Thursday, June 27, 2013

DOMA Demise

     Good -- and, as Sebastian notes, bad, too, because they went and invented some more specialness to do it -- the Supremes have, at least, kinda decided the Feds haven't got any excuse to go regulating marriage.

     IMO, any time government gets told "hands off!" that's a good thing.

     It is also (and also IMO) a good thing if this drives a wedge between the religious ceremony/bond of marriage and the civil contract called marriage.  They're not the same. Americans are a bit axle-wrapped about it, as we inherited the institution from a nation with a State Church; it wasn't much noticed until some states of the union decided they'd better keep couples of differing "races" from marrying, and while they were at it, people too closely related -- and, in many U. S. states, "imbeciles," too.

     Is that a legitimate interest of the State, or of a state?  I'm not seeing it.  Churches, sure, religions have all kinds of rules about who can, can't and must get wedlocked, and they don't all jibe with one another, either, which is fine, since (at least in the U.S.) their authority extends only to the adherents of their religion.

     The usual worrywarts have come out of the woodwork, down from their pulpits and out from under rocks, asking--
     "What's to stop cousins and siblings from marrying, then?"  --Hell, I dunno.  "Decorum and good taste" is probably out and if they lack socially-normal ingrained abhorrence of inbreeding,* they probably are reinforcing recessives already.  So the question is really about your right to not be squicked by social deviates; you're fine if they've got to sneak around.
     "What's to stop polygamous marriages?  Group marriages?"  Bloody-minded prejudice, if you asked the LDS at the right point in history, and that probably motivated by fear of being out-earned and out-bred.  Also, these days we have plenty of TV shows demonstrating the pros and cons of one version of polygamy -- I wouldn't sign up for it on a bet.  But there's no rational basis at all to limit wedlock to only two people.  And we've got lots of divorce lawyers who'd welcome the work. (Man, they'd get fat on it!)
     "How about an adult marrying a minor or horse?" (or "...a chair?" etc.)  Aha!  That, there's a basis to deny: none of those entities can give meaningful consent or enter into a binding contract.

     Somehow, when the Framers, Federalists, anti-Federalists and worried states adopted the First Amendment and the courts applied it, they overlooked marriage.  It's well-past time to separate Church weddings and State-licensed marriage.  Let the religions have their lovely ceremonies and oaths, and let the civil contract stand apart.  Participants pick one or the other or both.

     ...Just think, I haven't even mentioned things like inheritance, income tax (you got your marriage, now you get the IRS marriage penalty: pay up, L/G/B suckers!), the mutual power of attorney and protection in court spouses get that non-officially-espoused partners do not. Sure, homosexual couples can sort of get most (but not all) of that now with the help of an attorney, a lot of spare time and a few thousand bucks; but in the crunch, when one partner is in a coma or whatever, it's just a license to sue, not the nearly-sure thing the legally-married get.

     Now the ongoing debate goes to the states.  Gonna be interesting for awhile.  Gonna be real interesting and probably nobody will like the compromises that spring up.  The base on both sides will be all fired up and the papers and broadcasters will get lots of copy and images.  --Might even get louder than the gun debate, or at least be more of a debate; there's less astroturf, I think.

     (For the few who will continue to maintain It Is Just A Conspiracy By The Gays To Ruin Christianity?  Sure; sure it is, you are so very right, just the same way the Jews run the banks and media, Freemasons run the world, all African-American people are stupid, all Republicans are child-labor-exploiting plutocrats, all Democrats are bloody-handed Stalinists, all Asians are sneaky math geniuses, women conspire to hold men subservient, the Patrarchy keeps womyn down and the Moon landings were filmed in the same vast soundstage where they faked the Zapruder film.  Look up "prejudice."  Look up "blood libel," and stop spouting that crap while telling me how some of your very bestest and most dearest pals are queer, Jewish, Masons, black, party-line voters, Asian, women, men, rocket scientists and small-time sportswear magnates who owned 8mm film cameras. You make me want to puke.)
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* Which puts them right up there with some New World Royalty. Old World, too, depending on how close cousins you count.  The Hapsburgs and Romanovs clearly didn't count all that well.  And didn't the ancient Egyptians...?  Historically, it hasn't worked well, though, tragically, failure happens over a long timebase until the unlucky winner comes into the world daft or chronically ill through no fault of his or her own -- but what if they gene-tested everyone, and refused marriage to any breeding pairs if the odds were bad enough for their offspring?  Would that be okay, or an overreach?

28 comments:

Stranger said...

The only part of knocking down DOMA that concerns me is lack of protection for those whose ethical code will not allow them to perform rituals they consider "abominations." We have far too many profiteers in the courts as it is - and exercising my privileges do not give me the privilege of violating your rights.

Otherwise, I agree with historical precedent. Two people are married if they both say they are. What they are, and what they do in private are NOMDB. Or anyone else'.

Stranger

Divemedic said...

With regards to incest: what about a couple which cannot have children, but are closely related? Say, siblings where one or both are sterile? With no possibility of offspring, the busybodies have lost any excuse for interfering.
The other excuse for interference in marriage that I hear frequently is "What if someone wants to marry a child/his horse/his dog?" To which I point out that children/dogs/horses cannot enter into a legal contract.
the last one is the one about bigamy. "What if three men and five women all wanted to marry each other?" To which I reply: "If they are all OK with it, why is it any of our business/"

Roberta X said...

"Lack of protection?" What? --It's called The First Amendment. Pete's sake, the courts can't even make a-hole racist churches perform interracial marriages if they don't wanna.

If you're meaning to refer to Justices of the Peace and reg'lar judges, hey, you take the Queen's shilling, you play by the Crown's rules -- and just as truce with it's it's public purse. If they don't like it, they can quit.

Roberta X said...

Divemedic: Yeah, mostly I don't wanna know about other people's domestic arrangements. I don't have to read that section of the paper.

H'mmm, I would support a law requiring all cohabiting folks to keep their shades down....

Charles Pergiel said...

Well said.

Dave H said...

I don't favor breeding licenses based on genetic testing. Who sets the qualifications? More to the point, who will be in the position to bend the qualifications for or against couples who may have some quality that's not supposed to matter?

I'm sad for any family that has a child with a handicap or chronic illness, but that's the risk you take when you decide to have children. Genetic counseling is available and it's a great idea, but the decision belongs to the prospective parents.

rickn8or said...

"Now the ongoing debate goes to the states. Gonna be interesting for awhile. Gonna be real interesting and probably nobody will like the compromises that spring up. The base on both sides will be all fired up and the paper and broadcasters will get lots of copy and images."

Yup. I look for this to be the main topic of conversation in the state legislatures for at least the next few years. I'm expecting some rather uncivil exchanges.

I submit the citizens of this country has more important issues to deal with than other peoples' sleeping arrangements. The barn is burning and people are wringing their hands over the color of the fire truck.

rickn8or said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bubblehead Les. said...

Since this Ruling seems to apply to (Mostly) Federal Benefits, this should make for some Interesting Tax Laws.

Does "Full Faith and Credit" mean that if you are Legally Married in a Same-Sex State, but own Property in a Non-Same Sex State, does one get the same Benefits?

Can a Hospital (like in Ohio recently) fire an Employee because of their Marriage Status to a member of the Same Sex? Or can a Business deny Health-Care Benefits to Same-Sex Partners, especially with ObamaCare looming on the Horizon?

This will prove very Interesting.

Stranger said...

It's not the First Amendment that is the problem. Nor is it the JP's and others empowered to preside over a civil ceremony. It is the inevitable couples who go preacher shopping for a refusal.

And upon refusal their feelings were suddenly so devastated by a preacher whose sect believes that saying a "holy rite" to a same sex couple is blasphemy that refusing is worth at ten million dollars from the preacher - and another ten from the congregation. And they will settle for 100 grand each.

It is just another form of forcing someone to do something their ethical system will not allow. At bottom, a crime against humanity, in the most literal sense.

Stranger

perlhaqr said...

Bobbi: Re "First Amendment", do said a-hole churches still get tax-exempt status? That seems like a club the Feds could swing in that regard.

Certainly, Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act has been used to compel businesses to service people they'd rather not. So it's not entirely unwarranted a concern.

LCB said...

What about the photographer that refused to work a gay marriage? I can’t remember if she got sued or the gubernment came after her for discrimination...I believe it was in Arizona???

I agree with Roberta here...but I also think the photographer has a right to turn down a customer based on the photographer's beliefs. If it hurts their business...they asked for it. And the couple should not have any trouble finding other photographers.

But I'm very afraid the feds will one day force you to accept gay buisness whether a business would like to or not. This isn't just a "can a preacher be sued for saying no"...it's also a "can a caterer, photographer, etc" also say no. They couldn't based on race...but according to most Christian belief being gay is a choice. So...forcing a Christian photographer to take the pictures isn't the same (to them) as refusing to take pictures at a (pick your different race) couples wedding. One is clearly discrimination (at least to me)...while the other can be seen as subjective(to me).

I guess I don't see this any different than a company refusing to do buisness with a gun company. Should be a choice whether or not I agree with it.;

Rob K said...

Marriage in the sense that religious folks speak of it has largely been destroyed over the past century with the decriminalization of adultery and allowance of no-fault divorce. Pretty much all it is anymore is government recognition of rights to each-other's stuff.

Roberta X remotely said...

Don't conflate the First Amendment rights of a church (etc.) with the far more limited rights of a "place of public accommodation." Bear in mind, too, that the Supremest have addressed few to none of these issues.

Roberta X said...

Frickin autocorrect. Supremes.

eriko said...

Declare all marriages to be civil unions.

Declare that all references to marriages before date X refer to civil unions except those that regulate who can marry who.

Declare that civil unions are to be defined by the states but with full reciprocity.

Marriages count as civil unions but not all civil unions are marriages.

Why yes I am a programer. Why do you ask?

Earl said...

The idea is to increase the amount of real love in the world, not lessen it. Keep the government out of it, or they will have to tax it away. Love has much more positive value than the US Dollar or Europe's Euro.

Earl said...

The idea is to increase the amount of real love in the world, not lessen it. Keep the government out of it, or they will have to tax it away. Love has much more positive value than the US Dollar or Europe's Euro.

Roberta X said...

Reposting edited for clarity:

"Lack of protection?" What? --It's called The First Amendment. Pete's sake, the courts can't even make a-hole racist churches perform interracial marriages if they don't wanna. The government has very little ability to compel churches unless they go run businesses, and even then, it's just the business part that gets bossed around. (Is this proper? Prolly not. It's what we've got.)

If you're meaning to refer to Justices of the Peace and reg'lar judges, hey, you take the Queen's shilling, you play by the Crown's rules -- and just as true if it is public purse they're paid from. If they don't like it, they can quit.

Roberta X said...

And, BTW, huge +1 to Earl. Pity we can't judge every aspect of the whole mess on that basis -- or perhaps we can.

JohninMd.(too late?!??) said...

As a wise old man once told me, the most effective sex prevention on the market was a wedding ring. I can see one thing coming - states that have same-sex marriage refusing to recognize hetero marriages from states that don't. Hmmm?

Sabra said...

Massachusetts has had gay marriage for, what, a decade now? More or less. And we're not flooded with stories of those evil gays suing the pants off every florist and baker who won't work with them. Or even exposed to a trickle of 'em. So I'm going to go out on a limb and say that concern is overblown.

As for the Biblical version of marriage being trashed with things like no-fault divorce, all I can say is "Thank Christ for that." I would just as soon not be my ex-husband's--or my current husband's--property, thankyouverymuch.

perlhaqr said...

I can see one thing coming - states that have same-sex marriage refusing to recognize hetero marriages from states that don't. Hmmm?

I wonder. It would be an interesting argument. It's certainly more obvious an argument than other things along those lines.

I myself have advocated NM not recognizing the driver's licenses of states that don't recognize our concealed carry permits. Or heck, since my NMDL is no longer good enough to get me on an airplane (Thank you REAL ID Act), maybe we should just not recognize driver's licenses from DC, either, period.

LCB said...

Sabra,
The Christian ideal of marriage, at least as I was taught it, was that man and woman are partners in a marriage. Yeah, the man is supposed to be the "spiritual" head of the household, as Jesus is the head of the Church. But the idea of a woman being the property of the man is very much against the teachings of Jesus and Paul.

Divorce is a whole 'nother matter. Jesus did teach that there shouldn't be divorce except in the case of adultry. That's something I don't agree with. If you're hit by a spouse (man OR woman)...or mentally abused...you should get out.

Roberta X said...

"The Christian ideal of marriage..." would be a religious concept, not a civil one.

Pretty sure the writ of even the Most High Court In The Land extends only to the civil version.

LCB said...

Roberta,
Yes,I agree completely. I dont' think the state has ANY buisness saying who can or can't get married. You can't legislate morality...something most of my Christian friends just don't seem to understand. Besides...God doesn't NEED the state to decide what's right or wrong. I'm pretty sure He's already made up his mind on those things. :-)

But I get bugged when people imply that a Christian marriage is the husband "owning" the wife. Yeah...maybe in some whacked out churches...but not in most. Being the spiritual head of the household means leading by example. Not being bossy or a jerk.

Anonymous said...

Heck, I married my cousin, and had 3 kids, one head each thank you very much. My oldest daughter is finishing up her PhD in Physics at Cal Berkley, my oldest son is in law school and set to be a clerk for a judge after getting his BS in physics in 3 years and JD in 2.

Your mileage may differ.

Roberta X said...

:) And so it goes.