of that came not from the majority of voters but from the judiciary and the executive. Think we should take another 200 years to give gays full rights?

          As to the arbitrary thing, it's not that there's not good reason to open it up, but what else would that lead to? What about more than two partners? I am not necessarily opposed to that either, but each move is arbitrary.

          What else would that lead to? I dunno, crazy, non-traditional, unamerican things like a black man marrying a white woman. Its a bit of a low blow but the parallels are too strong not to make it. Was the move to legalize interracial marriage, not a popular one at the time either, also arbitrary? If so, should we have waited until the majority was comfortable with the idea? Would they ever have become comfortable without having to live with it and see that society did not in fact collapse? If it was not arbitrary, why not and how does the reasoning differ from homosexual marriage?

          Finally, even if it is an arbitrary change is it right to deny full citizenship to a minority, not because you're worried that the change itself will cause a problem, but because some possible "flood gate of radical change" it might open up in some non-existent future set of laws?

          I can argue against anything with that sort of logic. Freedom of religion? No way! If we let in the Buddists before you know it we'll be allowing baby eating Satanists!!!

          • When an overwhelming majority exists (for example, heterosexuals) they can use that majority to take (or in this case, keep) citzen rights away from minorities (for example, homosexuals).

            If you think civil marriage is a right, that would make some sense. As I do not think civil marriage is a right -- for anyone -- I can't really comment on this. As you say when you try to debunk the idea that marriage is a "fundamental American institution," is marriage mentioned in the Declaration of Independence? No.