Monday, March 9, 2009

Gay Marriage Debate

A great article came out on CNN.com that talked about the use of the economy in the same-sex marriage debate. I'll say it again: using the economy as an actual reason to pass gay marriage is secondary to the justice debate. More importantly, I don't think it's all that true. Gay marriage can certainly add some cash to the economy, especially in the early states, but not enough to completely alter it.

But I'm sure the florists/etc. are more than happy to get the business.

It even highlights a bit from State Sen. Paul Koering (R-MN), the openly gay politician who will not be voting for that state's equal marriage bill:
Koering says that, politically, it takes the focus away from the budget and the people who have lost their jobs, homes, or both and compares it to asking for a new football stadium in this economy when the old one is still usable.

"I know that's not a good analogy [and] the gay community is saying it's equal rights and it's the right thing to do, and I understand that. But you have to understand how politics ... works," Koering says. "The electorate will say, 'My goodness ... What's wrong with these people? Why are they talking about this issue (gay marriage) now?'"

Koering also feels the constituents he represents -- a large number of whom are conservative traditionalists -- don't want him to support the legislation.

"Do I want people to have equal rights? Of course I do. Do I think that there will be gay marriage down the road? I think there eventually will. I know that there are some people that ... want it right now. Well, that's not the way things work."

Koering thinks the state on the whole is not ready to accept same-sex marriage and that before he can support it, he'd have to see that others are more willing to approve.

"I think if the gay community really wants to change things they need to go out and change the hearts and minds of people," Koering says, adding that he doesn't see himself as a gay rights "activist."

He also says that, personally, he isn't sure how he feels about the issue.

"This is a tough issue that people are trying to wrestle with and they're trying to accept it, and I'm even trying to wrestle with it myself."

"Just because I'm gay that doesn't mean I have to be for gay marriage."
Yea, I don't buy it.

In addition, another article came out on the ChicagoTribune.com site that reinforces an opinion of mine -- but how does it make me feel that the author is rather nasty about it?
And for what end? Not so that gays can have the full package of rights and duties that go with the institution of matrimony. They already have those—insofar as the state of California can provide them—thanks to a domestic partnership law that duplicates everything about marriage except the name. This is not a fight over fundamental equality. It's a fight over nomenclature.

On Thursday, the fight went back to the Supreme Court in San Francisco, where state Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown insisted that the people of California, who created the constitution, don't have the power to change it as they tried to do this time. He argued that it protects pre-existing inalienable rights, including the right to marry, and that an inalienable right "cannot be taken away by a popular vote."

But inalienable rights are empty concepts without legal protection—which in this case they enjoy only because of a constitution approved by the people. If those people had wanted to deny themselves the power to repeal rights protected by the state constitution, they could have included a provision to do that. They didn't.
Now, before you get all into a huff about it -- the part I agree with comes much later, that we shouldn't overturn Prop 8 via the Supreme Court, but we should do it in 2010 with a vote.

Why? Because I'm concerned about Roe v. Wade syndrome. That is, 20 years from now, we'll have conservatives saying judges undermined the will of the people and didn't let the whole country decide like it is supposed to -- slowly, with moderate gains, until there is near unanimity.
That said, interracial marriage would have never made it through a vote.

Oh, and the census will not be counting gay and lesbian marriages as marriages at all. Couples in Connecticut and Massachusetts will have to mark "unmarried partner" because of the 1996 Federal Defense of Marriage Act.

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