Once again I ask and have yet to be answered, where in the federal or state constituion [sic] does it protect this "right of marriage"?
In the spirit of open and civil discourse could somone [sic] PLEASE tell me in polite and rational terms without the emotion and invective what exactly the goal of gay marriage is trying to achieve (and not the vagaries of "we want to be just like everyone else"), is it property rights, is it tax benefit, is it matching rings? What is the benefit of the word "marriage" opposed to the word "civil union" that seems to be at stake here?
- Miles Bennell
This is an appropriately titled editorial. The labeling of another individual as an "idiotic asshole", or "corpulant [sic] poisonous toad" will go a long way to mending any perceived differences of viewpoint concerning either the gay rights issues or the fact that Chris Patton is an atheist.
I have yet to see an editorial by Chris that wasn't permeated with some sort of name calling or hate filled posturing. Must be really fun to hang with him around this time of year, with all this religious stuff being flaunted everywhere.
Merry Christmas Chris!
Answering Miles, I have never asserted that any constitution protects a "right of marriage." If legislators wanted to, they could pass laws ending the government issuance of marriage licenses altogether. The problem with allowing opposite-sex couples to marry while prohibiting same-sex couples from doing the same is that it violates the right to equal protection under the law. The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees that right in all 50 states.
Although the U.S. Supreme Court's case law on equal protection issues is quite complicated, I would argue that denying same-sex couples the same rights afforded to opposite-sex couples fails to even live up to a rational basis standard of review if that standard is taken seriously. There just aren't any legitimate reasons for doing so. Satisfying the demands of particular religious groups is not a permissible justification, as that would violate the First Amendment's prohibition on government establishment of religion. In any case, even if such differential treatment is found to satisfy the watered-down rational basis standard, the U.S. Supreme Court has been gradually moving in the direction of applying a higher level of scrutiny in cases involving discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Using a higher level of scrutiny is certainly justified in the case of sexual orientation, just as it is with regard to race and sex. All of those categories have been used historically to discriminate against vulnerable groups of people.
The goal is not "to be just like everyone else." Being gay means recognizing that at least in terms of one's sexuality, one is not like everyone else. Gays are a small and distinct minority. However, the goal is to be treated equally under the law. That's only fair. And it's also the only truly constitutional option.
Purely as a matter of pragmatism, I think civil unions are better than nothing. If they're all we can achieve right now, then so be it. I've made this clear in the past. However, we know from experience that separate but equal is never truly equal. New Jersey officials have determined this to be the case in that state.
The Star-Ledger has reported:
New Jersey should enact a law allowing gay marriage and waste no time passing it because the state's civil unions law fails to adequately protect same-sex couples, a report to be released today concludes.
The final report of the New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission says it gathered "overwhelming evidence" that the civil union law not only fails to provide the same protections as marriage, it also has created economic, medical and emotional hardships for gay couples.
The commission concluded that denying same-sex couples the right to marry is as unjust as government imposing racial segregation laws against African-Americans.
So which rights is this really about? All of them, obviously. It's just not acceptable to deny same-sex couples any of the legal rights afforded to opposite-sex couples.
Finally, regarding what "Lookin4fun" had to say, I'd suggest that he or she go to the DI's main site and search for "Christopher Patton"--or just click here. I've written over 100 articles in which I didn't call anyone any names. But that doesn't mean I don't think I'm justified in occasionally doing so. I've even written about why I think it's sometimes necessary--click here to check it out.