November 18, 2003


Posted by Arcane Gazebo at November 18, 2003 12:09 PM Earlier today the Massachusetts Supreme Court gave its expected ruling that a same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. This is being discussed on both sides as a victory for gay rights but I'm not so sure; the court didn't legalize same-sex marriage in MA, instead ordering the legislature to "find a solution" within 180 days. One solution would be to legalize same-sex marriage, but another would be to amend the constitution to include the ban (which is Governor Mitt Romney's preference). If the state opts to change the constitution this court decision can hardly be construed as a civil rights victory.

On the other hand, I know very little about what is required to change the Massachusetts constitution, so maybe this possibility is highly unlikely. All I know is that it's far too easy to change the California constitution, which is why we have all kinds of stupid shit in there now. (CA's constitution forbids same-sex marriage; there was a ballot initiative in 2000, the sole effect of which was to make the language of this clause stronger. It passed. That, by the way, was the first time I voted; I voted against that proposition and for Bill Bradley in the Democratic primary, making it one of the more futile ballots I've cast.)

Also of concern is a possible amendment to the federal constitution; Bill Frist et al. are undoubtedly going to step up the demand for such a thing. Sadly, public opinion is against same-sex marriage so the backlash from this decision could be significant.

One good outcome is that we can watch and laugh as the wingnuts come out of the woodwork to make dumbass Santorum-esque comments. TBogg dares to gaze into the FreeRepublic abyss, while alicublog roundly mocks the discussion on NRO. What's amazing to me is that these Freeper types feel so strongly about a decision that can't possibly have any substantive effect on their lives.

Just to say a couple words on Vermont-style civil unions, which MA Gov. Romney would prefer to same-sex marriage: they're obviously better than nothing, but didn't we bury the "separate but equal" concept a few decades back? I would, however, support eliminating all government-sanctioned marriage and make everyone get civil unions. Or, even better: privatize marriage. Tags:

Interesting article on privatizing marriage. I've never understood why same-sex marriages court the same debate that say abortion does. Being gay is being gay. That's how you were born, that's how you want to live your life. So why can't you get married? It's ridiculous! To me there's really no debate to be had. Why should it matter to anyone else? I'm obviously missing the arguments made by the opposing side, what, does it have to do with taxes or some such crap? Whatever. It makes me ill that this is still an issue in this country. Get over it, let people willing to make a commitment to eachother make it legal. And now I will step off of my soapbox and go back to work.

Posted by: Tracy Manford | November 18, 2003 12:37 PM

Unfortunately quite a few people don't recognize the "that's how you were born" part. That's part of the problem since people are (these days) more reluctant to discriminate against inborn characteristics.

I wonder is sexual orientation is something of a red herring in this issue; in a legalistic sense, it's not discrimination against gays but a sort of symmetric gender discrimination. After all, two straight guys can't marry each other, either.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | November 18, 2003 3:09 PM


You make a good point...That CNN article really disturbs me. I had no idea that the split was so close. So honestly, do you think that, say, 50 years people are going to look back and be amazed that this was even an argument? I mean, look at the suffrage movement, it's almost impossible for me to understand how women were NOT ALLOWED TO VOTE. Now it seems silly. Do you think people will look back on this and wonder how they were ever against same-sex marriage? Or maybe not...homosexuality has been around forever and I don't think it's ever achieved true legitimacy. Maybe this will be an ongoing battle. What a waste of energy. There are so many real problems that need our attention.....

Posted by: Tracy Manford | November 19, 2003 8:26 AM

There's been tremendous progress in gay rights just in the last 20 years (remember that sodomy laws were upheld in the Supreme Court in the Reagan era). Because of this I'd say there's good reason to think that in 50 years we'll look at same-sex marriage bans the way we look at miscegenation laws today. That's if the trend continues; the alternative is that the pendulum swings the other direction, starting with a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage which opens the door for the constitutionality of sodomy laws, etc. I think it could go either way. One of the disturbing things about that poll I linked is that opposition to same-sex marriage has increased in the last few months.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | November 19, 2003 2:58 PM
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