California Supreme Court rules for same-sex marriage

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129 Responses to “California Supreme Court rules for same-sex marriage”

  1. GregLondon says:

    @ 70 GregLondon: If there’s one thing I’ve noticed, it’s how much the government is motivated to tyrannize the institution of marriage because of what taxes they get from it. (cough)crap(cough)

    Leavinghalfway@76: They do. They get more money from every gay and lesbian couple in a committed household relationship because they are not married in the eyes of the federal government, and thus have to file individual tax returns, as LargeMarge and others have mentioned a couple times.

    Anyone who seriously thinks the main reason people are fighting gay marriage is because of taxes and not because of, say, bigotry, is creating strawmen and feeding them mud-pies.

    Put another way, if you manage to solve the no-gay-marriage-means-lots-of-tax-money problem, you should quickly move on to solve the polar-bears-are-becoming-extinct-because-they-don’t-have-access-to-midwestern-corn problem.

  2. Gia says:

    Yay!!

    /woot woot

  3. GregLondon says:

    berserker73@84: I just don’t want to pay for people to play house, whether they’re gay or straight. Married people get tax and benefit breaks that I don’t

    Property taxes generally pay for public schools. That means people who don’t have children, but own land, are paying for someone else’s lifestyle.

    Income and sales taxes pay for police departments, and they don’t neccessarily respond as fast or as reliably as I’d like. That means people in gated communities are paying for services they don’t need, and shouldn’t have to pay taxes that go to public police departments.

    Really, when it comes down to it, if the entire point of government is to only tax people specifically for the services they directly use, aren’t we arguing for the complete privitaization of the state?

    In short, marriage has tax benefits. The constitutionality of that fact hasn’t been challenged. Excluding gays and lesbians from marriage, and from those tax benefits, and from inheritance laws, and from power of attorney issues, and from health benefits via insurance, and from numerous other laws all of which come out of marital law, has been challenged.

    Those who wish to challenge the legality and constitutionality and morality of marriage as a legal concept itself should note that the line for tinfoil hats forms to the right.

  4. Takuan says:

    I just re-read all your posts, Berserker.

    It appears to me you feel that the only just form of government is one in which all persons are treated equally unfairly. I agree.

    Perhaps we should separate the issues of equal human rights for all humans from the righteous anger at government thieving and bumble-headed spending. I think the former has more hope of a happy outcome.

    Is this the one, true Eternal Mystery?: Why is government everywhere and everywhen so godsdamned,inutterably, bloody stupid?

  5. zebob says:

    > 1) Marriage exists to produce, provide for, and raise children.

    No way dude.

  6. t3knomanser says:

    By the way- I don’t agree with any of those above premises. I’m just pointing out that a clever person can do mental gymnastics to prove their premises by their conclusion.

  7. berserker73 says:

    GregLondon, I can’t speak to other people’s personal feelings like you’re doing, but I definitely know my own. Taxes and benefits are the ONLY reasons I have to vote against gay marriage. If it weren’t for those, I wouldn’t be able to justify my vote to myself. I assume that I’m not alone in thinking this way, especially since most of my friends have expressed pretty much the same opinion at one time or another.

    Assume that everybody who disagrees with you is a bigoted, fuzzy-headed idiot if it makes you feel better about yourself. Because that’s all that kind of thinking will accomplish. It definitely won’t help bring anyone over to your point of view.

  8. t3knomanser says:

    @zebob: Since marriage is a legal construct, laws are defined by the state, then the definition (and purpose) of marriage is free to be defined by the state.

    Which is why I oppose any state-sponsored marriage.

    Now, I am married, so there is a bit of hypocrisy there. Hey, I’m no sucker. I’ll take the carrot, even if I oppose the motivations for handing it out.

  9. Sister Y says:

    #96, so if interracial marriage were still illegal, you’d vote against that, and keep marriage only for same-race couples, because to you it would just mean more people getting “tax breaks”? Would you outlaw marriage as it currently exists altogether, because tax benefits are currently part of the package? It sounds like you’re saying the tax differences are more important than both the right to marry and the importance of equal treatment under the law.

  10. codesuidae says:

    t3knomanser:

    “1) Marriage exists to produce, provide for, and raise children.”

    So says one view. It is just as easy to say that Marriage exists as a formalized commitment between adults to share resources, household duties and emotional commitments. Obviously, and as others have already stated, it is clearly not the case that Marriage exists to produce, provide for and raise children, as these things are all done outside of marriage as well as not done within marriage.

    “2) The future of the State rests upon the production and proper training/indoctrination of children.”

    True enough. However, it is not the case that these purposes are dependent on marriage, nor is it true that these things cannot be done by same sex couples, singles or collectives.

    “3) Ergo, the state has the power and responsibility to define marriage as between a man and woman, with the anticipation that most such couples will provide children for the state.”

    This does not follow from the first. It is a simple observation that children will be produced regardless of marital status, and that singles, couples and collectives, regardless of gender, are all capable of successfully raising children.

    The state should have the power to ensure that children are not mentally or physically abused (to some degree, obviously ‘raised by a single parent’, ‘born out of wedlock’, and ‘raised by same-sex couple’ could, but ought not be defined as mental abuse), and that they are educated to some standard. The state should not define how these goals must be achieved, though it could make non-binding recommendations (sort of a ‘best practices’ document) and provide systems citizens could access to accomplish them, should they choose to (public schools, for example).

    “This, of course, offers an Achilles’s heel- that definition should allow polygamy. ”

    Only if you think that production of children is a goal. I propose that we call this the “Duggars” model of marriage (go ahead, google it).

    I think that we can pretty safely assume, based on available evidence, that the state has absolutely no need to ensure that children will be created, rather it should ensure that those that are created are given a chance to succeed.

  11. berserker73 says:

    @95:
    I don’t like property taxes, either. I’m single, with a traditional job, little debt, and no dependents, so I pay a lot of taxes that I don’t like. I can’t get rid of all of them at once, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try to make some kind of difference when I have the chance.

    Personally, I would like to see a little less collectivism in this country.

    I don’t base my own judgment on what has been challenged in court and what hasn’t. I can decide on my own what I think is right or wrong without waiting for a lawyer’s input.

  12. aimless says:

    @ #18 Maybe instead of veiling your homophobia in talks about history and aliens, you should understand that queer couples are being denied fundamental rights that go beyond breeding.

    Go California, I wish I lived in a state that could even consider such things.

  13. Takuan says:

    marriage is the cornerstone and bedrock of human society. We live and succeed in groups as a result of intelligent, loving self-sacrifice. The first unit of this is the couple. Any two humans is more than the lonely, however noble and accomplished single since all human continuity of genetic existence and culture flows from that leap of faith. Those examples of the individual that never committed to another yet made contributions invariably show sublimation of mating into loving the species and the idea of our species culture.
    If a woman can be married to an ideal and shine thereby it,why not them to another woman? Or a man to a man?

    Trivialities of local laws and economics have no bearing. Same sex “marriages” have always existed and we have been enriched by them as we have been enriched by any loving union and denial of the Existential Certainty.

  14. ME says:

    #19, if you have a disagreement with #18, on his analysis or underlying facts, why not be explicit in your criticism. Generally impugning his credentials is boring and logically fallacious. What did he get wrong? I’m interested to know if there’s some substance to your statement.

  15. berserker73 says:

    #97:
    Well, if marriage as it currently exists was outlawed, then wouldn’t we actually be closer to “equal treatment under the law” since gay, interracial, interplanetary, and any other kinds of couples would all have exactly the same rights? And wouldn’t those rights then be the same ones that single folks have?

    Again, I’m not voting against marriage itself because I think of marriage as an emotional attachment and commitment between people who care for each other that’s recognized by their friends and family, regardless of what the state thinks about it. Personally, the only reason I can think of that I would have for wanting some government agency to acknowledge or even know about my commitment to another person would be for material benefits, and those are what I’m voting against.

  16. aimless says:

    t3knomanser, you really should have included a devils advocate disclaimer in your original post. Sorry about pulling the phobia card.

  17. berserker73 says:

    Damn, Takuan. That’s so eloquent, I don’t think it’d be diminished at all if I used it as a pick-up line ;)

  18. berserker73 says:

    Government is stupid, but its denizens are possessed of an acute cunning. That’s why there’s hardly ever a ballot where the choices are something like “equal rights for all” vs “crooked, short-term thinking.”

    Don’t get me wrong, stupid government does have it’s place. If properly supervised (big IF), it’s excellent for administrating things like dispersement of highway repair funds and large-scale mail delivery. Like my labeler GregLondon said, “The only reason we want the government to do anything at all is for material benefit.”

  19. t3knomanser says:

    @aimless: How is getting married a fundamental right? I think it’s unfair for them to be denied the state sponsorship that others get, but getting married is hardly a fundamental right. That’s like saying a driver’s license is a fundamental right.

    It’s unfair and injust to offer privleges to some and deny them to others. But marriage is certainly a privilege, not a right.

    @codesuidae: Hey, I’m just devil’s advocating. I don’t think there is any value in state sanctioned marriage that can’t be better managed under corporate or contract law. I think a group of college roommates sharing an apartment are worthy of the same privleges as a married couple sharing an apartment.

  20. Modusoperandi says:

    berserker73 Personally, I would like to see a little less collectivism in this country.”
    Hey, there’s no “I” in America.

  21. Antinous says:

    Yay! I can get married! Oh, wait. I haven’t even had date in this millennium. Never mind.

    I totally agree that marriage should be stripped of state recognition in favor of personal contracts. Basically, you sign something that looks like a pre-nup. You would be forced to deal with inheritance, health care directives, etc. Marriage has become something that people fall into unthinkingly because of its special status. Having to deal with all the potential legal ramifications before getting into it would be a wake-up call to how serious it is.

  22. t3knomanser says:

    @aimless: I’m not #18. I didn’t even read #18 completely, because it rapidly descended into incomprehensibility. My bit of devil’s advocating was #23.

    BoingBoing- you guys should really look into setting up a link-back reply system like Gawker sites use. Or threaded replies. Or something.

  23. Modusoperandi says:

    Dang!

    I mean, there’s no “me” in America.

  24. Modusoperandi says:

    Nuts!

  25. largemarge says:

    Let me tell you what it’s like to be “civilly-unioned” in a world where marriage is the norm. My partner and I became “registered domestic partners” in Oregon when the civil union bill went into effect in February 2008. We have been together as a couple for six years or so. We have a baby on the way. So far so good.

    Come tax-time, we had to file separate federal tax returns and pay at the “single” rate. Next year I think we should be able to file our Oregon tax return together, but we’ll still need to file federal taxes separately. Even if we were married in Massachusetts or (now) California, we would still need to do this because the feds don’t recognize same-sex marriages, period. Thanks President Clinton.

    Thanks to Oregon’s civil union law (and a helpful Oregon court case), I can get my partner insured by my insurance with no difficulty, and vice versa. In a prior state with a prior employer, we had to jump through a lot of hoops to get dependent insurance. For example, we had to fill out an affidavit describing in detail how long we had lived together, and where. The affidavit asked for supporting documentation, like a will (!) or a lease.

    Dependent insurance is great, except that the feds will now tax me for health benefits paid by my employer to cover my partner. If we were married, this employment benefit would not be taxed.

    We are about to have a baby girl. I cannot be listed as a parent on her birth certificate until I legally adopt her. With male-female couples who are married, the male partner would be presumed to be the father and would be listed on the birth certificate, even if he was not in fact the biological father.

    Thankfully, Oregon’s “stepparent” adoption procedure is pretty chill. We don’t have to have a home study, and the whole process doesn’t take too long. However, there will be several months of my child’s life where I will not be her legal parent.

    I know people view marriage as a religious institution, but I want everyone to see how many practical day-to-day issues are tied up with marital status. Marriage is very much a state-sponsored institution now.

    Sorry for the long post.
    -largemarge

  26. GregLondon says:

    berzerker73@96: Assume that everybody who disagrees with you is a bigoted, fuzzy-headed idiot if it makes you feel better about yourself. Because that’s all that kind of thinking will accomplish. It definitely won’t help bring anyone over to your point of view.

    hasty generalization. I assume that you can’t be brought over to my point of view, because you are espousing tinfoil arguments.

    Marriage is legally recognized. It isn’t going away anytime soon. A rather large number of poeple are trying to prohibit gays and lesbians from being able to marry for strictly bigoted reasons.

    You citing completely non-sequitor excuses for opposing gay marriage makes you functionally indistinguishable from a bigot with a thin cover story. You and the bigots both oppose gay marriage, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and all that.

    So, assume that everyone who opposes gay marriage does so without a bigotted bone in their body, if it makes you feel better about yourself.

    #95: I don’t like property taxes, either. I’m single, with a traditional job, little debt, and no dependents, so I pay a lot of taxes that I don’t like.

    Are you a libertarian by any chance? A polygamist? You’ve cast yourself as an outsider to the system for some reason. A divorcee? A single person who thinks divorce law is unfair?

    #100: the only reason I can think of that I would have for wanting some government agency to acknowledge or even know about my commitment to another person would be for material benefits, and those are what I’m voting against.

    Right. The only reason we want the government to do anything at all is for material benefit.

    Again, what you’re arguing for is for the privatization of all state functions. I mean, really, why have laws such as power of attorney where the life and death decision of someone in a come should be decided by the spouse, if “spouse” is strictly a legal invention for material benefit? Why have health benefits tied to an employee, spouse, and children? If I work and get insurance, I should be able to subcontract out my medical benefits to whoever I want as my “dependents”.

    Why bother having laws about who receives the estate of someone who dies without a will to the spouse, dependents, and family, in various order, if marriage is nothing more than a legal contrivance?

    See, your “argument” for opposing gay marriage only works if you willfully pretend that marriage is nothing more than a tax benefit for the married, and cast yourself as the poor, disadvantaged single person who has to pay taxes for someone else to play house.

    Meanwhile, do you have a living will that assigns who specifically can make the “pull the plug decision”?

    No?

    Then you’re not walking the walk. If you were serious about having a “little less collectivism”, then you’d already have a living will with a designated person to make life/death decisions for you. You’d have a will to determine who exactly gets your inheritance.

    Oh, wait, except if you did get married and have children, would you sign a prenup that included who would get visitation rights and to what extent in the event of a divorce? Would your prenup declare what each member would get in the event of divorce?

    Yeah. Keep arguing that marriage is nothing but a tax break for the married. Just ignore any other effects that legally recognized marriages have that have nothing to do with money. Because you have a living will, a will and complete estate planning, and a prenup ready for when you meet the right girl. RIght?

    the only reason I can think of that I would have for wanting some government agency to acknowledge or even know about my commitment to another person would be for material benefits,

    Right. The only reason you’re willing to acknowledge is tax benefits because it fits with your argument. All the other benefits such as who makes life/death decisions for someone who is in a coma, who makes medical treatment decisions for someone who can’t do it themselves and didn’t write a living will with every specific possibility outlined, that’s all best swept under the rug.

    Because what is really unfair, is that you are paying more taxes.

  27. Takuan says:

    and so we all converge. Xopher?

  28. LeavingHalfway says:

    @ #93 GregLondon:

    Anyone who seriously thinks the main reason people are fighting gay marriage is because of taxes and not because of, say, bigotry, is creating strawmen and feeding them mud-pies.

    I’m not arguing this. I think that genuinely most of the people who get mobilized to vote for those kind of amendments (when can I vote so none of them are allowed to procreate or pass their twisted views on to their children?) or laws, I’m just pointing out that, most of the time, there is a financial component as well. It’s part of the picture, and probably the portion that anyone thinking about or working on the tax code deals with more than, Are Mr. and Mr. Smith banging without my consent?

  29. berserker73 says:

    Well, a gay marriage measure hasn’t come up where I live, so I guess that has to make this hypothetical for me. If one did come up, then just like most everything else I vote on, I’d have to look at its particular details and hope they allowed me to express my hopes for building a more free and fair society without screwing things up too much in the process, with a simple yes/no vote. I suppose if I just gave in and picked a socio/political label for myself, it would help me predetermine my vote based on the larger issue instead of a specific measure, saving me and the folks in line behind me at the voting booth some time and angst. But, I don’t think that would necessarily be a good thing.

  30. Xopher says:

    T3knomanser 23, 25: They can only PROVE their proposition by those mental gymnastics if they ignore the obvious counterarguments; for example, does that mean people should have to prove they’re fertile in order to get married? Does that mean that when the “one woman” goes through menopause, divorce should be automatic?

    Of course not. The argument is entirely spurious. That’s because all the arguments against same sex marriage fall into three categories:

    1. “My religion is right, and the state should support what my religion supports and forbid what it forbids,”
    2. “If we let the n****** into the country club, we won’t get to eat as much caviar,” and
    3. Spurious arguments used to cover the ugly sentiments in 1. and 2.

  31. Alex Mingoia says:

    Thank God for this decision. The state should not afford rights to some but not to others based on who they choose to sleep with.

  32. Modusoperandi says:

    Wups…
    #18 rcanzlovar “MM/FF couples not only don’t breed, but also take breeding stock out of the pool, also not good for the survival of a society in which children do not always grow to adulthood.”
    (to which I originally replied…)
    Huh? Gay couples only raise gay kids? By that logic, hetero couples only raise hetero kids.

    *Grumble*. I just realized that I completely misinterpreted what you said. You meant that not only do gays not breed, but their pair-bonding prevents each of them from engaging in non-gay non-homosex sex, and that also prevents them from breeding. To which the correct reply is:
    You do know that gays can have kids, right? It’s about as complicated as that of a hetero couple where one is sterile or the other is barren.
    Incidentally, you answered your own point with your previous “This is not to say that a homosexual couple isn’t going to raise kids, but as a rule, MM or FF couples don’t breed without going outside the dyad for some assistance…” point, and the “…but that goes against the control of sexuality that societies seem to need.” that follows it does not follow. That some societies do has no bearing on whether they should.

    There. I feel better. Granted, that was probably the mother of all delayed reactions.

  33. Antinous says:

    Um, I read Berserker’s statement about taxes as hypothetical rather than a personal statement of intent. So, I don’t think there’s a disagreement. And I really, really like pie.

  34. largemarge says:

    To T3KNOMANSER (post #31):
    Marriage is a fundamental right under the federal constitution’s 14th Amendment, according to the United States Supreme Court. This comes from a case called Loving v. Virginia, where an interracial couple was prosecuted criminally for having a relationship in a state with anti-miscegenation laws. The court said the law was unconstitutional because marriage is a fundamental right.

    Another more recent case from the court involved a prisoner who was either not allowed to get married to his out-of-custody fiancee, or was not allowed to have visits with her, I forget which. I can’t remember the name of this one, but the court held that the prisoner had a fundamental right to marry and the prison could not interfere with it.

    Possessing a driver’s license is a privilege, not a right, so the states can regulate licenses as they see fit.

    -largemarge

  35. t3knomanser says:

    @XOPHER: “They can only PROVE their proposition by those mental gymnastics if they ignore the obvious counterarguments;”

    And… your point is? Remember, the state brings us such reasonable things as endless war, the TSA and bottled water bans, the ongoing drug war, “think of the children” motivated campaigns and all that garbage.

    The state rarely acts in a reasonable fashion. I don’t see why we should expect reason on this one issue, when it isn’t applied on many others.

    If the state defines marriage, it has the power to define it however it likes. There may be constitutional limitations, but since marriage isn’t generally discussed in constitutions that’s legally debatable.

    In any case, this gives the majority the ability to define marriage however they like. The state is, to a large extent, the majority. In the age of the pander-bears, the majority holds more power than ever. If we remove the power of the state to define marriage, we take that power away from the majority. We remove a major source of pander-bear bamboo, and things work better.

  36. Antinous says:

    And an update on my friends: The limerent one said, “Yay! When are we getting married?!?” The commitment -phobe said, “I might consider it just so that your parents don’t get half of the house when you die (!) Otherwise, I’m not interested.” Tears ensued. I expect to find a blood-stained veil hanging out of the trashcan next time I drive by.

  37. Marshall says:

    Viva California!

  38. t3knomanser says:

    @Largemarge: The supreme court isn’t the boss of me. I disagree with man SCOTUS decisions, and this is one of them. I agree with the impact, but not the reasoning.

    State-sanctioned marriage is not a fundamental right. It’s a wacky contrivance and should not exist. The state should not have that power, regardless of what SCOTUS says.

  39. berserker73 says:

    GregLondon, if you assume I can’t be brought to your point of view, why did I have to scroll so far to get to the end of your post that was addressed to me?

    I’m not any kind of ian or ist or ism or istic or any other suffix. I use my own judgment. That doesn’t mean I’m an outsider, either, just that I live in a relatively free country.

    “Why bother having laws about…if marriage is nothing more than a legal contrivance?” You lost me there. Don’t legal contrivances have to consist of laws?

    “The only reason we want the government to do anything at all is for material benefit.” Yep, completely agree with you on that one.

    You misunderstood what I meant by collectivism. If I had a living will or pre-nup, then I’d be asking a faceless government agency to adjudicate personal matters, and that would be contributing to collectivism. I trust my close family and friends to help me with those things, and I’m perhaps overly optimistic that the government won’t interfere with them too much. After all, like you said, “The only reason we want the government to do anything at all is for material benefit.”

    Feeling tired, and old, on a Friday night. Going to bed now.

  40. t3knomanser says:

    Er, I disagree with many SCOTUS decisions.

  41. Lexica says:

    t3knomanser @ 23:
    1) Marriage exists to produce, provide for, and raise children.

    No, it doesn’t, and this was explicitly addressed in the opinion:

    The personal enrichment afforded by the right to marry may be obtained by a couple whether or not they choose to have children, and the right to marry never has been limited to those who plan or desire to have children. Indeed, in Griswold v. Connecticut, supra, 381 U.S. 479 — one of the seminal federal cases striking down a state law as violative of the federal constitutional right of privacy — the high court upheld a married couple’s right to use contraception to prevent procreation, demonstrating quite clearly that the promotion of procreation is not the sole or defining purpose of marriage. Similarly, in Turner v. Safley, supra, 482 U.S. 78, the court held that the constitutional right to marry extends to an individual confined in state prison — even a prisoner who has no right to conjugal visits with his would-be spouse — emphasizing that “[m]any important attributes of marriage remain… after taking into account the limitations imposed by prison life… [including the] expressions of emotional support and public commitment [that] are an important and significant aspect of the marital relationship.” (482 U.S. at pp. 95-96.) Although Griswold and Turner relate to the right to marry under the federal Constitution, they accurately reflect the scope of the state constitutional right to marry as well. Accordingly, this right cannot properly be defined by or limited to the state’s interest in fostering a favorable environment for the procreation and raising of children.

    From page 76 of the PDF.

    And t3knomanser @ 31: getting married is hardly a fundamental right.

    Wrong again. From pages 5 and 6:

    First, we must determine the nature and scope of the “right to marry” — a right that past cases establish as one of the fundamental constitutional rights embodied in the California Constitution… this right has been recognized as one of the basic, inalienable civil rights guaranteed to an individual by the California Constitution

    “Fundamental right” is a term of art that has a specific meaning: “a right that has its origin in a country’s constitution or that is necessarily implied from the terms of that constitution. These fundamental rights usually encompass those rights considered natural human rights.” It doesn’t mean “whatever the speaker thinks is most basic and essential” or anything like that.

  42. IWood says:

    t3knomanser @ #20:

    Maybe. But corporations functioning as legal persons with no individual liability has allowed for a lot of bad shenanigans, particularly when the actions of the corporate entities would be considered socio- or psychopathic if performed by an actual person.

    We need more human accountability, not further development of legal ways to shield individuals from responsibility for their actions.

  43. Antinous says:

    The state rarely acts in a reasonable fashion. I don’t see why we should expect reason on this one issue, when it isn’t applied on many others.

    That is the great-grandmother of all spurious arguments.

  44. Xopher says:

    Antinous, I read it as a personal statement of intent. Berserker, how did you mean it?

  45. t3knomanser says:

    @Lexica: I see the source of our confusion.

    Marriage is a fundamental human right. I’ll grant that, in the same way reading a book is a fundamental human right. If that’s what you want to do, go ahead and do it!

    State-sanctioned marriage is not a fundamental human right. It’s a horrible idea and shouldn’t exist. The state should have no power to recognize marriage. By granting the state that power, we give the state the power to make it conditional and turn it from a “human right” into a privilege.

    Is this more clear?

    @IWood: That’s better handled via corporate reform thought. That’s entirely separate from creating a new specialized class of corporation to replace marriage.

  46. t3knomanser says:

    @Antinous: Shall I rephrase?

    The state often misuses and abuses its power, therefore, we should be extremely careful and restrictive about which powers we grant the state.

    That’s why the 9th and 10th Amendments exist. To explicitly limit the government’s power and expand that of the citizens.

  47. ill lich says:

    Wait. . . all the judges that voted for this were Republican?

    Damn “activist judges!”

  48. IWood says:

    t3knomanser @ #45:

    In your original proposal (#11), you wrote that:

    Children can be entered into a household corporation by their legal guardians; through adoption law, the corporation could become the legal guardian.

    So now we’ve got corporations as parents instead of human beings.

    I just don’t see that as a benefit, and it is most certainly related to the problems inherent in the creation of artificial persons.

  49. largemarge says:

    To T3KNOMANSER (#40)

    Do you not see that having a fundamental right to marry under the federal (and now California state) constitution is a GOOD thing? Without this right, Mr. and Mrs. Loving could have been put in jail for having an interracial relationship.

    I generally am in favor of having MORE individual rights vis-a-vis the state/federal government.

    -largemarge

  50. wgmleslie says:

    I’m glad California has finally caught up with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. ;)

  51. numike says:

    At a crossroads on gay unions

    By John Lewis, 10/25/2003

    FROM TIME to time, America comes to a crossroads. With confusion and controversy, it’s hard to spot that moment. We need cool heads, warm hearts, and America’s core principles to cleanse away the distractions.

    We are now at such a crossroads over same-sex couples’ freedom to marry. It is time to say forthrightly that the government’s exclusion of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters from civil marriage officially degrades them and their families. It denies them the basic human right to marry the person they love. It denies them numerous legal protections for their families.

    This discrimination is wrong. We cannot keep turning our backs on gay and lesbian Americans. I have fought too hard and too long against discrimination based on race and color not to stand up against discrimination based on sexual orientation. I’ve heard the reasons for opposing civil marriage for same-sex couples. Cut through the distractions, and they stink of the same fear, hatred, and intolerance I have known in racism and in bigotry.

    Some say let’s choose another route and give gay folks some legal rights but call it something other than marriage. We have been down that road before in this country. Separate is not equal. The rights to liberty and happiness belong to each of us and on the same terms, without regard to either skin color or sexual orientation.

    Some say they are uncomfortable with the thought of gays and lesbians marrying. But our rights as Americans do not depend on the approval of others. Our rights depend on us being Americans.

    Sometimes it takes courts to remind us of these basic principles. In 1948, when I was 8 years old, 30 states had bans on interracial marriage, courts had upheld the bans many times, and 90 percent of the public disapproved of those marriages, saying they were against the definition of marriage, against God’s law. But that year, the California Supreme Court became the first court in America to strike down such a ban. Thank goodness some court finally had the courage to say that equal means equal, and others rightly followed, including the US Supreme Court 19 years later.

    Some stand on the ground of religion, either demonizing gay people or suggesting that civil marriage is beyond the Constitution. But religious rites and civil rights are two separate entities. What’s at stake here is legal marriage, not the freedom of every religion to decide on its own religious views and ceremonies.

    I remember the words of John Kennedy when his presidential candidacy was challenged because of his faith: “I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant, nor Jewish — where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the pope, the National Council of Churches, or any other ecclesiastical source — where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials — and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.”

    Those words ring particularly true today. We hurt our fellow citizens and our community when we deny gay people civil marriage and its protections and responsibilities. Rather than divide and discriminate, let us come together and create one nation. We are all one people. We all live in the American house. We are all the American family. Let us recognize that the gay people living in our house share the same hopes, troubles, and dreams. It’s time we treated them as equals, as family.

  52. LeavingHalfway says:

    @ 70 GregLondon:

    If there’s one thing I’ve noticed, it’s how much the government is motivated to tyrannize the institution of marriage because of what taxes they get from it.

    (cough)crap(cough)

    They do. They get more money from every gay and lesbian couple in a committed household relationship because they are not married in the eyes of the federal government, and thus have to file individual tax returns, as LargeMarge and others have mentioned a couple times.

    The reasoning behind the argument that Marriage shouldn’t be a state-sponsored contract is that then it can be restricted according to the will of that government; e.g. the current institution.

    Regardless of that and whether it’s a good idea (I think so, philosophically), I though that generally we’d all agreed that separate but equal never turns out to be equal?

  53. Xopher says:

    Berserker, in case you didn’t notice, you have been Taken Down. And your “wish” was plainly insincere, since you announced your intention to piss off Greg in the same post.

    And your post at 121 makes it clear that if a gay marriage vote does come up in your jurisdiction, your conscience will not be your guide. Who acts as bigots act is a bigot him/herself.

  54. demidan says:

    Between Cali’s court ruling and Oscar Pistorius being aloud to run in the Olympics best news week in a long time!

    (that and my baby slept a whole night through!!!)

    Makes me think there is a twinkling of hope.

  55. ME says:

    #35,

    re:”people should have to prove they’re fertile in order to get married?”

    Fertility is traditionally affirmatively presumed, but in much of the world, infertility, or impotence, is often cause for divorce or annulment, and is often initiated by the woman. Similarly, even in the United States, if a partner were to hide fore-knowledge of their infertility, it could later be legal cause for divorce or annulment, although IANAL.

    re:”Does that mean that when the “one woman” goes through menopause, divorce should be automatic?”

    No, because the presumption is that she has sacrificed her child-bearing years to her husband, and should therefore receive some legal recognition and reward of said sacrifice.

    ***********

    As an aside, I believe if the idea of generally replacing marriage with individualized civil contracts were to become widespread, stipulations like the two you alluded to would become common, and would be, especially in the second case, detestable.

    ***********

    I realize I’m disagreeing with the general sentiment here, and I would appreciate polite disagreement. This is an issue that has a great emotional impact on many people, so please understand that any disagreement is not necessarily a personal attack.

  56. caillean says:

    Firstly, hurrah for California in following the lead of my home state of Massachusetts and making strides towards equal rights for all.

    The very idea that the government should be in charge of whether consenting adults should or shouldn’t be allowed to marry is just bizarre.

    Secondly, Hear, Hear! I wholeheartedly agree the government has no business determining who I can and cannot marry as long as they’re of age. I’m actually all for the government getting completely out of the marriage business and, instead, having either religious unions, or contracts between consenting adults for whatever given term they so desire, be it short-term, long-term, or life-long. Given that this will not fly in the US in the foreseeable future, I’m thrilled same sex couples are being guaranteed the same rights as heterosexual couples.

  57. t3knomanser says:

    @Largemarge (#49): How is it “more rights” when you’re giving more power to the government?

    If the state can’t sanction marriage, then the citizens have infinite power to explore as individuals and groups what marriage means and the infinity of possible ways of structuring a family.

    If you give the state the power to recognize marriages, you’re allowing the state to define what kinds of families can exist. Even if we allow same-sex marriages, we now are betraying our bias against group marriage, polygamy, temporary marriage, extended family arrangements, and so on.

    Allowing the state to sanction marriage is less freedom for everyone. Marriage belongs to the participants and their community- not the state.

    @Iwood (#48): You’re still harping on the technical aspects of what constitutes a corporation. I agree with your points. But reforming how corporations are recognized is a different debate. I am a corporation, so I don’t have any inherent bias against fictional persons. But their rights and liabilities are improperly managed in our society.

    I think every individual should have legal recognition as at least ten different fictional persons. We have to get past this idea that an individual is a single functional unit- that a person is an atom. Individuals aren’t- they are entirely “dividual”.

  58. berserker73 says:

    Peace, brother.

    (boy, I bet this’ll really piss off GregLondon:)

  59. GregLondon says:

    This is a serious problem. Massachusetts legalized gay marriages a couple years ago, and within a few months, the entire state sank into the Atlantic Ocean.

    We’re losing our coastline!

    What?

  60. GregLondon says:

    berserker73: I’m not any kind of ian or ist or ism or istic or any other suffix.

    Oh sure. No one ever thought the same thoughts as you. No label will fit. No descriptor is sufficient. I’d say you were a self-made man, but even that label falls short. You are, at minimum, two steps ahead of the rest of the population.

    I trust my close family and friends to help me with those things

    Right. Because there is no history of people fighting over inheritance or family members fighting over medical decisions for another member.

    Really, why have any government at all when folks should be able to rely on the good graces of their family and friends. Heck, why even bother paying for the police, when you’ve got family?

    I’m afraid your label is clearly visible. You’re a particular flavor of libertarian. To quote Thatcher: “They are casting their problems at society. And, you know, there’s no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbours.”

  61. doug117 says:

    That the state must sanctify marriages of any sort — gay or straight — is a matter that bothers me.

    It begs the question: what exactly is “marriage”?
    Is it a legal institution? a religious one?

    Is it merely a private arrangement between the couple and their friends and family? I would hope.

  62. GregLondon says:

    Berserker73@123: Peace, brother. boy, I bet this’ll really piss off GregLondon

    Rather than address a single problem I point out (and there were oh so many), you take your ball and go home? Sorry, I’m not pissed off, I’m underwhelmed.

  63. Xopher says:

    berserker73: You are arguing my Type 2. Apparently you would vote for “funny” religions not to get tax breaks, because that would marginally increase your tax burden, even though the Roman Catholic Church gets plenty of tax breaks, just because you’d LIKE to take them away from all churches.

    You are willing to discard others’ equality of rights for your minute personal gain (the tiny difference it might make in your tax burden). That makes you an extremely selfish and heartless person.

    No wonder you’re sure you’ll never be married.

  64. flamingphonebook says:

    @T3knomanser:

    I agree with your premise, but not your conclusion. State-sanctioned marriage is a fundamental right, in the sense that any competent individual may enter into a contract with another competent individual for any purpose, so long as the purpose is legal. If the parties then want to call it “marriage” or “merger” or whatever, that’s purely semantics, and the state has no call to interfere.

    @The discussion at large:

    What I’m most concerned about with gay marriage is the thin end of a wedge. What guarantee do we have that years from now, they will not make performing gay marriages a requirement for any church or group that wants a license to perform weddings? We must protect the rights of homosexuals, but we must also protect the rights of people who hate homosexuals.

  65. berserker73 says:

    Wasn’t a goodbye, was a wish.

  66. noen says:

    The judges who voted for this were all republicans. I have to wonder if this isn’t a ploy to insert the gay marriage controversy into the election. I think they will not succeed because the country has moved on this issue, most people simply don’t care.

  67. SeppTB says:

    Doug117 #6 – Except its not merely a private arrangment between the couple and friends and family. Marriage has legal ramifications, such as taxes, custody of children, visitation and decision making in hospitals, sharing of employer benefits, etc.

    Glad to see that Cali has ruled in such a way. However, they do have a consitutional ammendment up for vote in November that would define marriage as being between a man and a woman, hopefully that vote won’t turn out poorly as it has in so many other states.

  68. Sister Y says:

    #29, a valid criticism but I just didn’t know where to start.

    It seems like he’s saying we should maintain customs of hunter-gatherer societies in order to survive as a society, and that a ban on gay marriage is one. But (a) a ban on same-sex marriage is not exactly a common hunter-gatherer phenomenon that I’ve heard of (treatment of gay folks really varies, and while “female has consort during pregnancy/while children are young” is universal, “marriage” is not), and (b) depending on the society, the same argument could be used to support honor killings, infanticide, the subjugation of women, intertribal wars, and all kinds of lovely things that clearly our society can’t do without, because some “primitives” did them.

  69. doug117 says:

    I suspect that most of what passes as marriage law today originated as a means to control property and inheritance rights. And much of the law was created for certain parties to acquire the actual property. Centuries if not millenia ago.

    Law makers today — even with the best intentions — have this unfortunate legacy to contend with.

    A lot of the discussion on the subject of gay marriage is philosophical in nature and tends to overlook what the marriage laws were designed for [property] and why [greed on the part of the lawmakers].

    A complete overhaul is warranted, but I doubt we’ll ever see it.

  70. codesuidae says:

    50

    “I believe if the idea of generally replacing marriage with individualized civil contracts were to become widespread, stipulations like the two you alluded to [religion and bigotry] would become common, and would be, especially in the second case, detestable.”

    It wouldn’t matter, because the contract would be between the parties of the action, who, presumably , will be religious and/or bigoted regardless of what the law says. The contract between them will not affect others, unless one of the party happens to be one against whom the religious or bigoted viewpoint acts, which, I’d suppose, would be highly unusual.

    Marriage is already contractual (thats why you have to sign a document with witnesses), it’s just governed by legal precedent in areas where the marriage contract is mute. That is why a pre-nup trumps the usual division of property upon divorce (among an unlimited number of other things).

    I kind of like the idea of using corporate law as a model for managing households, but the legal entity representing a party would have to remain a unary relationship. Hm.. Maybe. That actually has some interesting implications if you extend the idea into a augmented reality world.

    A person’s corporate sole could enter into a marriage agreement with another entity where that entity was not a corporate sole, but instead was a corporate facade that had legal authority to enter into binding contracts. That facade would agree to provide certain services, such as appearing to the other party as a single entity with a temporally uniform personality (to a degree that fits within cultural norms), and to take care of other such domestic business as is common in marriages. This meta-mate could in fact be a collection of other people who, through the technology available (augmented reality devices) appear to the other part as a consistent avatar and have access to all the details about what other agents of the meta-mate have done and said. Different agents could handle different aspects of the relationship.

    Might make interesting short fiction. Hmm, I need to go visit oort-cloud.org, I have some writing to do.

  71. Oren Beck says:

    I have been seldom more amused nor disgusted by how this issue makes America look. We will be looked at both as progressive for what California has just done, and equally as barbaric for how much venom this unleashes. DO note that I have expressed which showing was amusing or produced disgust.

    As an exercise in how our world and our lives are affected by these rhetoric battles- Ask yourself what would happen if you declared yourself openly for or against ANY equally divisive issue?

    As in how family,friends,or -use your imagination- will react hearing that YOUR opinion is or is not shared. When we reach a day where free speech means what it says and says what it means then we can feel humanity has grown up a bit.

    And yes- NONE of this is my declaring anything other than honesty needing to be accepted.

  72. t3knomanser says:

    @flamingphonebook: Except marriage isn’t treated as a contract. Some of the aspects of marriage is handled like a contract, some aspects are handled like a corporation, and some have no analog anywhere else in the law.

    The most important difference is that the marriage contract is actually among three parties- the participants and the state. The state grants rewards based on the conditions of the contract. Because it has the power to grant rewards (for example, tax breaks), it retains some power to dictate the conditions.

    Don’t you see how that’s a double edged sword? If the state has the power to grant tax benefits to married people, it has a vested interest in controlling the institution of marriage.

    In contrast, in a “household corporation”, there would be no special tax benefits from the state. The state’s only role in the arrangement is to adjudicate disputes between members of the corporation and in the interaction of the corporation with other entities.

  73. anharmyenone says:

    @t3knomanser (#51):
    “I think every individual should have legal recognition as at least ten different fictional persons. We have to get past this idea that an individual is a single functional unit- that a person is an atom. Individuals aren’t- they are entirely “dividual”.”

    Could you elaborate on that? Why should there be ten different fictional persons? What would they be and what purpose would they serve?

  74. Lexica says:

    What guarantee do we have that years from now, they will not make performing gay marriages a requirement for any church or group that wants a license to perform weddings?

    The same guarantee that meant the local Catholic church wasn’t obligated to perform the marriage when my husband and I got married. It’s a private religious organization, not the state government, and we’re not members of the congregation. They’re allowed to say “no, we won’t perform your marriage.”

    Now, if the Justice of the Peace or the Country Registrar had refused, that would have been a problem. They’re not a private religious organization, they’re the government. They don’t get to say “you’re not a member of the congregation.”

  75. Sister Y says:

    @#50 Me – in some states, you actually have to prove INFERTILITY for certian marriages to be legally valid (cousin marriages in Illinois, for example, last I checked). Fertility is no longer key to marriage in many places.

  76. Antinous says:

    What I’m most concerned about with gay marriage is the thin end of a wedge.

    And another spurious argument. Next the government will be forcing people to officiate at interracial marriages and let Jews into country clubs. Oh, the humanity.

  77. Ari B. says:

    Awesome. I’m from Massachusetts, my wife’s Canadian, and neither MA nor Canada have managed to sink into the ocean since gay marriage was legalized in either place. I’m pretty sure California’s safe on that front unless the San Andreas gets cranky. :-)

  78. Anonymous says:

    i am so happy that california is doing this. it is a great thing. now all we need is the rest of our country to do the same. what’s the big deal? i honestly do not understand why americans have such a problem with gays/lesbians. this is a problem that HAS to be fixed.
    and only us as a country can do it. not just a handful. everyone needs to do a part.

  79. Antinous says:

    Me @ #50,

    If your comment requires a disclaimer begging people to be nice to you, maybe it’s time for a long look in the mirror. Either take the heat for your opinions or put a sock in it.

  80. shawnhcorey says:

    Sigh.

    There goes our tourism. If Nevada ever passes a similar law, we’ll have to go back to living in igloos and eating whale blubber -_o

    Signed,
    One Irritated Canadian

  81. t3knomanser says:

    codesuidae: Actually, one of my reasons for advocating household corporations is that they’re more adaptable in the future.

    Marriage defines a specific kind of relationship. The push for same-sex marriage is merely extending that definition slightly. This doesn’t address the future needs of society at all.

    Your sci-fi example is a good one, but we can illustrate the need for this arrangement without getting quite so esoteric. Think of the extended family- a venerable tradition that has no protection under current marriage law. Then, of course, the role of group marriages- another venerable tradition that never really caught on in the west (historical Mormons excluded). Same for the small commune.

  82. Jeff says:

    Three cheers for the great state of California. This will allow for equalization and validation of homosexual unions. But, the state constitution can be amended to disallow gay marriage, regardless of what the states supreme court has said.

  83. Xopher says:

    Me 50: “Grounds for divorce” is not the same as “should not be allowed.”

    How about this: if a couple has not reproduced within 3 years of marriage, their marriage is automatically (no court costs) null and void; either may marry someone else; neither may claim the other as dependent; they may not file joint tax returns.

    The idea that marriage is entirely, or even mostly, to provide for children is a particularly stupid one, and even people who claim it don’t really believe it; they’re just trying to find something that makes us dirty queers different. If they really believed it they would be arguing for horrific laws like the one outlined at the top of this post. It’s an argument in my 3. category.

  84. t3knomanser says:

    Destroy marriage. It’s superfluous. The benefits granted by the state sanctioned union are better handled as a subset of corporate law. Individuals should be free to join into household corporations that allow the pooling and sharing of resources.

    The beauty of this is that it is completely non-discriminatory. Two people, six people, any arrangement of genders or even complete asexuals can join into a household corporation. There are no special conditions or requirements, except that the members must be able to enter into legal agreements. Children can be entered into a household corporation by their legal guardians; through adoption law, the corporation could become the legal guardian.

    It’s more feature rich than marriage, more legally and logically consistent, leverages an existing and powerful legal framework, and removes the state from matters of romance, religion, or social organization.

  85. flamingphonebook says:

    @T3knomanser:

    Don’t you see how that’s a double edged sword? If the state has the power to grant tax benefits to married people, it has a vested interest in controlling the institution of marriage.

    The state has the power, but not, in my opinion, the right. The state has the power to start rounding up people and shooting them, but no vested interest in banning bullet-proof vests. (no pun intended)

    @ Lexica:

    The same guarantee that meant the local Catholic church wasn’t obligated to perform the marriage when my husband and I got married. It’s a private religious organization, not the state government, and we’re not members of the congregation. They’re allowed to say “no, we won’t perform your marriage.”

    Correct, but your marriage was not in contention, and no one had a particular cause to argue for you. Anitinous answered you better than I can, depsite sarcasm:

    Next the government will be forcing people to officiate at interracial marriages and let Jews into country clubs. Oh, the humanity.

    This is precisely the case. Unless bigotry, hate, and prejudice are rights defended every bit as much as harmony, tolerance, and love, then the system is unjust.

  86. GregLondon says:

    On a completely different topic altogether, the reason something like an Eliza program fails the Turing Test is because it does not engage in dialogue with someone else. It operates, for the most part, as an open loop, repeating the same statements and questions in various forms, keying off of basic triggers from the questioner, but is unable to address anything on a contextual basis.

    Simple queries, such as “what is your name?” might elicit a specific response that provides a specific name. However, as attempts at conversation deepen, the eliza program cannot mirror the depth of the questioner, and must remain at a level that does not require understanding the context of the conversation.

    Initially, a person might become frustrated with the Eliza program responses, because they believe they are attempting to engage with another human being. But once the human realizes they are only receiving canned responses, it becomes obvious that real conversation is not possible, and that further attempts are a waste of time.

  87. Mindpowered says:

    @ 60

    Not all parts of Canada rely on gay marriage to outweigh the charms of the Blackfly/Horsefly/Shadfly/Deerfly/Mosquito. I think we’ll be able to keep the igloo living and blubber eating east of Gimli yet.

  88. Pyros says:

    I am so excited that this is coming up in the news again! This means that we can reliably count on it being one of the central issues for another presidential election along with flag burning, prayer in schools, and whether the president believes in god and goes to church. Throw in teaching evolution in schools for good measure.

    I mean, these are the important issues upon which the world turns, and these are the issues we really need to be talking about.

  89. Ryan Waddell says:

    One thing not mentioned – there are already activist groups with enough signatures on petitions to get an item added to the ballot in the next election, that will add a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in California. And the Guvernator has come out against the petitions saying that he supports the court’s decision.

  90. t3knomanser says:

    @Xopher: Well, it’s not an entirely stupid one. It depends on the kind of society you’re in. For our society, I agree. For a smaller, more agrarian society, it’s a perfectly reasonable idea.

  91. doug117 says:

    SeppTB #8 — Marriage has legal ramifications, such as taxes, custody of children, visitation and decision making in hospitals, sharing of employer benefits, etc.

    All too true.

  92. IWood says:

    #11:

    I think we have too many artificial persons already.

  93. Antinous says:

    Unless bigotry, hate, and prejudice are rights defended every bit as much as harmony, tolerance, and love, then the system is unjust.

    There is no right to be hateful. You’re playing mental Twister.

  94. Sister Y says:

    Commenters who point out that this isn’t the end of the road have a point – there’s always the possibility of a state constitutional amendment discriminating against same-sex couples in marriage, and married same-sex couples still have no federal rights (you can be married, but you still have to file your federal income taxes as single, for instance – and your social security survivor benefits won’t apply to your spouse if your spouse is of the same sex – it goes on and on).

    But this ruling seems to me to be something deserving of pure celebration.

    A beautiful quotation from Mildred Loving (1939-2008) that I pulled off of Wikipedia:

    I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight, seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.

    Good thing California has a 48-hour waiting period on marriage – otherwise I could see various hetero same-sex friend pairs of mine getting drunk and waking up married and very confused!

  95. Antinous says:

    For a smaller, more agrarian society, it’s a perfectly reasonable idea.

    So, one from history, then.

  96. Modusoperandi says:

    rcanzlovar “MM/FF couples not only don’t breed, but also take breeding stock out of the pool, also not good for the survival of a society in which children do not always grow to adulthood.”
    Huh? Gay couples only raise gay kids? By that logic, hetero couples only raise hetero kids.

    T3KNOMANSER “This comes from a case called Loving v. Virginia…”
    Best name for a court case ever!

    I see this as a slippery slope. First, they want the right to get married. Next, they’ll want the right to get divorced! When will it end?(/tongue in cheek)

  97. flamingphonebook says:

    There is no right to be hateful. You’re playing mental Twister.

    Then there’s no right to free thought, therefore no right to free speech, a free press, or freedom to petition the government. If there is no right to be hateful, there are no rights.

  98. berserker73 says:

    I just don’t want to pay for people to play house, whether they’re gay or straight. Married people get tax and benefit breaks that I don’t, which means I pay a little extra tax to make up for what they don’t pay, which means I’m paying for their lifestyle. I’d vote down tax and benefit breaks for all married folks if I could. Nothing personal, I just don’t want my tax dollars to support other able-bodied adults who are perfectly capable of supporting themselves.

    Maybe I’m being naive, but I think practical concerns like mine are more to blame for the slow spread of gay marriage rights than bigotry. I think most voters are quite a bit more practical and less emotional in our voting habits than most politicians and media types give us credit for.

  99. Mike Estee says:

    Noen #7: It’s possible that they’re pressing the issue now as a way to energize their base for the constitutional amendment in November. That’s the cynical view.

    On the other hand, judges frequently deviate from the party line, as they’re less subject to the whims of election cycles and the public pandering that comes with it. It’s also possible to take it at face value: that they decided that separate-but-equal was as ridiculous for blacks then as it is for gays now. (Makes you wonder who’ll get picked on next once this fades into history…)

    Personally, I’d like to see the whole institution of marriage abolished and replaced with civil unions. Let’s leave marriage where it belongs: with the church(s).

  100. rcanzlovar says:

    This isn’t gonna be a very popular opinion, but I’m gonna put it out there anyways since every comment I’ve seen is in favor of homosexual marriage. I would call the following the “founding fathers” POV on marriage (Antonin Scalia would be proud):

    “Authority” meddling in who marries who goes back, I believe, to the very earliest of “civilization”, when humans banded together for mutual protection from the lions, wolves, etc, not to mention the other humans. Societies have always had *some* kinds of restrictions on sexuality because how it was practiced affected the kind of society that would emerge in the next generation. (I would point folks who wish to read more about this to Robert Anton WIlson’s “Ishtar Rising”) Bottom line is that *every* society has some kind of rules about sexuality and making children.

    Raising kids is really hard work, yet it is vitally important to the community that it is done “right”, so a couple who has made the commitment to raise a child (important to the society as a potential future soldier or worker bee) is afforded some privileges that aren’t afforded to those who have not made the same commitment. These privileges could include better housing, more food, respect from the community, etc. Disease and other dangers made it pretty important that breeding happen, and frequently.

    This is not to say that a homosexual couple isn’t going to raise kids, but as a rule, MM or FF couples don’t breed without going outside the dyad for some assistance, but that goes against the control of sexuality that societies seem to need. When making gross generalizations (which is what laws are all about), MF couples breed, MM/FF couples not only don’t breed, but also take breeding stock out of the pool, also not good for the survival of a society in which children do not always grow to adulthood.

    A man and a woman don’t have to plan to have a child, that part usually happens just naturally, so one could usually make an assumption that if a man and a woman decide to marry (before they have kids) then society can pretty safely pre-emptively grant some or all of those privileges on the assumption that those future potential soldiere et al will soon come. Yes, some couples marry with no intention of procreating, but I’d say that is a relatively modern innovation.

    These traditions got wrapped up in religion because part of the role of religion is to tell the next generation the proper way to behave as a person in the eyes of “god”, which is really an embodiment of The Society. Remember, I’m talking really primitive times, there was no difference between the authorities and god, the authorities referred to god for the source of their power.

    Nearly everything above is predicated on “primitive” society. We like to think that we’re more advanced than all that, but because all of these are wrapped up in religion, and we’re often given our religion before we have any real say over it, many folks just believe “in their gut” that that is how it *is*.

    Of course, we dont have to worry so much about lions and tigers and cholera, so it’s no longer as important that every dyad produce children. People get married “for love” (because that’s the only acceptable circumstance for them to shag on a regular basis) with no intention of procreating. No worries, there are others having kids and with the advances of medicine and whatnot, there isn’t so much pressure on everyone since nearly all the kids survive nowadays. Yet the privileges afforded to married couples still remain as a vestige of that previous time.

    If one looked at relationships today without any regard for the historical underpinnings of the whole institution, it seems unfair because we’ve put the carriage before the horse – we think that the most important part of the marriage thing is that the two people love each other, and on that basis homosexual marriage makes just as much sense as heterosexual marriage.

    So that’s how we got here: we grew out of *needing* to control every marriage because they don’t all lead to babies, yet we’re in the habit of controlling just this very thing. Now I’m gonna get *really* weird.

    Just who made up those mores in the first place? Did some really smart humans sit down and make up some rules early on? were they developed over time? or were those rules handed over to us? huh? handed over from where?

    Well some would say “God”, but that’s stepping into some deep quicksand. I prefer to refer to “alien anthropologists”, beings who could have been around at the beginning guiding us. Think “2001, A Space Odyssey”, if you will, but I prefer to think in terms of Gurdjieff’s “Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson”. If we humans are alone, with no advanced guidance, then homosexual marriage will eventually win the day if humans want it. If, on the other hand, these rules were handed down by those who would still consider us “primitive” for whatever reasons they have, then I would expect homosexual marriage to ultimately fail.

    I for one am watching with fascination to see how this plays out.

  101. Antinous says:

    On a personal note, I have some friends who have been together for ten years. I know that one of them would love to get married. The other one is a huge commitment-phobe. I wonder if they’ll end up breaking up because of this. Anyone out there feeling pressured to get married by this decision?

  102. IWood says:

    t3knomanser @ #51:

    We have to get past this idea that an individual is a single functional unit- that a person is an atom.

    Why?

  103. Antinous says:

    If there is no right to be hateful, there are no rights.

    I find that argument more histrionic than rational.

  104. Sister Y says:

    #84 Berserker73 – interesting – your position seems to be that married people take valuable tax deductions, which increases the proportional tax burden of single people. You’re saying that’s a concern that might be responsible for the slow spread of gay marriage rights. But (a) that’s incredibly selfish – someone taking that position would also have no problem voting down interracial marriage, just to save himself a few bucks at the expense of equal rights, and (b) that proposes that people voting down gay marriage bans just don’t support marriage – that’s hard to believe, given the popularity of initiatives to promote marriage among hetero parents.

    Another thing to consider here is that for poor working people with children, in many cases there is a marriage penalty, in that couples may be eligible for much less in the way of Earned Income Tax Credit if they get married as opposed to if they stay single.

  105. berserker73 says:

    must…resist…urge to…respond…to personal attacks…with…more…of…same…

    I do trust many of my family and friends more than I trust generic government regulations when it comes to personal matters. I realize that not everyone has that luxury, and I’m pretty much always willing to help someone who asks me for it on a personal level.

    Xopher, I don’t want to discard equality of rights. Like I said back in #100, albeit somewhat sarcastically, I’d like to bring everyone’s rights to the same level no matter what group they belong to. And I NEVER said that I thought I’d never marry. Don’t know where you got that one. Actually, at this point, I’m pretty convinced of the opposite. What other kinds of things do you hear me saying in your own head?

    Oops, sorry, kind of gave in to my urges there…

  106. Sister Y says:

    Rcanzlovar, I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m guessing you haven’t read much anthropology about “primitive” (hunter-gatherer) societies?

  107. t3knomanser says:

    @IWood: Too many? I think we have too few. I could do with a few extra fictional identities for various purposes.

  108. Antinous says:

    your position seems to be that married people take valuable tax deductions, which increases the proportional tax burden of single people.

    I kind of thought the same thing. If you understand the tax system, please explain it, because I just glaze over when trying to comprehend it.

  109. berserker73 says:

    Sister Y, I’m definitely not opposed to marriage. Like I said, I’m just opposed to paying more taxes than people who are just as capable of supporting themselves as I am. Yeah, I know that’s just how the game is played. But I don’t like it when people try to cheat me at cards or basketball, either. I wish I could vote down uneven tax breaks without voting against marriage itself, but so far I haven’t seen that option on a ballot. Politicians are way too devious to ever give us a choice that clear-cut. Anyway, I don’t feel too selfish because I figure people get at least as much emotional fulfillment from a religious or personal marriage ceremony as from a state-recognized one.

  110. Xopher says:

    Berserker73 110: At 96, you said “Taxes and benefits are the ONLY reasons I have to vote against gay marriage. If it weren’t for those, I wouldn’t be able to justify my vote to myself.”

    That pretty strongly implies that you CAN justify your vote against gay marriage on the grounds of taxes and benefits. You are arguing that your right to pay (slightly, possibly) lower taxes outweighs my right to marry. That IS bigotry. Of course you don’t want to admit that it is, because you don’t want to think of yourself as a bigot. Too bad on that one.

    And it was your post at 84 that made me think you didn’t expect to be married. Since you displayed a mind-boggling degree of heartless selfishness in 96, I didn’t think it was likely you’d be willing to “vote down tax and benefit breaks” you thought you might someday enjoy yourself.

    Perhaps you’re not as single-mindedly selfish as you’ve been portraying yourself here. I can’t imagine how anyone would want to marry someone who was, but then George W Bush is married, and he’s a worse person than you (or even than you seem to be here).

  111. Xopher says:

    T3knomanser, we were discussing our society, right? Perhaps I should have said “The idea that marriage in our society is entirely…” but since we’re talking about yesterday’s California ruling I thought that was assumed.

    But speaking of early agrarian societies: in big chunks (time and space both) of medieval Europe, marriage only happened when significant property was involved, and that meant mostly among the nobility. Peasants did no more than “jump the broom” at most.

    Also, the modern marriage ceremony owes its origin to rituals for blessing “special friendships” between people of the same sex, not from the premodern wedding, which was strictly a property transaction (i.e., one piece of property, the bride, was transferred from her father’s family to the groom’s father’s family, and generally some other property went the other way).

    This reminds me of the debate over the “traditional” Pledge of Allegiance. The traditional Pledge does not contain the words ‘under God’, which were added in the we-have-to-show-we’re-not-Godless-commies McCarthy era.

    Lesson: don’t talk about the past if you’re just assuming it’s all what you’re used to. The nuclear family is an invention of the 20th Century, and a bad one.

  112. GregLondon says:

    T3knomanser@40: State-sanctioned marriage is not a fundamental right. …. regardless of what SCOTUS says.

    BWHAAHAHAAHAHAHA!

    You are hilarious, man.

    What you’re saying, in short, is it isn’t a fundamental right, because you don’t want it to be. You know, because what SCOTUS says shouldn’t matter.

    Oh, please, oh please oh please oh please, try to explain your way out of this, instead of saying something like “I made a mistake” or “I am bringing my personal bias into the conversation” or “this is a tinfoil hat theory of my own making”. I could use the entertainment. Fessing up to being wrong is so boring. Definitely, run with it.

    Run Forest Run.

  113. Sister Y says:

    I actually have no problem with the position that nobody should get special tax treatment just because they’re in a relationship. If that’s your position, I think it’s a valid one, and one I’ve heard expressed by lesbian feminists. I just think it should apply across the board or not at all.

    As for taxes. Sometimes there’s a marriage benefit, sometimes there’s a marriage penalty. The biggest marriage benefit is available when one spouse works and earns a lot of money, and the other doesn’t work or doesn’t earn much money. Generally, the more money you make, the higher percentage of it you pay in taxes. And a tax deduction is only valuable if you have income to deduct it from.

    So if you have a couple where one makes $60,000 a year and one stays home and paints flowers, if they’re not married, the worker pays a huge amount in taxes and only gets to take his own deduction, whereas if they’re married, the income gets averaged between them so the percentage paid goes down (to the $30,000 a year single person tax bracket) and they get to take the deductions for both of them. It can mean thousands of dollars saved per year, in that kind of situation.

    The marriage penalty situation might occur for a poor couple who both work and have children, say two kids each. If they stay single, they get a high amount of Earned Income Tax Credit (a tax rebate). But the amount paid to a married couple with four children is way less than twice the amount paid to a single person with two children. Again, it can be thousands of dollars per year.

    Oh, another tax-related marriage benefit is that when you die, you can transfer your entire estate to your spouse free from estate taxes. But only your spouse – nobody else. And during their lives, spouses can transfer property between each other with no tax consequences on the transfer.

    There are other legal marriage benefits and penalties, but those are the major tax ones. California’s domestic partnership law actually has a really neat way of dealing with a particular marriage penalty – they let hetero couples, where one is over age 62 and receiving Social Security survivor benefits (from a deceased spouse), form a domestic partnership just like same-sex couples, to have inheritance rights and other marriage benefits, but also avoid having their Social Security survivor benefits cut off, as they would be if the surviving spouse remarried. Take that, federal government!

  114. GregLondon says:

    t3knomanser@55 If the state has the power to grant tax benefits to married people, it has a vested interest in controlling the institution of marriage.

    OH NOES! A Slippery Slope argument! Offered as as conditional statement!

    If there’s one thing I’ve noticed, it’s how much the government is motivated to tyrannize the institution of marriage because of what taxes they get from it.

    (cough)crap(cough)

  115. Jeff says:

    Antinous, do I feel any presure to get married? If I lived in CA I might. And I probably would just for the hell of it. I’ve been living as if married for a long time. I never needed official validation with regard to my relationship. 20 years. I was a child bride.

  116. Antinous says:

    There are two issued being discussed. Whether equal rights area good idea. Whether state-sponsored marriage is a good idea.

    I support the household corporation model because it could be used by any number of people (i.e. more than two) who might be a ‘couple’, parent and adult child(ren), siblings, friends, whatever. It would create equal rights for the largest number of people.

    I also support me having the same rights that the most privileged member of my society currently enjoys. That means legalizing gay marriage. Woe to those who try to stop me.

  117. berserker73 says:

    The only id-related problem I have with any marriage is when there’s a female involved, and she’s hot, and I’m jealous. I’ll probably outgrow that one. But I kinda hope not.

  118. sonny p fontaine says:

    wouldn’t it make much more sense to fight for government to disassociate itself from oversight of marriage? I know the official answer as well as the logistical factors and the industries created around them. my question is rhetorical of course. It seems to me that the “legalities of the institution of marriage” are it’s own downfall.

  119. sonny p fontaine says:

    anita bryant continues her grave spin. I know, i know, but she’s dead to me. maybe she’s to blame for orange juice giving me hives.

  120. Antiglobalism says:

    Homosexuals deserve their own community.

  121. JSG says:

    I really think the government should get the hell out of peoples private lives. If two people wish to get married, then go to a church that allows it, if two, (what is the word of the week, gay, homosexual?), people wish to get married, go to the Episcopalian church. If two, (what’s the word of the week, straight, heterosexual?) people whom happen to believe that homosexuality is a sin can go to the Catholic church.

  122. Evil Jim says:

    That’s certainly good news. Here in Wisconsin they recently banned same-sex marriage. Very stupid & pointless when you note that same-sex marriages weren’t even recognized in the first place. That’s just adding insult to injury. What will they ban next, stealing? That’s already illegal too.

    /rant

  123. berserker73 says:

    Xopher, you said “…you CAN justify your vote against gay marriage on the grounds of taxes and benefits.” Yes, that’s pretty much what I said in my first post on this thread. ???? Maybe you didn’t pick up that I see the condition of marriage and state-recognized matrimonies as two entirely different things. I have absolutely no bad feelings at all about people wanting to share their lives with whoever they chose (disregarding #90). I just think the government should have as little to do with that as possible. “Separation of feelings and state” I guess you’d call it.

    I think my original position on this thread is a lot more prosaic than you’re thinking. I just don’t like seeing people who are just as able to support themselves as I am get free breaks that I can’t ONLY because they have a legally recognized marriage.

    I don’t see myself as heartless at all. Just the opposite, actually, because I don’t want government regulations, which I consider to be mainly the generic will of strangers, to have anything to do with my personal feelings, or anyone else’s. I guess that does make me selfish, though.

    I would vote against an unfair law that benefited me only because of my marital status, skin color, religion, etc. In a heartbeat.

    Maybe our disconnect is just in the methods we prefer. I’d like to reach equality by getting rid of regulatory layers, and it seems you’d like to reach the same goal by making regulations apply to more people.

    Maybe I’m just not being eloquent enough. Go read Takuan’s post. He pretty much summed up my feelings on actual marriage better than I ever could.

    I just realized, you might just be using my posts to sound off against true bigots that you know who aren’t here. If so, that’s cool.

  124. codesuidae says:

    State Marriage != Religious Marriage.

    Rename the state version to ‘Civil Union’ and require it to be an explicit contract outlining exactly what it covers.

    Religious ideas of Marriage should neither be dictated by the state, nor protected by it, and state-recognized unions should be for legal purposes (division of property, taxation, probate, etc) and not be circumscribed by religious ideas of what marriage is.

    Simple solution that the Christians will hate, because they think that there is only One True Way. Good thing judges can see beyond that.

  125. t3knomanser says:

    codesuidae: The issue is that the State can make non-religious cases for forbidding same sex marriage.

    1) Marriage exists to produce, provide for, and raise children.
    2) The future of the State rests upon the production and proper training/indoctrination of children.
    3) Ergo, the state has the power and responsibility to define marriage as between a man and woman, with the anticipation that most such couples will provide children for the state.

    This, of course, offers an Achilles’s heel- that definition should allow polygamy. Encourage it, in point of fact. One male can impregnate many women. There is perhaps an argument that they cannot properly rear those children, but group marriage answers that objection.

  126. Antinous says:

    wouldn’t it make much more sense to fight for government to disassociate itself from oversight of marriage?

    Baby steps. That’s 100 years down the line. 50 years to get society on board and 50 years for gay men to get bored with planning weddings.

  127. sonny p fontaine says:

    “50 years for gay men to get bored with planning weddings”
    quite a conservative time frame there ANTINOUS

  128. LibertyVini says:

    Doug is right on, and Sepptb is begging the question – if marriage is (as is proper) a private matter of free association and freedom of contract, then government has no role, none – not in any capacity relating two the adults involved. A society that had free association, freedom of contract, and full property rights would recognize any state-sanctioned union for the slavery to the state that it is, and would quickly shift to private marriage administered through spiritual or other communities. I hasten to add that several unfortunate young men in my former employ have gotten their testicles caught up in the gears of the state (family court) without benefit of marriage at all. The moral argument for any kind of state-recognized union is null on its face, the moral arguments against it plain and righteous, unless you are a statist.

  129. GregLondon says:

    Berserker73@114: Maybe our disconnect is just in the methods we prefer. I’d like to reach equality by getting rid of regulatory layers, and it seems you’d like to reach the same goal by making regulations apply to more people.

    Oh, stop telling me fairy tales about you as the great hero trying to slay some terrible inequality dragon. It’s just silly.

    You’re not fighting for equality. You’re acting (or proposing to take action) that is indistinguishable from the action of a bigot. Your “intent” of fighting for equality is just a nice cover story.

    You have consistently refused to acknowledge two basic and fundamental facts in your story: (1), Marriage as a legal concept isn’t going away for a long, long time. (2) Marriage isn’t going away because it involves a lot more than tax advanges, and all those things it invovles, you flatly refuse to acknowledge.

    Because of (1) it isn’t going away, you opposing gay marriage as an attack against all marriage makes your reasoning for your opposition to be clearly based in non-reality.

    And because of (2) there are other benefits beyond tax advantages, you citing tax advantages as if it were the sole reason for the existence of marriage as a legal construct, and you ignoring all the other reasons that marriage exists as a legal entity, flags your arguments as based even further in non-reality.

    What you are actually proposing to take action on and have an effect on is to oppose equality in marriage and to support bigotry in the law, and your stated incentive for doing this is because it will personally benefit your tax load.

    In the end, your arguments boil down to saying over and over again that there is no such thing as society. And it becomes tinfoil hattery to anyone who can see society actually does exist.

    Oh, did you answer my bit about Thatcher, btw? Are you a libertarian? Who did you vote for in the last few elections? Ever vote for a third party candidate in a presidential election in the US?

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