Tuesday, June 28, 2011


...I find myself amused by the reaction to the state of New York recognizing gay marriage; while predictable, it's also instructive. Most people -- yes, even anarcho-capitalists and libertarians -- go with what they're comfortable with rather than what's Constitutional or logical.

This includes the beneficiaries of the new law, seen celebrating in the streets of NYC as though WW II had just ended.* It's pretty difficult to believe that city was especially hostile turf -- or that accepting same-sex marriage applications (and presumably recognizing such unions from the other states and nations that perform them) has made the population of NY and NYC any more accepting than it was before the law passed. Given the general state of heterosexual marriage (vs. living together or friends-with-benefits relationships and in light of the divorce rate), it's difficult to see this as more than incremental. It was nice to see that nobody -- police or celebrant -- tried to replay the Stonewall Riots.

The "it's what I'm used to" crowd also includes the same forces, pro and anti, that argue for or against state's rights on, say, firearms and the opposite way on this issue. Pick a side and stick with it!

Indiana has a law against such marriages; I don't approve of the State's meddling in wedlock (other than treating it the same as any other sort of contract) but the law was passed by the Legislature fair and square and when the time comes, it can be removed just as Jim Crow and eugenics laws were. On the other hand, there's a push on to make same-sex marriages even illegaler, by putting it in the State constitution. This makes it a lot more difficult to adjust and ought to be repugnant to anyone with half a brain; using the State constitution to label any group of law-abiding citizens as having fewer rights than others is and has always been a bad idea.

My favorite bit of paranoia is the assertion that this is all a plot to destroy the churches. In New York (and elsewhere), they specifically exempted churches from being required to solemnize unions at odds with their beliefs; but this has been the fact for as long as the United States have existed. There are a good many religions that won't even marry a couple of their own oppositely-sexed parishioners unless the arrangement's been approved by one of their clerics and as far as the courts are concerned, that's hunky-dory; they can always get someone else to do the job. (Know who can marry you in Indiana? --Anyone[2] you think is qualified; the State issues you the license and as long as it comes back with signatures on it, the deed is done.) --But say it is a plot: cui bono? There's some cult of Cybele lurking in the wings to take over? (Good luck with that. Chick tracts notwithstanding, most people stay with the faith of their parents or that of their spouse).

Now, if New York would only put the same kind of effort into reforming their firearms law. Hey, I know -- they could start with that "full faith and credence" clause and recognize my License To Carry Handgun the same way they'll recognize the marriage of a gay couple from Iowa or New Hampshire.

...I'm waiting....
1. Although the Marylin Monroe impersonator who was front-and-center in one network's footage had somehow not managed to find a sailor to smooch. I guess that calls for a nurse's uniform, really.

2. Any legal adult, that is.


North said...

I wish this whole country were in a state that it could move on to more important things.

Ed Rasimus said...

When 2/3 of the children are born out of wedlock, when a similar percentage of marriages end in divorce, when living together is the more common format and single-parent homes are the exception, the rant that "gay marriage" is going to destroy the foundations of society as we know it rings conspicuously hollow.

I've often wondered how two same-gender people living together with or without a state contract is going to destroy my marriage.

Drang said...

And now a bunch more gay people can pay the marriage penalty come tax time! Hooray!

og said...

U r so rite! I are just a ignernt redneck homophobe! who bleves in stupid conspiracy theeries!!

Only not so much.

be amused. laugh your ass of at me, I'm thrilled to bring laughter to your life.

And wait.

Roberta X said...

Oh, Og -- you know I don't think you're an ignorant redneck. I do think we've got an excellent six or seven-state laboratory in which to find out.

And I think the various Christian sects have a far bigger challenge with apathy and attrition than they do from Teh Ghey. Churches are, after all, voluntary associations; they can compel no one who doesn't consent to it. In this country, there's very little patience with the gummint compelling churches, either.

John A said...

Same-sex marriage? Fine with me.

But something bothers me about one (well, several, but the others are me - not policy) aspect. It is often mentioned that it confers tax advantages. I must have missed the memo, I can remember when the discussion was that retired people were "shacking up" even if they would like to be married because of a marriage tax/benefits penalty.

The State license is not about religious marriage or recognition of same, and most religions return the favor - very few would agree that anyone in my family has ever been married. I do not expect this to change, certainly not for the State forcing clerics to perform religious marriage ceremonies in cases forbidden by the religion in question. Well, barring a Taliban or similar organisation (Fred Phelps?) somehow taking over. But the State even now will not allow certain religious ceremonies - if your religion requires a human sacrifice as part of the ceremony, do not expect the State to agree and license it.

And yes, almost anyone can perform the ceremony. Heck, if you are extremist PETA types you can go into the woods and then claim a squirrel performed the ceremony. But again, do not expect the State to agree. OTOH, you can fly in the Pope to perform the ceremony - but the State (Rhode Island, doubtless most others) will not accept his signature on the State certificate/license.

Roberta X said...

John, it helps in inheritance taxes, I'm told.

I dunno. I still figure everyone who wants should have a shot at a gut-wrenching, impoverishing divorce.

Justthisguy said...

Heh. You said "the United States _have_ existed." You are my sister from another mother! Plural, folks, plural States!

The Constitution is in agreement with the Church, that things should be settled at the lowest possible leve. I believe it's called the Principle of Subsidiarity.

Justthisguy said...

Umm, "lowest possible LEVEL." Sorry about that, Chief.