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December 03 2008

Neil Patrick Harris in 'Prop 8 the Musical'. Also starring John C Reilly, Sarah Chalke,Jack Black, the living goddess that is Alison Janney, and other famously famous people.

That was so awesome!
That was indeed awesome,this still hurts though. I know America has bounced back from far worse setbacks from progress, but man this one stings.

On a side note,NPH is fast becoming one of my favorite performers ever!
This is a bloody brilliant link.
In the end, it is all about money. How true ;)

NPH at the piano. Hello, Pretty! Does he just keep getting more pretty? *is jealous and crushing at the same time* I had to pause and rewind. And that shirt... *sigh*
In a word ... brilliant!
Awesome ! just when I thought I couldn't love NPH more.

I hope there will be another vote, and people won't be so stupid.
Obamanation... high-larious! Yes, NPH is a strapping fellow I say. I agree Mirage, NPH gets prettier every time.
Fabulous!

But kind of sad to think that in this so-called enlightened day and age, such a blatantly discriminatory law is allowed to be passed in the first place. Actually, I have a feeling that it was NPH as Barney in HIMYM who asked- 'Why shouldn't gay people have the right to be just as miserably married as everyone else?! '
Further Whedon connections: It was directed, staged and co-produced by Adam Shankman and Anne "Mama" Fletcher was co-Choreographer. Both of whom were the choreographers for Once More With Feeling and "Mama" was the choreographer for Shindig.

Thanks for the link. Now I can see what activities are taking place and select the ones to participate in.
Grr. Can't get it to play smoothly.

NM, reloaded and all is well. Excellent.

[ edited by C. A. Bridges on 2008-12-03 14:10 ]
Ooh, I feel a 'Degrees of Shankman/Bacon' game coming on.

Self same Adam Shankman directed our Young Simon in 'Hairspray'.
Zac Efron is taking on Kevin Bacon's role in the new 'Footloose' remake.
Kevin worked with SMG in 'The Air I Breathe'.
Sarah was choreographed by Adam Shankman in 'OMWF'.

And round we go...
This is hilarious. Some things keep remembering me why it's so important that TV, theater and stuff are more than just entertainment. Thanks, Andy!
I love NPH. I liked him before I heard him sing, but I've loved him since. I Dug (digged?) the video.
Brilliant!
And Neil really is a great performer!
Fabulous vid. Unfortunately, those who voted for the discriminatory Prop 8 in the first place are unlikely to be enlightened by it - way too subtle for them.
That was great! Very witty.
Excellent! (And I was just coming here to post the link! Beat me to it!)
That was great! Jack Black as Jesus! John C. Reiley as the evil Prop. 8 guy! That was genius!
That was great. Not the role I'd've expected to see Jack Black in. :)

We will get prop. 8 overturned. I think too many people (including me) had their energies too focused elsewhere during the campaign. We'll be ready for the next round.
those who voted for the discriminatory Prop 8 in the first place are unlikely to be enlightened by it - way too subtle for them.


Because obviously anyone who disagrees with the right to gay marriage is an idiot. It couldn't just be that there are intelligent people who disagree with it on moral grounds.
Hilarious and I love it! Oh NPH! What a great idea and I love how all those celebs came together to put this on.

BUT: I hate to be Debbie Downer, but it's a little late for this now, n'est-ce pas? This is what bugs me about all this: they can grant gay marriage, then ban it, then allow it again, then ban it again, etc. It's something that'll be on the ballot every election. How do we stop this?
Neil is awesome and the cause is just, I just wish this had been made BEFORE November 4th (and I wish there had been more push back on the robo-calls which featured Barack Obama's voice but which misrepresented his views).
That was really great, made my morning.
It couldn't just be that there are intelligent people who disagree with it on moral grounds.

And what sort of 'moral' might that be? Moral is such a fluid thing ...

Harridan
Derf: someone's moral grounds for something can still be profoundly unintelligent, their being "moral grounds" doesn't impugn that, despite that someone being perfectly intelligent in many or all other respects. There being intelligent people who disagree with gay marriage on moral grounds does not of itself show that their reasons are not or cannot be idiotic, and most of the arguments I've heard against gay marriage on moral grounds have been fantastically idiotic.
Linnea1928 it is going back to the California Supreme Court, on the very basis of whether a majority can in fact vote to rescind a recognized right from a minority. I think in the long run, this is more important than the original vote, because it is a very scary idea that a group of people can have the power to arbitrarily deny rights to another group. After all, if gays, why not deny the right to marry to all left-handed people, or all adults under 5'.

And Derf, you are completely right, there is no intelligent, moral defense of Prop 8. Because if someone is morally opposed to gay marriage, the solution is simple. Don't have one. And if a particular religion is morally opposed to gay marriage, their religious figures don't have to perform them, or recognize them within the religion. But there is no justification for denying the right of CIVIL marriage, which after all is a contractual agreement between two people, to others just because you personally don't approve of them.

It is worth remembering that at the time our current President-elect was born, his parents' marriage would not have been legal in many states. And sadly, a majority in those states had no problem with that.
And if a particular religion is morally opposed to gay marriage, their religious figures don't have to perform them, or recognize them within the religion.

Except not. See, for example, the recent ruling against eHarmony.
LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE.
Derf: But isn't unquestioningly accepting a moral code which preaches traditional, institutionalized hatred towards a minority equivalent to a kind of idiocy?

Some people treat religious doctrines as absolutes, ignoring the fact they evolve over time, just like any other human endeavor. This video points that out so succinctly. Do we still allow husbands to stone their wives? No. Do we still allow families to sell their daughters into slavery? No. Why? We evolved. We changed. We became more respectful of human rights, and more tolerant towards others.

Organized religion does good, but it also has a lot of bad baggage associated with it. Don't forget who silenced Galileo Galilei, and who burned Giordano Bruno at the stake, for simply exposing the truth. Those are two famous examples in a long list of abusive history, all in the name of "organized belief."

This is an intolerant mindset which must be challenged, over and over again, until it yields to rational thought. As Buffy once said, "They used to bow down to gods. Things change."
That was delightful. I recognized a lot of folks in it, but does anyone know where to get a full cast list?

Our country was ostensibly built on the principle that people should be able to freely practice their religious beliefs and not be oppressed by the religious beliefs of others. Codifying discrimination, particularly in the name of religion, is the least American act of which I can think.
Glorious.

Has there ever been a mock proposition to ban shrimp cocktail? As a threat to traditional values?
That was simply awesome.
Folks, lets just remember to try to keep it civil and avoid judging anyone's intelligence for their opinion. You can do that all that you want privately, but it won't fly here. If you want to discuss prop 8 stick to legal and historical arguments of precedent and related issues.
e-Harmony is a business, not a religion, unless we're defining "religion" in a way that I've not heard of before :) Pointy, one could certainly propose a ban on shrimp cocktail as it is a threat to shrimp. Actually, I would think that, if they were consistent, the people who want to ban gay marriage should also want to ban shrimp cocktail. The passage in Leviticus in the Bible used to justify religious discrimination against gay men (the wording is such that women are not addressed) is right between the Biblical injunctions against getting haircuts and shaving and between eating shellfish. All three are given the same weight. Mods, I hope this is okay. I am not casting aspersions on anyone's intelligence or religious beliefs, just commenting on text.

[ edited by Shapenew on 2008-12-03 17:26 ]
I completely enjoyed it and felt that it was a bold statement that brought home the issues. I am interested in seeing how this is handled by the CAL Supreme Court, because there are real constitutional issues there that go well beyond gay marriage. Can a simple majority remove rights from any group of people? Could the populace therefore vote to prevent interracial marriage or interfaith marriage, simly by winning 50.1% of a popular vote? Does this supercede constitutional protections written into law? My feeling is that this will not be upheld when it is evaluated. Which is all to the good.
Pointy:

I think we should try to get that on the next ballot. I, for one, am sick of all these shrimp-eaters flaunting their alternative shellfish lifestyle in plain view of children.

If only there were a world without shrimp!
Wow, I'm a tiny bit in love with NPH. That was amazing.

OzLady, the full cast is credited on the Funny or Die site, underneath the video.
Freakin' Brilliant!
Yes, we need a world without shrimp! 'Cause, you know Tara's allergic, and she's a sweetie. Neither Willow nor we would want to see her suffer those shellfish eaters.
I could do with a world without seafood altogether. Shrimp are just one of many insects of the sea that people seem to enjoy. Some people juggle geese, though.
That is just the sort of woolly-headed anti-seafood bias we've come to expect from liberals. Seafood = freedom ! Shrimp are like apple pie or Mom - hate them, hate America ! And puppies ! And what's more !

(seriously though, no seafood at all ? Not even fish ? Verily, thou art bonkers. Also, forsooth)

... why not deny the right to marry to all left-handed people, or all adults under 5'.

Because that would be really unfair on short people.
I can understand that some people are allergic to sea food, but I could NEVER live in a world without shrimp!

And the cast list is at that link, and here:
Cast (in order of appearance) California Gays and The People That Love Them Jordan Ballard, Margaret Cho, Barrett Foa, J.B. Ghuman, John Hill, Andy Richter, Maya Rudolph, Rashad Naylor, Nicole Parker
Proposition 8'ers and The People That Follow Them Prop 8 Leader- John C. Reilly Prop 8 Leader's #1 Wife- Allison Janney Prop 8 Leader's #2 Wife- Kathy Najimy Riffing Prop 8'er-Jenifer Lewis A Preacher- Craig Robinson Scary Catholic School Girls From Hell-Rashida Jones, Lake Bell, Sarah Chalke The Frightened Villagers Katharine "Kooks" Leonard, Seth Morris, Denise "Esi!" Piane, Lucian Piane, Richard Read, Seth Redford, Quinton Strack, Tate Taylor
Jesus Christ Jack Black
A Very Smart Fellow Neil Patrick Harris
Piano Player Marc "Marc" Shaiman

edited to add: Of course I have to defend shrimps since I am a fairly short person my own self.

[ edited by embers on 2008-12-03 18:06 ]
Shrimp are just one of many insects of the sea that people seem to enjoy.

*gags* Oh Lord, I'll never look at shrimp again without thinking that.
OzLady, full cast list just above the video... but here it goes:

Credits: Conceived and Written (six weeks later than he shoulda) by-Marc Shaiman Directed and Staged by: Adam Shankman Produced by Adam Shankman, Marc Shaiman and Mike Farah Edited by Bradly Schulz and Drew Antzis Cast (in order of appearance) California Gays and The People That Love Them Jordan Ballard, Margaret Cho, Barrett Foa, J.B. Ghuman, John Hill, Andy Richter, Maya Rudolph, Rashad Naylor, Nicole Parker Proposition 8'ers and The People That Follow Them Prop 8 Leader- John C. Reilly Prop 8 Leader's #1 Wife- Allison Janney Prop 8 Leader's #2 Wife- Kathy Najimy Riffing Prop 8'er-Jenifer Lewis A Preacher- Craig Robinson Scary Catholic School Girls From Hell-Rashida Jones, Lake Bell, Sarah Chalke The Frightened Villagers Katharine "Kooks" Leonard, Seth Morris, Denise "Esi!" Piane, Lucian Piane, Richard Read, Seth Redford, Quinton Strack, Tate Taylor Jesus Christ Jack Black A Very Smart Fellow Neil Patrick Harris Piano Player Marc "Marc" Shaiman ---- Co-Choreographer: Anne "Mama" Fletcher Recorded and Mixed by Frank Wolfe & Greg Hayes Director of Photography: Michael Barrett Camera Operators: Jake Szymanski, Bradly Schulz and Drew Antzis Production designer: Nelson Coates Costume designer: Shanna Knecht Costume assistants: Leslie Schilling, Annalisa Adams, Elizabeth Abate Hair: Laura Sanchez Make-up: Shauna O'Toole, Atticuss Sharp Production sound: Bradford Craig Music editor: Lisa Jaime Music assistant: Brian Naguit Snacky: "Snacky" Special Thanks to Adam McKay for the nudge.


EDIT: And embers just posted too...

[ edited by maxsummers on 2008-12-03 18:11 ]
zeitgeist just insulted decent insects everywhere. I for one am enraged. I know many praying mantises who are upstanding citizens.

Has there ever been a mock proposition to ban shrimp cocktail? As a threat to traditional values?

There's a website. I have heard of some petitions to put propositions to ban divorce on state ballots, but I doubt those will go anywhere if they're not dead already.

ETA: Also there's these guys, whom I adore.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2008-12-03 18:13 ]
Couldn't haved loved that more! Kudos to everyone involved!
Hey, isn't the big guy in the yellow zebra shirt one of Captain Hammer's groupies?
(seriously though, no seafood at all ? Not even fish ? Verily, thou art bonkers. Also, forsooth)


Saje - To paraphrase Monty Python; I am serious, and so's my wife.

menomegirl - its true! Look at crabs/lobsters as well.
Those links = gloriouser, Sunfire!
What I love most about things such as this, is that I suspect it somewhat flummoxes the other side.

They go through all the trouble and expense to beat down the forces of equality and fairness, and rather than get morose and, well, beaten down, the forces of equality and fairness go off and have fun making a musical.
Hey, isn't the big guy in the yellow zebra shirt one of Captain Hammer's groupies?

Only if that guy changed his name to Andy Richter.
But really, who isn't a Captain Hammer groupie nowadays.
There's a Facebook group for God Hates Shrimp:

No On Shrimp

Oh. Actually it turns out there are dozens. I've no idea if one is more official than others.

[ edited by dzr on 2008-12-03 18:53 ]
I have lovely photos of the anti-gay group God Hates Shrimp is based upon in my Flickr photostream, from their recent visit to Portland.

(And dzr, that FB group you linked to in fact is the one that God Hates Shrimp itself link to, so that would make it the official one.)

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2008-12-03 18:55 ]
Yeah, that's actually Westboro in the photos on the shrimp site. The guy who runs that site just photoshopped the text on the signs to say shrimp. Original.
If God hates shrimp then I'd think he/she would be ok with us deep frying them and dunking them in a nice cocktail sauce.

ETA: Just watched. Awesome. (But nobody should have to see Andy Richter in orange shorty shorts. Like, ever.)

[ edited by NYPinTA on 2008-12-03 19:11 ]
Shrimp are just one of many insects of the sea that people seem to enjoy. Some people juggle geese, though.


I've got to agree with zeitgeist. Just compare this to that.

I can see why someone had enough sense to ban eating something like that in holy writ.

I'm just sayin', is all.
Just loved that! And I have to add my voice to the NPH admiration society here. The guy's fantastic.
I would remind everyone that the so-called right to marriage is
restricted in other ways; 1) minors, depending on their age,
have restricted or no marriage rights, 2) insane people may not
marry generally speaking, 3) you are limited to one partner.

This was going well until some well meaning people insisted
on calling it Marriage instead of Civil Unions or Domestic
Partnerships and insisting on including some items that were
less generally acceptable, mostly involving children.
Is that ironic or are you actually comparing gay adults to minors and the insane ?

Maybe we should stop gays buying cigarettes or alcohol too then ? Not to mention, y'know, voting.
. . . *crickets* . . .
"including some items that were less generally acceptable, mostly involving children."

Can you be more specific? What are you referring to?
Ballots can't override protections that are actually in a cosntiution-type document. This was a judical opinion. And constitutions can always be amended.

A major hurdle is this isn't a settled principle. And trying to put it in place as if it were a settled principle and this is just an attempt to "recognize" it leads to backfires, like Prop. 8.

And some of the actions taken since then, like trying to shut down businesses of people who made small donations to the "yes" campaign, strike me as 1930's-style direct action.
Mod is watching you ;)!
This was going well until some well meaning people insisted on calling it Marriage instead of Civil Unions or Domestic Partnerships and insisting on including some items that were less generally acceptable, mostly involving children.

It's not simply a matter of nomenclature. The concepts are different in very important legal and economic ways. They are not only separate legal regimes, but ones that are very, very unequal.

How is "marriage" different from a "civil union"?

What are some of the differences between Civil Unions and Gay Marriage?


Recognition in other states: Even though each state has its own laws around marriage, if someone is married in one state and moves to another, their marriage is legally recognized. For example, Oregon marriage law applies to people 17 and over. In Washington state, the couple must be 18 to wed. However, Washington will recognize the marriage of two 17 year olds from Oregon who move there. This is not the case with Civil Unions. If someone has a Civil Union in Vermont, that union is not recognized in any other state. As a matter of fact, two states, Connecticut and Georgia, have ruled that they do not have to recognize civil unions performed in Vermont, because their states have no such legal category. As gay marriages become legal in other states, this status may change.


Dissolving a Civil Union v. Divorce:

Vermont has no residency requirement for Civil Unions. That means two people from any other state or country can come there and have a civil union ceremony. If the couple breaks up and wishes to dissolve the union, one of them must be a resident of Vermont for one year before the Civil Union can be dissolved in family court. Married couples can divorce in any state they reside, no matter where they were married.


Immigration:

A United States citizen who is married can sponsor his or her non-American spouse for immigration into this country. Those with Civil Unions have no such privilege.


Taxes:

Civil Unions are not recognized by the federal government, so couples would not be able to file joint-tax returns or be eligible for tax breaks or protections the government affords to married couples.


Benefits:

The General Accounting Office in 1997 released a list of 1,049 benefits and protections available to heterosexual married couples. These benefits range from federal benefits, such as survivor benefits through Social Security, sick leave to care for ailing partner, tax breaks, veterans benefits and insurance breaks. They also include things like family discounts, obtaining family insurance through your employer, visiting your spouse in the hospital and making medical decisions if your partner is unable to. Civil Unions protect some of these rights, but not all of them.


But can’t a lawyer set all this up for gay and lesbian couples?

No. A lawyer can set up some things like durable power of attorney, wills and medical power of attorney. There are several problems with this, however.


1. It costs thousands of dollars in legal fees. A simple marriage license, which usually costs under $100 would cover all the same rights and benefits.


2. Any of these can be challenged in court. As a matter of fact, more wills are challenged than not. In the case of wills, legal spouses always have more legal power than any other family member.


3. Marriage laws are universal. If someone’s husband or wife is injured in an accident, all you need to do is show up and say you’re his or her spouse. You will not be questioned. If you show up at the hospital with your legal paperwork, the employees may not know what to do with you. If you simply say, "He's my husband," you will immediately be taken to your spouse's side.


I would also love to hear about how gays and children in the same family are "unacceptable."
barboo: "And if a particular religion is morally opposed to gay marriage, their religious figures don't have to perform them, or recognize them within the religion."

Rachelkachel: "Except not. See, for example, the recent ruling against eHarmony."


Except they really don't, the irrelevant eHarmony notwithstanding. barboo's statement that "religious figures don't have to perform them" is 100% accurate. The original June court ruling that allowed gay marriages in the state of California specifically stated, "no religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs.”

And as others have pointed out, eHarmony is a business, not a religion.

I would remind JDL that if they want to refer to "some items that were less generally acceptable, mostly involving children" they might want to get specific for the purposes of meaningful discussion - there was a lot of scare-nonsense spouted by the Pro-Prop 8 forces of the "Oh, god, will no one think about the children!" variety - but it was generally inaccurate and misleading. I'd be interested to know what you're referring to.

There's so much more I could say, but I probably won't, lest my passions run away with me here - I was very involved in the "No On Prop 8" campaign here in California. I will say this - not only are the same panel of judges that ruled in favor of gay marriage reviewing the three out of six Prop 8-related cases they've accepted for review (you can keep up on the status of case dispositions and sign up for alerts here), but Equality California is sponsoring state legislation to overturn Prop 8.

I believe we'll eventually overcome this last-ditch bigoted effort to roll back civil rights for gays and lesbians, but sometimes it feels like we'll have to wait for some of the older, prejudiced voters to die off.

And I'm all for "pink power" - the boycotting of businesses that gave money to "Yes on Prop 8" as a business. It's anyone's right to decide not to give their business to a company that has supported laws and policies that they disagree with. It's also very effective.

I loved this musical and all the performers in it. I think I've waited all my life to see 1) Jack Black play Jesus and 2) Neil Patrick Harris somersault and cavort onstage.
It's not simply a matter of nomenclature.

Actually it is, and the comment that prompted this remark outs what this is really, in some ways, about: Had the civil institution not taken the same name as the religious institution, we might not be in quite the mess we are now.

If the state didn't offer "marriage", but offered the intended state benefit under a different name -- to EVERYONE, meaning the state doesn't do "marriage" at all, even for straights -- certain religious hardliners would ne unable rhetorically to get cranky about defending "marriage".

So, it is about nomenclature. And the answer is to rename state benefits to "civil unions", remove "marriage" from state law altogether.
And I'm all for "pink power" - the boycotting of businesses that gave money to "Yes on Prop 8" as a business. It's anyone's right to decide not to give their business to a company that has supported laws and policies that they disagree with. It's also very effective.

I agree with this wholeheartedly, especially because in the months leading up to the election, "Yes on Prop 8" groups made a point of sending threatening letters to "No on Prop 8" supporters.

"Make a donation of a like amount to ProtectMarriage.com which will help us correct this error," reads the letter. "Were you to elect not to donate comparably, it would be a clear indication that you are in opposition to traditional marriage. ... The names of any companies and organizations that choose not to donate in like manner to ProtectMarriage.com but have given to Equality California will be published."

How ironic that now all the pro-8 groups are crying foul about finding themselves targeted for their own political donations.
B!x, I disagree that it's simply a matter of nomenclature. The comment I was responding to made it clear that it wasn't just the name, but also "insisting on including some items that were less generally acceptable, mostly involving children" that led to the public pushback.

And as for "certain religious hardliners," I think you'll have to agree that such people will get cranky about any damn thing they please, facts and logic be damned.
That was fantastic. I truly adore NPH and wish he were my gay boyfriend. :D

I also feel very, very strongly that the government has a duty to provide the same rights, not similar rights, to all of it's citizens. A civil marriage is a contract between two people, and as such, should be available to any two people of legal age who aren't already married. (The insanity restriction is a fuzzy gray area that I'm just going to ignore.)

It's not about religion. Religious folk can decide not to marry members of their own gender, if they so choose. Churches can choose not to hold or recognize the civil marriages of gay people. That is within their rights.

The government, however, has a responsibility to treat all citizens equally under the law. Full stop.

At my local Anti-Prop 8 Rally a few weeks ago, a gay friend of mine held up a sign asking, "Would you rather I married your daughter?" It was my favorite sign. :D
OK, so instead of marriage, let's call it pairrage.
I didn't say it was simply or only about nomenclature. I said it was "in some ways" about this.

The comment you were responding to ("[t]his was going well until some well meaning people insisted on calling it Marriage instead of Civil Unions or Domestic Partnerships") would have been nearly impossible for them to post if the civil institution were not carrying the same name as the religious institution.

That was my only point. ;)
@ m'cookies: Personally, I don't care what it's called, as long as it's exactly the same for everybody. ("Separate But Equal" does not and will not work.) But I'm not sure it's feasible to just change the name of the contract, though. Given the couple in CA that got all ticked off about their marriage license not saying "bride and groom" I would imagine that changing the title would cause even more trouble than just allowing gays to marry and sticking with the current nomenclature.
I vote for "roger" as the new name, just because state sanctioned "rogering" between gay adults is never gonna get old ;).

ETA: Or ooh, ooh, "I'm off to get rogered by the state". It's easily the name with the most lewd joke potential, on that basis alone it has to be a shoe-in, surely ?

Churches can choose not to hold or recognize the civil marriages of gay people. That is within their rights.

Y'know, I was originally going to mention that I didn't think ministers should have to marry a gay couple but then I thought "What if the Roman Catholic Church decided it wasn't going to marry black couples or interracial couples, would that still be OK ?". It's a bit grayer than I originally thought (I think ;).

Mod is watching you ;)!

Sure but fish is brain food - if you don't eat that then I have doubts about your powers of concentration ;-).

[ edited by Saje on 2008-12-03 20:51 ]
I suggest reading this book:

Marriage and the Public Good: Ten Principles
joni, I'm under no illusion/delusion that they'd actually ever be able to pull off changing the name of the state benefits for everyone, and get the semantic issue off the table. I'm just saying that if both institutions weren't called "marriage", well, you know. Heh.
Marriage and the Public Good: Ten Principles

I have no idea what this is, but this is the link for those wanting to follow the suggestion.

ETA that I now I know what it is, because I skipped to the end of the executive summary, which begins: "Protect the public understanding of marriage as the union of one man with one woman as husband and wife."

So, now you know what it is, too.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2008-12-03 20:54 ]
@Saje You make a very interesting point. It is a grayer area, but it would still be within the rights of the church to do that. It would be sad, and I imagine it wouldn't go over very well, but I don't think the government can or should force churches to perform marriages for any given couple.
ETA: Yeah I get the whole church/state separation issue and agree in general but it does make you wonder about the extent to which large bodies can remove our "rights" at their whim.


"Ten Principles" sounds like it'd be easy to bullet point *cough* hint *cough* ;).

(or is there a movie ?)

[ edited by Saje on 2008-12-03 20:55 ]
"Protect the public understanding of marriage as the union of one man with one woman as husband and wife."

See, bullet points folks, they're the future.

(I probably won't even sit through the movie now)
I have spammed this (It's SPAMALOT ... er no, it's Prop 8 The Musical) everywhere I can think of it's so awsome. Great find, Andy. I'm embarrassed I didn't notice Kathy Najimy until the 2nd viewing.

I feel as though they took that great speech of Martin Sheen's in West Wing directed at the Dr. Laura stand-in character and condensed it down, and still made awesome by Jack Black in song. I would still love to see that whole President Bartlet monologue put to music, though. Love, Love, Love that video. Possibly more than chocolate.
Wonderfully written. I love finding new writers to watch out for (new to me, obviously, since Marc Shaiman has been successful a long time).

I still want to know if "Snacky" is a person or a business. And if not a person, why the quotes? *wanders off muttering*
Sure but fish is brain food - if you don't eat that then I have doubts about your powers of concentration ;-).


Were you saying something? Its really about the Omega 3s, for which there are supplements :)
I agree with b!X. If marriage is a civil union, then discrimination is unacceptable. If marriage is a religious union, then government has no business being involved at all.

As far as I know, churches are free to be as discriminatory as they like. (Nobody's forcing the Catholic church to allow female priests, for example.)
Re: Marriage and the Public Good: Ten Principles:

Since you're throwing that out there as recommended reading, can you please tell me how my own "traditional" man-woman marriage and socially-appropriate two children are threatened by the state of California allowing my gay friends to also enter into legally binding marriages that permit them to do things like taking care of each other when they're sick or create tax-revenue-generating economic enterprises together? How is that a bad thing?

On another note, every time I hear people talk about being "threatened" by gays and lesbians seeking marriage rights, I think that we ought to retire the Marines and instead attack Al Quaeda with a platoon drafted from the ranks of Queer Nation.
I think that we ought to retire the Marines and instead attack Al Quaeda with a platoon drafted from the ranks of Queer Nation.

Well, they do hate us for our freedom.
Well it can't be easy having to get up early, follow orders and do physical training, i'd hate us too.

Its really about the Omega 3s, for which there are supplements :)

Aha, interesting. You might've stumbled on a more peaceful solution to the coming zombie apocalypse. Not "Braiiinnnnnsss" but "Suplemennnnnnttsssssssss". And it still ends in a sibilant too, with all the creepy potential maintained. Yay to building zombridges !
I do love me some zombies (not physically, mind you... *counts down until someone mentions zombie marriage and the rights of undead Americans*).
To make a comparison - we know Catholic doctrine doesn't recognize divorce. Any Catholic who is divorced and remarried is not married according to the Church, and is living in sin. That is a moral view. I have no problem with Catholics refusing to acknowledge a second marriage as legitimate within their Church. I would have a very big problem if anyone would try to restrict everyone else's right to divorce or remarry because to Catholic doctrine that is illegal.

Personally I think the government has no business in endorsing particular religious beliefs and vice versa, and for that reason only civil marriages should be legally recognized. Religions can still have their own ceremonies, their own definitions, their own restrictions, but those "marriages" would not be recognized by the state. If people want legal recognition they would have to also get a civil ceremony, which I believe is the situation in France.

"... why not deny the right to marry to all left-handed people, or all adults under 5'.

Because that would be really unfair on short people."

Well, yeah Saje. That's the point. (See since I am just 5' I am entitled to look down on anyone shorter).
Okay…I’m just going to come right out and say it…I am a Mormon.

Please be gentle. *Tentatively walking out under a white flag of truce.*

Let me just first say, I personally have no problem with any of the above mentioned rights or liberties being given to those in same gender couples. Furthermore, I have met many same gender couples who were much better parents, leaders, and over all citizens than countless number of straight couples. I cannot and will not accept that the entire content of a person’s character can be judged by what gender that person chooses to love.

That being said, I do have legitimate concerns about what happens to the laws that protect my religion’s choice to recognize, in a religious sense, same sex unions. I am not saying I think that those unions should not be protected under law—there are children, spouses, and families that should not be treated any differently just because the parents in those families are either both men or women.

What I worry about is if these laws were passed, then CONCEIVABLY my Church’s right to legally bind their own marriage ceremonies could be withdrawn. Why? Because under law, LDS authorities would have to accept and bind same sex couples in order to retain their license to marry traditional couples. The Prophet and his administrators would never accept those grounds, because they do feel the unions are morally wrong.

You see why it gets kind of sticky? There’s a cornucopia of religious, legal, and moral perceptions, feelings, and opinions involved with the real live logistics of separating Church and State. It’s not as simple to say just let same-sex couples have legal rights. If I condone then the LDS church could lose theirs.

THAT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN you might be thinking.

Well it already has.

An adoption agency in Vermont—it wasn’t even Mormon, it was Catholic—refused to allow adoptions to same sex couples because those at the agency did not religiously condone same-sex unions. The agency was shut down by the state, because it would not recognize legally married same-sex couples on religious grounds.

How would the rights of marriage be eventually treated any differently?

Is it right for me to defend my faith at the expense of others?

I don't know.

It’s not any easy issue, and I don’t think there are simple answers to the questions involved with it.
I love how everyone talks about the short people and ignores the rights of lefties (/rimshot). I kid, of course, because as we all know left-handedness is a sign of perfidy and malfeasance and other bad things.

Rebekah - I understand what you are saying, but if civil unions and religious marriages were kept completely separate then their would be a license granted by the state to perform civil unions and a license presumably given by your church to perform the religious ceremony. An adoption agency, whether an outgrowth of a church or not, is not the same thing as a church and slippery slope is a logical fallacy.
Rebekah, the adoption agency situation isn't comparable, because adoption isn't a religious exercise, it's a civil one that just happened to be undertaken by a religious institution. When engaging in civil activities, even religious institution must abide by civil law.

But when it comes to marriage, there is a uniquely religious version of that institution, and no civil law can force a church to marry beyond its religious beliefs, or to religiously recognize such a marriage.
"... why not deny the right to marry to all left-handed people, or all adults under 5'.

Because that would be really unfair on short people."

Well, yeah Saje. That's the point.


Heh, crossed wires barboo ;). You'll notice I conspicuously (I thought) didn't mention it'd be unfair to left-handed people - my (joky) point being it'd be OK to deny them the right to marry. I mean, they've the devil in them, right ? Surely we all see that ? ... * crickets * ...

ETA: Oops, What zeitgeist Said (kinda sorta ;).

[ edited by Saje on 2008-12-03 21:23 ]
Churches can refuse to marry whomever or under whatever conditions as they see fit. Some Catholic churches refuse to marry people outdoors. I only know that because several environmentalist friends have had long drawn out family dramas over wanting to have an outdoor ceremony with their lifelong church that wouldn't let a priest marry anyone outside the church building. Apparently you can have a deacon preside or something like that but not do the same fully formal ceremony with a priest if you want to do the barefoot-on-the-grass thing.

At least one Catholic church has in recent years refused to marry a paraplegic man because as they see it he can't consummate the marriage.

Rebekah, no one can force the Mormon church to marry same-sex couples anymore than they can force it to have a public ceremony after the formal temple sealing, invite non-Mormon guests to the temple ceremony, or force your clergy to seal a non-Mormon to a Mormon. That a LEGAL change would require RELIGIOUS change is very much a misconception. All this would mean is that churches that want to marry gay people now have it mean something in legal, civil terms. And it means any same-sex couple who wants can go to the courthouse and get a civil marriage certificate and have all the same rights as married straight couples. What the churches choose to do in their own congregations remains their own business, as always.
Heh, crossed wires barboo ;). You'll notice I conspicuously (I thought) didn't mention it'd be unfair to left-handed people - my (joky) point being it'd be OK to deny them the right to marry. I mean, they've the devil in them, right ? Surely we all see that ? ... * crickets * ...


Like I said above, Saje - malfeasance, perfidy, etc.

Rebekah - I'm glad that you felt safe to express your concerns and trust that everyone here will treat you with respect in responding (I trust anyone tempted to say something nasty caught the implied threat).

Sidenote for fans of Dan Savage.

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2008-12-03 21:26 ]
What I worry about is if these laws were passed, then CONCEIVABLY my Church’s right to legally bind their own marriage ceremonies could be withdrawn. Why? Because under law, LDS authorities would have to accept and bind same sex couples in order to retain their license to marry traditional couples. The Prophet and his administrators would never accept those grounds, because they do feel the unions are morally wrong.

Do you have any legal authority you can cite for your claim that LDS authorities would have to perform same-sex marriages or perform no marriages at all?

An adoption agency in Vermont—it wasn’t even Mormon, it was Catholic—refused to allow adoptions to same sex couples because those at the agency did not religiously condone same-sex unions. The agency was shut down by the state, because it would not recognize legally married same-sex couples on religious grounds.

What was the name of the agency? Was it actually "shut down" by the state or did the state just stop funding it? Because a state cannot legally fund an institution that implements discriminatory policies that a state cannot implement itself directly.

Sorry if you feel that I'm being picky about facts. But I've just endured an election season full of blatantly false advertising about the horrors of gay marriage and some of the claims you're making here sound eerily familiar.
Here's a book that might be more helpful in understanding the key issue that I believe is driving the "Yes on Prop 8" forces.

And, yup, I agree - I think as far as the state is concerned, all marriages should be a civil union, and then churches/temples/whathaveyou can solemnize at will.

Rebekah, I don't think you can talk about all laws granting same-sex marriage rights as one thing - as I stated above, the California court ruling that permitted same-sex marriages in California specifically stated:

"no religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs.”

I don't know how that can be stated any clearer.

I don't know about the Vermont Catholic adoption agency case of which you speak, and I'll check into it, but I'd bet you it's a question of receiving government funds... one really doesn't get to practice prejudiced adoption policies - and get a check.

(Looks like many of you were there before me...)

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2008-12-03 21:27 ]
Like I said above, Saje - malfeasance, perfidy, etc.

Aaargghhhh, cross-editing/postage meltdown !?! It's like Keystone weblog postings !
Its just like that, with fewer handcuffs and more hijinks.
Loved NPH's somersault. but I really want to know why zeitgeist eschews fishies? No sushi? Ever? You don't also happen to be left-handed and insane, do you?
Eschewing is just one of the signs to watch out for *nods knowingly*.
I am neither left handed nor insane. I don't enjoy eating anything that comes from the sea and its not for lack of trying.
Haven't seen this noted yet: "marriage" is not a religious term. It's a secular concept that has evolved according to cultural demands in different ways in different places and very different cultures around the world for millennia. Asserting otherwise is to ignore all of human social history.

Besides, even if you do claim that "marriage" is a religious term, which religion does it belong to? Different religions have some infamous differences of opinion between them about what, why, and how marriage is and between how many people. The Christian church wasn't even in the business of blessing marriages until the Council of Trent in medieval Europe. But what about other religions? Mormons? As far as I know, you can't even get married in a Mormon temple unless you convert. Legal gay marriage affects their freedoms only as much as legal non-mormon marriage does... which is to say, not at all.
In France you have to have a civil marriage service in order to be married. You are then free to have a religious service if you so choose and according to your belief system.

That seems sensible to me. One civil rite conferring the same civil rights to all . Separation of church and state and no issue with moral/ religious groups seeking to overturn the rights of any group.

BTW great link!!

California took a giant step backwards with this vote and the sooner it is overturned the better.

The rights of the minority should never again be subject to majority vote.

BTW, anyone wearing a garment made of mixed fibres, put down your shrimp cocktail and see me after class. I'm afraid that you are an abomination and need a good stoning.
zeitgeist, Are you Ok with eating things that come from freshwater? If so, what is your position on spawning salmon?
I don't enjoy eating anything that comes from the sea and its not for lack of trying.

Yeah, but have you TRIED it? ;). Also, does anybody know how to pronounce eschew? It's one of those words that I've seen but never heard.

And, um, good discussion here, too :)
Now that I've skimmed, ahem, read through the thread, mostly (I'm letting political stuff just go hang today), I have to get in on the ban seafood conversation. I myself, am loving of the fried shrimp. And as sexual innuendo goes in art, the oyster (though not in the original version) gets its due in that famous (infamous?) scene in Spartacus put back in the restored version (Good Grief, censors of early Hollywood. If only you could have seen the recent HBO series Rome). So don't be dissing on the seafood, yo. This is a gem of a scene:

Oysters and Snails
catherine, I think it's like "eh, shoe" but with more flair. ;)
An adoption agency in Vermont—it wasn’t even Mormon, it was Catholic—refused to allow adoptions to same sex couples because those at the agency did not religiously condone same-sex unions. The agency was shut down by the state, because it would not recognize legally married same-sex couples on religious grounds.

It was Massachusetts, they chose to close rather than adopt to gay parents, and an adoption agency is not a religion. Some are run by religious groups, but that doesn't make the adoption agency subject to the same protections as an organized religion. If you get a state license to operate an agency that places children with adoptive parents, you have to go through accreditation and follow the laws of that state. Catholic Charities decided they were unwilling to follow state law based on religious reasons, but the Catholic Church is still free to teach what they want about same-sex relationships and to refuse to marry couples as they see fit. They are not allowed to run adoption agencies that do not follow the rules though.
Ha -- also m-w says... cheat sheet: \e-ˈshü, i-; es-ˈchü, is-; also e-ˈskyü\

ETA - I was using "from the sea" colloquially. Things that come from fresh or saltwater seas, not for me.

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2008-12-03 21:50 ]
catherine, I think it's like "eh, shoe" but with more flair. ;)

Ah, that made me laugh!

And poor zeitgeist, it's your easy-goingness that makes us all think we're allowed to have a go at your dietary preferences ;).
So if the church/state separation worked in the case of adoption agencies, why did it fail so spectacularly over Proposition 8 ? Was it purely a matter of a big PR push by those with deep pockets and an ideological axe to grind ? Ah, democracy, never let it be called a perfect system ;) (and yet ;( ).

catherine, I think it's like "eh, shoe" but with more flair. ;)

Panache, even. I say it like 'atchoo' but with 'es' instead and easy on the 'ch'. In fact, it barely sounds like 'atchoo' at all, frankly I don't know why you all brought it up.

BTW, I think we may have a majority, I say we vote to revoke zeitgeist's right to not eat seafood. And would a sub proposal to make him left-handed be too much ?

Things that come from fresh or saltwater seas, not for me.


Apart from salt. Yes, now we see the argument utterly collapse, like a big floppy sea cucumber. *rests case*

...

I meant after it's ejected its guts into the water, you get that right ? Cos of the floppy.
@Saje: yes - I think that's a good summation. Let's vote you into office or something... I think one of my w-esque friends on twitter said you should be King of the Internet today...

I think zeitgeist's Merriam-Webster pronunciation is too sneezy; I like this one better.

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2008-12-03 22:02 ]
I do see the fallacy in my argument Zeitgeist. I will also admit I don’t actually know the full logistics of the Catholic adoption agency situation or the legal ramifications involved with it.

I will also concede BrewBunny that you are absolutely right, it was heard as more of a story rather than as cited research. I will also concede that those types of stories do tend to lead to unsubstantiated paranoia on both sides. I apologize.

I was just expressing a concern, unfounded though it may have been. I’m grateful no one bit my head off or tried to send me a pouch of proverbial white powder in protest. The Church headquarters, not five blocks from my house, was not so fortunate.

I will say that I didn’t know half of what was said here today, so I will pass that information onward.

I wouldn’t actually mind the French or European policy of Religious and Legal Marriages. It seems to make a lot more sense. Then no one can claim religious discrimination.
Rebekah, I, for one (and I think others here) would far prefer someone express the concern in open discussion, as you have, rather than just emptily parrot it, as so many did during the Prop 8 vote.

So, you're already ahead of a lot of others in being willing to ask about it, rather than simply proclaim it.
Saje as King of the Internet? Can we vote for King?

I'm glad your head remains unbitten, Rebekah. It's a nice and very informed bunch here, generally.

Thanks all for clarifying (or really complicating) the pronunciation problem for me. I'm careful ever since discovering at the age of 18 that there was in fact no such word as "misle" (meaning "to deceive," past tense misled, long vowel i) and that I had been, heh, misreading misled all my life. I still feel sad about losing that word. And mainly I worry about a horrible mispronunciation around fancy people.
ETA: Bloody hell, more posts crossing. You can vote for King BTW but God gets to count the ballot ;).

So, you're already ahead of a lot of others in being willing to ask about it, rather than simply proclaim it.

And altering your opinion when new facts come to light goes a long way in my book too. I don't think anyone minds religious people raising their concerns it's when they cite dogma as "evidence" that it becomes ... irksome.

[ edited by Saje on 2008-12-03 22:14 ]
I’m grateful no one bit my head off or tried to send me a pouch of proverbial white powder in protest. The Church headquarters, not five blocks from my house, was not so fortunate.

Matthew Shepard wasn't so fortunate either. Neither was the best man at my parents' wedding who got his head smashed in with a concrete block by someone who didn't approve of his "choice."
ooh, jinx Saje, you owe me a coke, king or not! Except I hate coke.
Rebekah, nobody knows who sent white powder to the Mormon church. It could be anyone, even someone who has a vested interest in stoking hatred and fear of gays. Besides, whoever it is who sent it surely doesn't represent everyone in every demographic s/he belongs to, whether that demographic be gays or Mormons.
BTW, I think we may have a majority, I say we vote to revoke zeitgeist's right to not eat seafood. And would a sub proposal to make him left-handed be too much ?


Right, but my eating habits aren't a democracy and I was speaking of living things from the sea. Sea salt is fine.

QG - I wasn't thrilled with the M-W pronunciation, either, it was just the site I thought of first. M-W didn't have a .wav for the third pronunciation, though it has to count for something that they do have it listed textually.

Saje as King of the Internet? Can we vote for King?


Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

ooh, jinx Saje, you owe me a coke, king or not! Except I hate coke.


Again with the white powder! Oh, you meant... never mind ;).

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2008-12-03 22:16 ]
Is left-handedness still up for grabs though ? Er, so to speak.
Oops... jinx is for when you say the same thing, not when you say something at the same time. Forget that coke.

That's appalling about your parents' friend, Brewbunny, I'm so sorry. Your post popped up just after I'd sent mine, didn't mean to follow it with something so flip :(
Jeez, i've already sent it now. It's just chaos tonight, telling you.

And yeah, to be serious for a minute, real acts of violence bring it all home. Of course, with the best will in the world, you can pass all the laws you like, there're always gonna be people willing to do stuff like that, sad but true.
Is left-handedness still up for grabs though ? Er, so to speak.


So long as you're not too short to reach it ;).

Of course, with the best will in the world, you can pass all the laws you like, there're always gonna be people willing to do stuff like that, sad but true.


So, you're saying we should get something like they had in Minority Report, yeah? (JOKING)
Cheers, Sunfire. In a bit of cruel irony, the energy produced by the shrimp running on the treadmill was converted into heat and used to boil the water :(. Poor sea insect...

Yes, I made that up.
Poor shrimp! That looked stressful.
If only there were some way to use that ability for good instead of YouTube...

So long as you're not too short to reach it ;).

Keeeeekkkkk, Keeeeekkkkk ! To me, my dolphin friends ! No problem, i'll ride on the back of Flipper, a simple half-pike, 3/4 twist will bring us within handedness reach.

So, you're saying we should get something like they had in Minority Report, yeah? (JOKING)

Dude, is that a trick question ? Of course we should get jet-packs, they're the future. S'what you meant, right ?
Oh, ha. Thought it was a research vid repurposed by video editing hooligans. Turns out these shrimp are famous.
Yep, infamous almost. There's even a sex tape doing the rounds.

Fantastic video.

Oh yeah, I meant to say about 15 inanities ago, really cool, funny video. Like a piss-take squared, with singing ;).


ETA: My inanities I meant BTW, you lot are completely ... ane, as usual.

[ edited by Saje on 2008-12-03 22:34 ]
Orphea, you're right. No one does know who sent it.

Either way, Fanatical Mormon or Gay Marriage supporter with a grudge, they didn't represent either group very well.

Brewbunny, I do not even pretend to know what that kind of intollerance is made of. It is unconscionable.
The white powder was ill-advised, to say the least, no matter who sent it - and I don't think we do know... For the most part, everyone I've worked with on the NoOnProp8 campaign has been reasonable, kind, loving - and smart - but there are disturbed people on every side of every issue.

I do believe that the generality of the "YesOnProp8" continual & vague exhortations to "remember the children" and "protect your church's freedoms" is exactly what enabled them to win. One you get into specifics, their talking points melt away...

I'm with the others here, Rebekah, in that 1) I think that talking about it reasonably, as you did, is so much better than not bringing it up at all, and leaves misconceptions unchallenged on both sides and 2) you rock for taking in new info so well...

I don't like oysters, but I do like snails. My partner A has to leave the room when we drop lobsters into the pot, 'cause he swears he can hear them scream. I say, in the boiling lobster pot, no one can hear you scream. ; >

(Oh, and it's great to see Allison Janney again - I don't think I'm capable of separating her from her character C.J. I've tried, as in The Ice Storm - but all I could think was "C.J. is being so naughty.')
Catherine, I'm starting to feel your pain here. My remark seems too somber after that shrimp clip. I nearly peed my pant that was so funny.
Oh, QG, I'm right there with ya. In Juno, I was like, "Why is C.J. talking with that funny accent?"

(And I haven't even seen a full season of The West Wing!)
orphea, I was going to make a similar point. "Marriage" is one of those things that everybody thinks they know the meaning of, and when you actually try to pin it down, turns out to be many different things to different people. When I was just a little, baby anthropologist-in-training, one of the supposed universalities of the human condition that was regularly taught was marriage. That is, all human societies have some form of marriage, just as all human societies have some form of religion, art, language.

But the more I've learned about different cultures and different subcultures, the more I question that there is anything universally recognized as marriage. Is a culture where a married woman lives with her family of origin and is visited occasionally by her husband for sexual congress really experiencing marriage in a way we understand it? What about a ruler with dozens of official wives and concubines? Societies in which a woman marries a household of brothers?

It seems to me that there is really very little in these different configurations that would lead them all to fall under one category. What there are, in every society it seems, are rules - rules for what persons have legitimate sexual access to each other, rules for distribution of resources based on kinship, rules for the recognition of kinship for purposes of resource distribution etc. And it is somewhere in the intersection of those rules that we locate something we call "marriage."

This is a little far afield from our discussion perhaps, but the point is that even within our society, people regard marriage as very different things, even depending on where they are in their own life cycle. I've seen it said many times that marriage should be for the children, but my widowed aunt remarried in her 70s and she sure wasn't planning on having any children then.
"but all I could think was "C.J. is being so naughty.'"

Ha. Me too!
Its a very creative piece of propaganda...
I want to vote for the word "'misle' (meaning "to deceive," past tense misled." catherine, that's a great word.
Rebekah, "That kind of intolerance" that leads to unconscionable hate crimes against gays and lesbians is nothing more than the logical extension of the kind of intolerance promoted by the LDS and Catholic churches (among others). Just this week the Vatican came out in opposition to a UN resolution aimed at countries which criminalize homosexuality with punishments that include death.
I'm not sure how to respond to that BrewBunny.

When you put it that way, initially a defensive lump came up in my throat. But then I swallowed it.

Is the definition for disagreement synonymous with intolerant?

I'm LDS. Does that make me intolerant?

[ edited by Rebekah on 2008-12-04 01:42 ]
Rebekah, I prefer to think of intolerance in terms of institutions and religious leadership (for the most part) not individual church members. You are not the norm liberals usually envision, and are obviously very compassionate on this subject.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2008-12-03 23:42 ]
I think it's obvious that whoever sent the white powder was very angry at the Mormon church (just my opinion).

Many of the locals here in Salt Lake compared it to the mid/late 1970's, when near-riot protests and "terrorist" civil disobedience (bombs and bomb threats) were directed towards the Mormon church for their discrimination towards black people.
BrewBunny - I dunno if I buy that its the logical extension of it. I know a lot of Christians who feel that being gay is morally wrong, but that the correct course is to "love the sinner, hate the sin" and "judge not". Being a Christian or LDS Church Member certainly does make anyone intolerant.
Being LDS doesn't make you, personally,intolerant. I'm glad that you are debating here and taking other views on board.


I really hope that it's evident that , whilst you have every right to live by your belief system, your church and those of your faith do not have the right to dictate to those who do not share that belief system. If anyone was asking your church to conduct and sanction same sex marriage that may be cause for protest. However civil marriage is none of the church's business.

In my opinion for your church, or any other church, to campaign to deny basic human rights to people not of your faith is just wrong

And the fact that that campaign may well have influenced the vote is disturbing.

Of course what is most disturbing is that an existing right was ever put to the vote in the first place. America is multi faith and multi cultural and civil and legal rights should protect everyone regardless of race, gender, orientation, ability, age, belief or the absence of belief.

Once proposition 8 is overturned ( and it will be) steps need to be taken to ensure that no similar proposition can ever be placed on a ballot paper.

[ edited by debw on 2008-12-03 23:34 ]
Rebekah, I appreciate that my comment was likely hard to swallow, and I appreciate even more your willingness to come here and advocate your views honestly. It's never fun being the minority voice in a heated discussion. And I do not believe that the fact that you are LDS makes you intolerant, nor do I believe that "intolerant" is synonymous with "disagreement."

But right now a number of very dear friends of mine are in danger of having their legal marriages invalidated because the LDS and Catholic churches could not be content to simply disagree about a matter resolved by the Supreme Court of California and instead felt it necessary to spend tens of millions of dollars taking away my friends' constitutionally protected marriage rights. I don't see how one could characterize that kind of activity as mere "disagreement." Your church, including many members who reside far away from the state in which I live, was one of the most active parties in trying to take something very important away from people I love. It was not political - it was personal. And those who defend the LDS and Catholic churches' participation in California politics need to take responsibility for that.
We were not the only church involved with the protest, and certainly not all of us agreed with its involvement.

As I recall, former 49ers quarterback Steve Young, a very prominent Mormon, had family that was vehemently opposed to Prop 8. His wife’s brother is gay, and she campaigned on the opposite side of the issue.

“America is multi faith and multi cultural and civil and legal rights should protect everyone regardless of race, gender, orientation, ability, age, belief or the absence of belief.”

I agree. And if Mormons really read their own doctrine (See Book of Mormon book of Alma), they would agree with me.
People of religious faith can "feel" homosexuality is morally wrong all they want. When their "feelings" become codified into law, the law which governs all of us, violating the basic human rights of others, that's when it becomes objectionable.

We should keep the particulars of religion out of our common law, the law that governs people of all faiths and belief systems. The law should be based on fairness and equality, not religious dogmas.

If California said tomorrow that everyone had to kneel to the "Flying Spaghetti Monster," or "Budda", or "Jesus," or "Allah", then there would be an uproar. This is the same reason we should oppose Proposition 8 and laws like it.
Sure, but the uproar might be over the misspelling of Buddha and the fact that no Buddhist would ever suggest kneeling to the Buddha ;) All hail the FSM!
What about Budda Christ?
Kneel before Zod!!!
Brewbunny, the danger in saying that the hate crimes are "the logical extention" of what various religions preach is that a whole lotta members of these faiths disagree and don't tow the party line (I know you weren't saying all members would, merely pointing out the overall picture and aiming at the institution more than entire congregations).

On that Vatican/UN link, one part they quote says exactly what I was thinking...

"Pointing out that homosexuality was still punishable by death in some Islamic countries, the editorial said what the Vatican really feared was a “chain reaction in favour of legally recognised homosexual unions in countries, like Italy, where there is currently no legislation”."

Nice. The Vatican's willing to make a move/state an opinion that could affect the wellbeing of a whole lotta non-straight folks and their supporters in countries that're more hostile to them, all because they're paranoid. I understand where their paranoia comes from, they see the world changing so fast (far as social rights go, it's often for the better) and they're a very fearful bunch.

xerox said:
"Its a very creative piece of propaganda..."

Or a response to the not-so-well-thought-out propaganda that resulted in Prop 8 going through in the first place. Depends on your perspective.

I wish I could refrain from typing this next part that goes, I can't wrap my head around the idea of people who are entertained by and understand/appreciate most of the themes of Joss Whedon's work, yet would support something like Prop 8. But hey, it stands (tall).

[ edited by Kris on 2008-12-03 23:53 ]
JDL: I would remind everyone that the so-called right to marriage is restricted in other ways; 1) minors, depending on their age, have restricted or no marriage rights, 2) insane people may not marry generally speaking, 3) you are limited to one partner.

Oh, and I forgot to post this earlier. I believe the so-called 'restrictions' on underage and insane marriages are not so much restrictions as protections, to protect incompetents from being misled or forced into marriage. This does not apply at all to gay marriage as the members of the gay community are not generally considered incompetent.

And now I can't stop thinking "misled, past tense of the verb to misle" whenever I type it. ;)
According to the three-pronged "Lemon test" (Lemon v. Kurtzman, [403 US 602] 1971, which dealt with public aid to private schools) in order to be constitutional - in this case, not violate the first Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ("Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...") - a law or public act "must have a secular legislative purpose; second, its principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion; finally, the statute must not foster an excessive government entanglement with religion."

I don't see how Prop 8 answers even one of these, let alone all three. It's clearly advancing the religious moral perspective of the religious groups that wrote, promoted and paid for this proposition/amendment. Call me legally/politically naïve, but I don't truly don't understand how California laws can so obviously violate our Federal constitution.

And of course the video is propaganda by the dictionary definition (and not the pejorative one sometimes used): "information that is spread for the purpose of promoting some cause."
Hee hee, I'm so pleased that "misle" is contagious! Could we make it a word? It was a truly shocking moment in twelfth grade when we were going round the class reading something and the girl right in front of me read "misled" ... the correct way. My mouth just fell open. No misle! Never was!

Also, what cabri just said. About protections vs. restrictions, as well as about misling.
Incredible! NPH is such a lovely man.

On the other hand, I can't believe that my birth state decided to codify discrimination into their constitution. Its so shameful.
It is a blatantly unconstitutional proposition that will be overturned by the courts. It is just shameful that we all have to go through this.
Apparently this video is making it onto the local 7pm news program here in Portland that spends a lot of its time on Twitter during the day. (The show likes to think of itself as a blog on TV.)
TamaraC: Given that it's in the form of an amendment to the state Constitutuion, unless the very sepcific grounds that the amenedment process wasn't correctly followed hold up, a state court has no real way to overturn it, just like federal courts can overturn laws based on the US Cosnstituion but can't overturn articles of it based on other articles.

Rebekah; That's what I'm referring to. even the milder ones, like trying to close down businesses of people who contributed to the "Yes" campaign, reminds me of 1930's style direct action campaigns.

orphea: I agree that marriage has a civil component. That's the aprt that worries me, and one among several reasons* why I basically support the idea of gay marriage (altho I am also opposed to judges inventing fundamental changes to the law without real precedent or a real basis in other legal provisions) because this lends force to the Barry Lynn types who want to take marriage completely out of the legal sphere, which I oppose. (*Another reason is I think getting a bunch of enthusiastic people invovled in the institution of marriage would re-energize it for all of us who believe in it, says the guy separated for almost 8 years.)

barboo catherine: nice to finally know for certain I'm not the only person who thinks there's such a verb as "misle."

Basically, abd so you'll know where I honestly stand on this, I'd've voted "No" had I been living in California largely because such a law had already passed the legislature, even tho I thought Gov. Arrrrnie's reason for vetoing it (that such a law had recently failed to pass by referendum) was a solid one, and also ebcause of the large climate for the idea there. If it had been on the ballot in my state, which it fortunately wasn't, where there is no such legislative history, I think I'd've had to vote "Yes" because it's not a decision I want judges making. This country is supposed to be governed in a representational manner, not by black-robed godlets ruling on whim. Judicial rulings need a basis in a legal provision, and I can't see one for this.

Gay marriage is a change to be fought for and positively enacted; it isn't an already fundamentally settled thing where it's just a matter of making some recalcitrants see it, like the race cases of the 50s and 60s.

[ edited by DaddyCatALSO on 2008-12-04 02:05 ]
DaddyCatALSO, so are you saying that Civil Rights have to be earned? They aren't something that already exists and just hasn't been codified? I'll have to vehemently disagree with that.

And the amendment was not constitutional. There are already many lawsuits filed against it. It will be thrown out by judges who are correctly doing their jobs that we elected them to do.
And the amendment was not constitutional.

Unfortunately, legally speaking, it isn't quite that cut and dry.
DaddyCatALSO - "That's what I'm referring to. even the milder ones, like trying to close down businesses of people who contributed to the "Yes" campaign, reminds me of 1930's style direct action campaigns."

I'm not sure what you're saying about this similarity you're seeing, DaddyCatALSO - are you against "1930's style direct action campaigns" and if so, why in particular?

I disagree with your use of the phrase "trying to close down businesses" to describe boycotting businesses that gave to Prop 8. It isn't about "shutting down" that biz - for many, myself included, it's about not using one's own hard-won money to support it. "Trying to shut it down" could involve a slew of other tactics, none of which have been used in the "NoOnProp8" post-election campaigns. I don't care if they stay in business - they just ain't getting my cash. We make decisions about where to spend our money every day, and for far more trivial reasons.

I think the constitutional questions may be somewhat involved, but I am fine with the judiciary making a call on this - the system of checks-and-balances in this case helps ensure that a simple majority does not decide on a question of civil rights, which is part of why the judiciary is there.
I'm with QuoterGal on this. It's a question of civil rights, and should be decided by it's Constitutionality.

-Loved the Musical, BTW :)
Maybe it isn't that cut and dry, b!x, but luckily much smarter people than me are working on the challenges. I am pretty optimistic that they will get this silliness thrown out. If not, we can vote on it again (to get the amendment removed) in 2010.
Well, not at work now, so I actually got to watch the musical. It's brilliant. Now I finally get all the references to shrimp. Oh and yes, the Bible does allow a man to sell his daughters as sex slaves. One of my projects over the past year has actually been reading the Five Books of Moses, the first section of the Jewish Bible, and right in there amongst the stupefyingly boring details of exactly what and how to sacrifice an offering for every ritual offense, are the laws regarding how to sell one's daughter as a sex slave. Interesting that the folks who want to base morality on what the Bible says have a tendency to leave that one out.
QuoterGal - "And of course the video is propaganda by the dictionary definition (and not the pejorative one sometimes used): "information that is spread for the purpose of promoting some cause.""

This is what my dictionary says about Propaganda:
noun
1 chiefly derogatory information, esp. of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view : he was charged with distributing enemy propaganda.
• the dissemination of such information as a political strategy : the party's leaders believed that a long period of education and propaganda would be necessary .

2 ( Propaganda) a committee of cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church responsible for foreign missions, founded in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV.

And this is what my thesaurus says:
noun
a so-called documentary that was really socialist propaganda information, promotion, advertising, publicity, spin; disinformation, counter-information; historical agitprop; informal info, hype, plugging; puff piece; the big lie.
Oh, so your definition of propaganda is pretty much what they were singing about in the mini musical- with the 'they'll teach the children about sodomy' and stuff. Is that irony?
No, because apparently propaganda is only a socialist thing.
So, xerox, when you said "Its [sic] a very creative piece of propaganda..." which of your definitions did you mean to use to describe the video?

Of the Merriam-Webster definitions below I intended definition #2:

1 capitalized : a congregation of the Roman curia having jurisdiction over missionary territories and related institutions
2: the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person
3: ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause ; also : a public action having such an effect

when speaking about the video, and of course I meant "ideas, information." If anyone misunderstood me and thought I meant otherwise, I am sorry.
Hey, and there's Darryl from The Office! He's in everything these days.

Pretty delightful stuff. Jack Black and NPH are particularly fun, and John C. Reilly really runs with the "head religious guy" role.
The video is funny in parts but my gut reaction is that it will win too few of the waverers or the opposite camp over. It certainly will help shore up support in their own tent.
Simon: I think you're right. Imagine that, everyone -- people don't like being mocked when they're taking a stand on principle. What a crazy mixed-up world. They should appreciate the scorn.

For the record, though I do consider myself a conservative, when a referendum to ban gay marriage was presented in my state, I voted against it, because I don't think morality should be legislated into a constitution. (How well did it work with Prohibition, he asks as he sips a Heineken Dark Lager?) Having said that, I'm still unsure about how I feel about gay marriage as an institution -- just because I don't want a constitutional amendment against it doesn't mean I think it's right. It continues to sit on my mental shelf that's labeled "Things I Really Must Think About One of These Days, When I Finally Get the Time to Do Some Serious Non-Work-Related Thinking."

Two final thoughts: I admit to being intrigued by some of the arguments that decry a majority for voting away a universal human right from a minority, but I am interested in hearing responses to the "slippery slope" argument -- which isn't always a logical fallacy. And I admit I find it somewhat ironic that it was probably the African-American evangelicals, who turned out in such large numbers to support Barack Obama, that probably made the difference in passing Prop 8.
This is why I have trouble respecting all beliefs - much easier and more consistent to respect all people IMO (until they give you reason to do otherwise). Because, frankly, some principles should be mocked, they're eminently mockable - the fact that someone holds a belief sincerely and genuinely doesn't somehow make it immune to criticism.

And really, who hasn't been mocked for what they think at some stage ? If you have any self-belief at all it's fairly easy to get over. Not being afforded the same opportunities as everyone else on the other hand, that's harder to swallow.

(and I agree too BTW, as with most things like this it's preaching to the converted - so to speak ;) - which is why I don't think it'll achieve much. Still hella funny though ;)
Well I just can't help but feel that something like this plays right into the opposition's hands. If there aren't blogs and commentators out there saying "Hollywood left mocks and sneers at our values" I would be amazed.

I live in a very religious country and if there's one thing I've learned, making fun of people's beliefs just alienates them and makes them more stubborn. I'd go down the line of "here's two people in love, they want to get married. What's the problem?". Or show the dire consequences of living in a culture of homophobia. The suicides, the broken families, the gay-bashings. The evangelical Christians I know would be more willing to enter into debate over that than some musical which mocks their deeply held beliefs.
Well, the "pro-gay" people in the musical are also clichés and are also being (gently, I admit) mocked. I don't see the problem personally, it's a satire/parody and a certain biting irreverence is pretty much part and parcel of that sort of thing, has been since at least Swift.

More importantly, the points made are actually valid i.e. AFAIK Jesus didn't have much to say either for or against homosexuality though he did talk a fair bit about not judging others and spreading love not hate. And the parts of Leviticus against homosexuality (e.g. 18:22) follow a prohibition against offering your children up to Molech by burning them (18:21) and one against adultery with your neighbour's wife (18:20) - presumably those against gay marriage are also against adulterers marrying ? (i'm kinda with them on not setting your kids on fire though ;).

I don't live in a very religious country but coming from where I come from i'm also no stranger to sectarian violence and/or prejudice so I appreciate that people feel strongly about their beliefs and generally dig their heels in when mocked (if I go back home, walk into a Celtic pub draped in the Union Jack/Flag and shout "Fuck the IRA" then i'm gonna get my head kicked in, doesn't mean I should respect the IRA or the "beliefs" of Celtic supporters). I suspect (but could be wrong) that the object of this video isn't to change the minds of those that are likely to be offended, it's presumably to mobilise those that aren't (or maybe they've - mistakenly ? - assumed religious people also have a sense of humour about themselves). Or maybe it's just "to be funny".

Course, if no-one listens because they don't like being mocked then the no2prop8 people can't then piss and moan about how no-one listens to them, you make your choices and you live with them. People who satirise others' positions have to take their licks on the same level just as much as they dish it out, neither "side" gets a free pass.
I don't think this is really expected to change minds. I think it is more in the nature of comic relief for those of us who are distressed by the Prop 8 vote, and an exhortation to continue fighting the good fight. The final screen does give an address for people who want to do something to support marriage equality.

Sometimes the choir appreciates being preached to.
Well I just can't help but feel that something like this plays right into the opposition's hands. If there aren't blogs and commentators out there saying "Hollywood left mocks and sneers at our values" I would be amazed.

I agree that showing the horrible realities that many straight people seem unaware of is a better approach for educating people, but I don't think this video was meant to educate anyone. And frankly right now, in this country, showing the normality of gay couples and the realness of their bond, or the harsh stuff gay people have to deal with, gets as much backlash as pointed humor like this. There's a lot of talk on the right about "the gay agenda" and "normalizing immoral behavior." This is so polarized and misrepresented in general that I think the only thing that seems to change people's minds is first-hand knowledge of gay people in their own lives.
Watching the video, which I thought was funny, I confess it didn't even occur to me that this could possibly be aimed at Yes on 8 supporters, any more than "Firefly" filks are designed for people who didn't like the show in the first place. I took this as a playful cry of exasperation aimed at people who agree with the sentiments, followed by practical information on what to do to get Prop. 8 overturned. For one thing, I think if this were aimed at changing the minds of people against gay marriage, it would end with information on P-FLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays -- a real organization that helps families come to terms with gay children) or some other organization that gives out information, not with an "okay, we sang, we danced, now let's get mobilized" message. For anyone interested in the history of gay activism -- particularly gay activism in the state of California -- I highly recommend the new film "Milk." When the film was shot, Prop. 8 wasn't even on the ballot, but the parallels to then and now are striking. And I believe Harvey Milk's assertion that people should come out because "if they know *one* of us," it can help reassure frightened people is still sound advice.
I think the only thing that seems to change people's minds is first-hand knowledge of gay people in their own lives.

I agree with this, and gay characters on TV are helping, too. It's the reason the generational difference is so great. I think my daughter was about 7 when she asked me, "How do people know if they're gay?" When I was that age, I probably didn't even know gay people existed.
QuoterGal: Admittedly the news reports I read have been supplemented with material from Michelle Malkin 's column so I am using a teaspoon or so of salt with it and I didn't make that clear.

TamaraC; No, rights exist, they aren't earned but to use your own word, codified. And codifying is a process and there are more and less effective orders to achieving that.

[ edited by DaddyCatALSO on 2008-12-04 18:47 ]
DaddyCatALSO, do you really think that judges would be doing their jobs if they allowed a majority of voters to remove existing rights from a minority of citizens? Really? I can't see how that can even be possible to comprehend. I am confident that the judges in California will set this right. It may not happen overnight, but it will happen.
I do love me some zombies (not physically, mind you... *counts down until someone mentions zombie marriage and the rights of undead Americans*).
zeitgeist | December 03, 21:14 CET


Okay, zeitgeist, you've touched on a touchy subject. Have you seen True Blood? There are vampires that demand equal rights as an "undead American" status. Just think how Angel's life could have been if he were able to legally purchase deeds, order things online (without stealing Cordy's credit card), and driving all those cars. He may not have been tempted by the forces at Wolfram & Hart. In fact, if all undead, demonic, and mutated Americans were able to have equal rights, they might choose a life of mediocrity instead of evil. Bad Horse might not be so... bad. Think about that.

Personally I can't believe it took so long to get to that point. Stupid shrimp. Another reason those & the cockroaches of the sea should be boiled alive & then eaten. >)

But seriously, I think Simon brings up an interesting point. This musical may target some negative response. However, I can't think of a time when protests about one's civil rights did not bring up a negative reaction.

I enjoyed the musical, but I think it serves its purpose better to target those already in support legal civil unions for gays & lesbians. To win over the Yes on Prop 8 voters, they need to step back from the stereotype & humanitize themselves. As quotergal said, it might just be some time before the majority of Prop 8 voters die off, but the snark & snazz of the younger generations don't rub well with them. To get their votes, they should focus on showing how similar they are to "traditional" thinkers (conformity & tolerance) instead of celebrating the differences, which we young whipper-snappers are all about- individuality & acceptance. Small steps.

I think it would be helpful to perhaps have a series/documentary in the lives of gay & lesbian couples. Not the "late night" type, but the everyday worker, family, leader type. Special pieces on the daily news? That might build bridges.
My remark on the question of what this video was for, tweeted to a local news show that was mentioning the video last night, was: "I think part of the point is to flummox the haters. To wit: The haters try to beat people down, and said people throw a musical."

Meanwhile, religious beliefs are hardly above being subjected to public scrutiny (and, if valid, scorn), if those religious beliefs are being used as arguments for (or, really, against) public policy and law. And satire (as in the shrimp nonsense) is a valid form of scrutiny.

(By which I mean that religion doesn't get an exemption from public scrutiny when it's being used in a public way. Nothing else gets that exemption when it's being used in a public way. The religious can't bring religion into an argument over public policy and then cry foul when their opponents also start bringing the religion into the argument.)

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2008-12-04 19:55 ]
I watched it again last night, and it made me chuckle and perk up again...

As someone just on the verge of being burnt out from NoOnProp8 activity, I agree with barboo that it's well-done "comic relief for those of us who are distressed by the Prop 8 vote, and an exhortation to continue fighting the good fight" as well as b!X's (paraphrased) "We ain't licked - and we're musical." I also think that it's a much-needed statement from these artists themselves, who I'm sure needed to find a way to blow off steam and do something for the cause. It may offend some, but that's a possibility with any artwork that's not superficial, or fashioned by committee and tested-and-focus-grouped to death, and it's definitely going to happen with any art that has political content.

It is hard to stay pumped up and working on this issue after so much effort failed to get Prop 8 voted down, and so much energy went into the protests, and now we're either waiting for the courts to rule in March '09 - at the earliest - or for state legislation to be passed. But in the interim we can support this legislation, and other do info-spreading activity. I must say that this musical has pushed me into the fray again, after a bit of a breather.

In my view, satire - and parody - have a lot to offer towards examination of and education about an issue, as well as the equally-important purpose of entertainment.

"Satire must not be a kind of superfluous ill will, but ill will from a higher point of view. Ridiculous man, divine God. Or else, hatred against the bogged-down vileness of average man as against the possible heights that humanity might attain. " - Paul Klee

“Satire exists for the purpose of killing the social being [for the sake of] the true individual, the real human being.” - D.H. Lawrence

"By rights, satire is a lonely and introspective occupation, for nobody can describe a fool to the life without much patient self-inspection." - Frank Moore Colby
Bravo, QG.

The biggest message the video sent in my opinion was, "We are not beaten. We will not stop. We will prevail." All while providing much needed what QG said above.
Nothing is going to change the position of a segment of the population, so it doesn't really matter if you respect or mock their deep-seated beliefs (also known as bigotry, in nearly all cases), they're never going to change their minds. But mocking bigotry, making it known that such beliefs just aren't cool in this day and age, can change the minds of younger voters who aren't as deeply set in their ways. Prop 8 only passed by 2%, so it's only necessary to change the minds of a tiny minority. Plus, NPH and other stars being funny, musical, and it's free to watch.

Meanwhile, some of the other No On 8 videos on that site are also good, like this parody of the Mac vs. PC ads.
(How well did it work with Prohibition, he asks as he sips a Heineken Dark Lager?)


Great quote, BAFfler and you are correct that slippery slope isn't necessarily a logical fallacy, but the way most folks use it, it is. If you use it in a way to suggest that x makes y more probably, then you may or may not have a point, but if you argue that if x will cause a chain reaction of events inevitably leading to y, which must, absolutely follow, you are probably in the wrong. Rhetorically speaking, that is.
I have been away for several days.

1)I was indeed saying that simply saying that changing the name
from marriage to something else would make a difference. YMMV.

2)The issues involving children that I can remember were;
adoption for gay couples and survivorship rights for a
non-biological gay parent.

3)I am a believer in incrementalism. Take whats possible now
and come back later when enough time has passed. Civil Unions
now in other words.

Illustration; the equal rights amendment lost in some part due
to the WWII generations unwillingness to subject women to the
draft and in case of war, combat.

So here we are about 30 years later and we've had the draft
go away and women have served just as honorably and capably
as their male counterparts. If the era was to be re-submitted
today this would not be nearly the sticking point it was back
then.

The Catholic adoption case may not have been fought because of
money issues. Can someone more familiar with the case speak
to this point?

But there is another similar case concerning birth control
prescriptions that may end up being adjudicated further.
That should prove interesting.
TamaraC: I don't think the judges were doing their job when they made the law in the first place -- or, if you like, "interpreted" the state constitution. That's not what judges are supposed to do. If a state's people, either indirectly (through their legislators) or directly (in a plebiscite), decide that gay marriage should be legal, then that's their prerogative...as I recall, civil unions of some sort have been legal in California for the better part of a decade because of legislation being passed. But it shouldn't be done through the courts.

deanna b: Really? It doesn't matter if you respect or mock the beliefs of someone, just because you know they won't agree with you? And I love the fact that you admit, albeit in passing, that your main strategy to win the next go-round is to poison the well. I can see the commercials now. "People who don't believe in gay marriage aren't cool. You ARE cool, aren't you?" I wish someone would explain to me how, exactly, that will do any of the following: a) improve the feelings between those members of each side who are committed to their beliefs yet willing to have a civil discussion on the matter; b) raise the tenor of the cultural dialogue; and c) make those people any better than those of their opponents from this cycle who did the same thing.

zeitgeist: Oh, I know. I explain this to people about three times a week.
The judges' job is to interpret the constitution. Why would you put that in quotes? That is what they do and is what they were hired to do. They are also there to protect the majority from voting in unjust laws. Which is what they did. They didn't decide that gay marriage should be legal, they decided that is shouldn't be illegal. They didn't create a new law, they enforced the constitution that we already have. And with any sense, they will do the same again in March.

And civil unions lack about 1000 rights that are afforded to marriages. They aren't the same, never have been the same, and never will be the same unless the word marriage is completely struck from the government's purview. Completely abolishing the government's right to license or define marriage for anyone is just fine in my book. As long as everyone is actually treated equally under the law. You know, as opposed to how they are treated unequally now.
No, a judge's job is to apply the law to specific cases. That is what they were hired to do. I heartily disapprove of judges who are either too literal in their readings (while ignoring the meaning of the text) or who import rights into the text wholesale, with the flimsiest of bases. Now if by "interpret," you mean "use the plain language of the text as it would have been read at the time of passage or adoption to decide what is right with regard to a current legal issue," I think we're on the same page. But I doubt you do.

The California constitution, which was [EDIT: adopted] in 1879, does indeed declare marriage to be a fundamental right of all California citizens. But you can't seriously be contending that the people of 1879 would have considered that language to mean anything other than a union between one man and one woman. Yet you are in favor of extending the definition past those borders. Let me be clear -- THAT'S FINE, and if the California citizens had decided that's what they wanted, then you wouldn't hear a peep from me. Honest. But in all fairness, I think you need an amendment for that. You can't just read the definition you want into the document, and then say that the constitution has permitted what you wanted all along. You would be howling if I said that gay people had been perfectly free to marry throughout state history, as long as they married someone of the opposite sex. You would claim I was missing the point entirely. (And I would be, since part of what marriage means to us is "the right to be united with someone of your choice.") But that's what you're doing right now.

They didn't decide that gay marriage should be legal, they decided that is shouldn't be illegal.

And if something isn't illegal, then it's...what? Legal. The law still answers to the old beliefs about double negatives cancelling each other out. This is one of those "You say po-TAY-to, I say po-TAH-to" debates over semantics. They didn't create a new law literally, of course, but they did expand the scope of a constitutional clause--and I'm hard-pressed to figure out the practical difference between the two.

Had they honestly enforced the constitution you have, they wouldn't have decided the way they did in In re Marriage Cases. Look at our own federal documents. The Declaration of Independence (yes, I know it has no legal force, but bear with me) holds that all men are created equal. At the time it was written, very few people would have argued that such a sentiment applied to African-American men, and the plain language would seem to exclude women. When the nation expanded equal rights to those groups, it did so by passing constitutional amendments saying, in effect, "This is how we will interpret these words from now on." That's the proper way to go about it...not the way Massachusetts and California did, by judicial fiat.

I actually agree with you about government getting out of the marriage business altogether, except perhaps as a certifier of contracts...there are so many moral beliefs and feelings attached to marriage, and as I noted earlier, government and morality mix about as well as oil and water. But you're missing what I'm trying to say. California still has civil unions. The law permitting them was passed by two chambers filled with the people's representatives, and signed by the chief executive officer of the state. California had, for a brief time, gay marriage. There was no law passed by either the people or their representatives eliminating the "one man, one woman" language from the Family Code. That language was stricken by the judicial branch, in a 4-3 vote, using a definition of "marriage" that I think was quite plainly not the intent of those citizens who wrote Article I of the Constitution. One of these decisions was properly arrived at. One of them was not. And the people were well within their rights to overturn the one that wasn't.

Let me say this again. When a referendum to ban gay marriage came up in my own state, I voted against it. If another one comes up supporting the legalization of gay marriage, I may well vote for it. I'm not your enemy on this issue. But I do want to see whatever conclusion the people reach to be arrived at by the people, and not by the courts--and there, yes, I think I am right and you are wrong. I hope I have clearly articulated my position, which I believe to be coherent and well-founded. I am interested in hearing yours.

[ edited by BAFfler on 2008-12-05 06:13 ]
But you can't seriously be contending that the people of 1879 would have considered that language to mean anything other than a union between one man and one woman. Yet you are in favor of extending the definition past those borders.

...

You can't just read the definition you want into the document, and then say that the constitution has permitted what you wanted all along.


Err, you see the flaw here presumably BaFfler ? If the language as it stands doesn't preclude gay marriage (since I assume gay people are considered citizens of California) then any other reading of it is ALSO reading "the definition you want into the document". Claiming that the people that wrote it clearly didn't mean gays is an interpretation of what it says based on your (the big 'you' ;) own feelings on the matter. Surely the default position (until it becomes untenable, as in your slavery or women's suffrage examples) should be just to follow what the constitution says ?


ETA: And my brain tickled me into checking into the whole idea of judicial interpretation of the constitution. Seems like it happens a fair bit in fact, here's what Wikipedia (so usual pinch of salt required ;) has to say:
The way the Constitution is understood is also influenced by the decisions of the court system, and especially the Supreme Court. These decisions are referred to, collectively, as precedents. The ability of the courts to interpret the Constitution was decided early in the history of the United States, in the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison. In that case, the Supreme Court established the doctrine of judicial review, which is the power of the Court to examine legislation and other acts of Congress and to decide their constitutionality. The doctrine also embraces the power of the Court to explain the meaning of various sections of the Constitution as they apply to particular cases brought before the Court. Over the years, a series of Court decisions, on issues ranging from governmental regulation of radio and television to the rights of the accused in criminal cases, has affected a change in the way many Constitutional clauses are interpreted, without amendment to the actual text of the Constitution.

Legislation, passed to implement provisions of the Constitution or to adapt those implementations to changing conditions, also broadens and, in subtle ways, changes the meanings given to the words of the Constitution. Up to a point, the rules and regulations of the many agencies of the federal government have a similar effect. If the actions of Congress or federal agencies are challenged as to their constitutionality, however, it is the court system that ultimately decides whether or not they are allowable under the Constitution.

(my emphases)

Why is this situation different ?

[ edited by Saje on 2008-12-05 13:03 ]
That's exactly the part I'm afraid of, it'll end not with per se gay marriage being recognized legally but with government ie. the legal environment (legisphere?) getting out of the marriage business entirely. Which I don't think will be good long-term.

Serious conflict for me since I favor gay marriage but can't abide legislation from the bench.
Love the discussion. BAFfler - I will say this about whether or not they are adding to the scope of a clause in the constitution. Whether or not they saw this applying to specific races or genders, they did see it as applying to citizens. African-Americans at one point were not considered full citizens. So if African Americans and gays are considered full citizens, then surely they deserve all of the freedoms afforded to citizens? How about that for a semantic duck ;)? At the same time, its true, right?
Err, you see the flaw here presumably BaFfler ?

Nope. Enlighten me. :)

If the language as it stands doesn't preclude gay marriage (since I assume gay people are considered citizens of California) then any other reading of it is ALSO reading "the definition you want into the document".

Couldn't disagree more. You're committing exactly the sort of over-literalism I talked about earlier--well, the plain language doesn't define marriage, so what's the big? The problem, of course, is that how people apply words can be altered or shifted over long periods of time...and those in constitutions are not exempt from the process. For the constitution to be properly applied, we have to read the language as it would have been read at the time. Now, there are some things the constitution just doesn't hold an opinion on--it would be foolhardy to search for solutions involving those issues in the text. But marriage is mentioned, so I don't see the problem with reading it the way it was meant to be read.

Claiming that the people that wrote it clearly didn't mean gays is an interpretation of what it says based on your (the big 'you' ;) own feelings on the matter.

No, it isn't. It's a claim based on a common-sense knowledge of history. At the time that constitution was written, the definition of "marriage" was absolutely not in dispute. Well, okay, it was, since polygamy in Utah was just beginning to be stamped out. But you know what I mean. And no, you're not free to change the meaning as you wish. :D Now if you're going to take the postmodern position that all reading is interpretation, therefore what I'm doing is interpretation, feel free...but I'll still claim that my "interpretation" is closer to what was actually meant than yours is.

Surely the default position (until it becomes untenable, as in your slavery or women's suffrage examples) should be just to follow what the constitution says ?

I have been advocating the position that we should follow what the constitution says, in terms of both word and meaning. You are the one who is talking about sticking to just the words, and throwing the meanings overboard whenever it suits you. I still maintain you need an amendment to do that. Otherwise, you have what DaddyCatALSO terms "legislating from the bench" -- the creation of a right where it didn't exist before.

Regarding judicial interpretation...I know it has happened in the past. That doesn't mean it's right. When the Supreme Court takes it upon itself "to explain the meaning of various sections of the Constitution as they apply to particular cases brought before the Court," then they're doing their job--or at least, this description on the face of it doesn't sound incompatible with my claims. Sometimes a decision takes some explanation of what was meant...look at how much time I'm spending on this board talking about one frakkin' word! But I maintain that there is a difference between this on the one hand, and reading new meanings into clauses on the other. THAT'S what I condemn. (See the decisions of Justice Scalia--whether you approve or disapprove of his worldview, he's generally been a very careful textual scholar who digs into historical texts to divine what people of the time thought they were saying, and then applies just that. That's the way I think it ought to be done.)

zeitgeist: Allow me to refer you back to my post to TamaraC above, where I said that I could reply like so: "Homosexuals have always had the right to marry someone in California. They just couldn't choose someone of the same sex to marry." Now, THERE'S a semantic duck, but anything you can do, I can do nearly as well. :) Seriously, though, I see the problem...but it wasn't a problem from their perspective. Marriage was what it was, and plenty of gay people no doubt did tie the knot in a socially-approved manner. It may seem like a small change to make, to allow them to do it with someone of their own gender, but apparently 52% of Californians think otherwise. And that's why we make laws.

I'm sure that the amendment will probably be overturned on appeal. Unlike some people on this board, though, I don't see that as a good thing. Justice is, in large part, about doing what is right, but there is also a significant element of process there; you must do right things in the right way. I maintain that the California Supreme Court didn't do things in the right way, and the people did. You may disagree with their decision (and I know many of you do), but they followed the set procedure for getting an amendment passed, and they did it. That's the power of the people...it ain't pretty sometimes, but it's what this country is all about.

The funny thing is, had the court simply kept out of it, gay marriage probably would have passed the state legislature after Schwarzenegger left office (I'm given to understand it's already passed twice WHILE he's been there, and vetoed both times...and I don't think Republicans are about to retake the state legislature anytime soon), and a Democratic governor would probably have signed it into law. So, you guys couldn't wait a couple years to do things the right way? That was too much for you? I find that telling.
:) Nice one. On the other hand, I don't find challenging a law's constitutionality in court to be the wrong way, its one of the more immediate ways that individuals and groups can take direct action to affect their situation.

I imagine the response to your "you couldn't wait a few years?" will be to draw parallels to racism and sexism of the past. To wit, "What, you couldn't pick cotton/ride in the back of the bus/stay at home and pop out babies/earn 60 cents on the dollar for a few more years?". I don't think that people are so inclined to turn down any legal avenue when fighting for their own human/civil rights.
Rosa Parks man, was she impatient or what ? ;)

That was too much for you? I find that telling.

Hmm, what do you find it tells you BaFfler ?

It seems that judicial interpretation has been the "right way" since 1803 - by US standards surely that qualifies as just "how the system works", near as dammit ? If you had to go back and vote on every judicial interpretation I think you may be there a while ;).

You are the one who is talking about sticking to just the words, and throwing the meanings overboard whenever it suits you.

No, what i'm saying is, there's nothing in there that says gays can't marry (if e.g. the meaning of 'marry' changes) so what's required isn't an amendment but a clarification of how to interpret the wording for today (i.e. given that what marriage means has changed). Once that's done then afterwards (I really wanted to say 'henceforth' there - I think that might have won it for me ;-) - but IANAL) that's how the passage is interpreted.

Take the (very splendid) fiction: "All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights.". If the nature of 'a person' changes - e.g. say AIs are deemed to be people at some point - you don't need to change the wording of the constitution to specifically include AIs, you just decide that an AI is a person - i.e. the meaning of 'person' broadens - and then accept that the constitution also applies to them (or you decide 'person' can't become that broad and then you have to change it).

Truth be told (possibly due to a difference in respective legal systems - ours is much more about "muddling through" and yet it seems to basically work) i've no particular reverence for "process" or for holding particular documents sacred, justice is about what's right and fair, process is just the machinery that (usually ... often ... sometimes ;) lets you arrive at that point (and as I say, it seems judicial interpretation is [part of] the process in the US anyway).

Anyhoo, we can to and fro about constitutional law all night (though i'll have to make most of it up cos I don't really know a damn thing about it ;), ultimately it makes sense to me to simply accord civil unions the same rights as marriage (and possibly take marriage out of the constitution). Then it really would be an argument over semantics and i'd have much less sympathy for people that kept insisting on forcing people that didn't agree with them to call their partnership by a particular name, basically just for the sake of it.
C'mon, Saje, just once type WZStm!
Truth be told (possibly due to a difference in respective legal systems - ours is much more about "muddling through" and yet it seems to basically work) i've no particular reverence for "process" or for holding particular documents sacred, justice is about what's right and fair, process is just the machinery that (usually ... often ... sometimes ;) lets you arrive at that point (and as I say, it seems judicial interpretation is [part of] the process in the US anyway).


Yeah! Um, that's all I have to say about that.

Also, I bet this is funny:
C'mon, Saje, just once type WZStm!

But I don't get it! What's WZS?
All I've come up with is Weissenbacher-Zweymuller Syndrome according to the acronym dictionary. That's probably not what you meant.
What ___ Said. In this case, zeitgeist.
I had a bunch of quotes about when so-called "judicial activism" is "appropriate" - including some great ones from our conservative Chief Justice Roberts - but I've bagged it all in favor of seconding zeitgeist and Saje and letting them know that they've - once again - won my (virtual) heart.

Denying gay folks equal rights violates my deepest sense and understanding of what is fair and just, and that is why I will persist in my efforts and what I will work towards - until there are no distinctions whatsoever in civil rights.

I have so missed the context of WZSTM that all I can do is laugh a little nervously and look around at you'all for clews.

ETA: Thank you, NYPinTA and, as it turns out, Sunfire , who I didn't realize was answering my question - I went to a very "Who's On First" place with your reply.

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2008-12-05 21:40 ]
WZS= What Zeitgeist Said?
C'mon, Saje, just once type WZStm!

I refer my honourable colleague to the proceedings of 3rd December, 21:21 (amended upon further inspection and under the auspices* of Her Britannic Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at 21:23 'pon said evening).

;-)


* well, her title's on my passport anyway ... and she didn't actively stop me ;)
Oh, yeah! Thanks, Saje - I missed that edit the first go-round, so you've made my day ;). Does she ever actively stop you? Just curious ;).

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2008-12-05 23:01 ]
Clearly word of her crack Death Corgies hasn't made it across the pond yet.

...


*shivers*
But, if you'll notice, zeitgeist, he doesn't actually say it. I think we should hold Saje down. And feed him hot dogs slathered in grape jelly.
DEATH CORGIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOLY SHI... itake mushrooms, yeah, that's it.

...

*runs away*

Hot dogs and grape jelly? What strange substance have you been imbibing, korkster? I mean, other than hot dogs with grape jelly apparently. Wait, not hot corgies with grape jelly?

Right, back on topic you. And by you, I of course mean myself.
Yeah, Strawberry jelly* I can understand but grape ? That's just crazy.


* see, i'm bilingual, I can also speak American ! ;)


ETA: And by this comment I actually mean "Something pertinent and, what's more, germane !".

[ edited by Saje on 2008-12-05 23:19 ]
Actually, Saje, I haven't seen strawberry jelly. Now there's strawberry JAM, but... eh. And, come on old country! Putting sweet things on dull meat is your specialty, isn't it? You know, apple sauce on pork, sweet bbq on ribs... not really that far of a stretch.

If anything, grape jelly on hot dogs is the poor man's equivalent. And, come on, doesn't grape jelly have a right to be with hot dogs? Just because it isn't what you would traditionally consider, does that make it illegal? Should I be persecuted for my taste?

What blows my socks off is that my co-worker LOVES mayo & peanut butter sandwiches. To each their own. Gotta love exotic tastes. :)

And, for quotergal, I thought What's his name is on 2nd. :)

If you look closely, z, this is still thready. Just a little abstract. :)
This thread has taken a seriously icky turn. Mayo and Peanut Butter? *shudders*
Agreed - I mean, I didn't even know you could milk Peanuts ! Disgusting !

Actually, Saje, I haven't seen strawberry jelly.

Whereas Strawberry jelly is one of my favourite kinds, particularly with ice-cream and little bits of fruit stuck in it.

Should I be persecuted for my taste?

Sure, it's the only reasonable thing to persecute people for ;).
In my experience equality's usually late and never arrives early. It's a procrastinator.
Here, here, Sunfire. Don't you ever get the feeling that no matter what is discussed, how many activities you go to... that the battle isn't up to you?

As mentioned, people in SoCal were surprised when it did pass. For those public figures who made their decisions public, some said that it was because the government overturned their decision from before that caused them to vote "yes". As if they were proving a point, or getting back at the government.

This voting thing maybe equal to all, but it should also bear equal responsibility to understand what you're voting for.

Hm. Maybe I need a pick-me-upper.
Me old mum used to make the best strawberry jellies and jams - she had a kajillion recipes. I kid you not, when she passed on, the ONLY squabble (mild) my sisters & I had about any family possession whatsover was about the freezer-full of homemade food she left behind.

There is a fruit-filled version and a clear version of any jam-ish substance you can think of.

OK, the food combo I just don't get - and yes, I've tried it - is lamb and mint jelly. For crying out loud.

(Thanks for the link, korkster - I hadn't seen that in a long while...)
zeitgeist: Challenging a law's constitutionality in court is your legal right, and if the law is unconstitutional, it's the right thing to do as well. That's not what I said was inappropriate -- I thought I was clearly referring to the interpretation the CSC used to overturn the law.

Hmm, what do you find it tells you BaFfler ?

Saje: That, plus your comment that you have "no particular reverence for 'process' or for holding particular documents sacred," tells me that you're an "end justifies the means" person. And I'm not. The process is there for a reason, the documents were written with certain meanings in mind, and when we circumvent those facts, even in the name of a just cause, we are doing something condemnable.

I was going to ignore this one, but since you brought it up...again...let's talk a bit about Marbury v. Madison. The case established the principle of judicial review, which states that the Supreme Court and lesser established courts have the right to examine any legislation which has been accused of being contradictory to any higher laws, and the responsibility to overturn it if they find it to actually be contradictory.

In this case, a portion of the Family Code was accused of being contradictory to the California Constitution. It was found to be so, and was deleted. My contention is that the interpretation of the constitution used in this case, since it changes the meaning of the document as it would have been read at the time of passage, was wrong, and the decision based on it was therefore also wrong. Your contention is that the interpretation was reasonable, and the decision was also reasonable. Do I have that right?

Now, let's talk about judicial review. I have no problem with it. It's taking a law, comparing it with a higher law, and seeing if they can coexist. If they can't, the lower law gets thrown out. If that's what you mean by interpretation, then we can both agree it's a good power for a court to have, and Chief Justice Marshall was right to insist on it. If lower laws can contradict the constitution, then as he said, what's the point of having a constitution at all? But it's not "interpretation," in the sense I've been using the word all this time.

I have maintained before, and will continue to maintain, that the words which comprise the text of a law do not constitute the entirety of the law. There were meanings attached to those words when they were adopted, which everyone understood and which a majority of the people responsible for the law agreed upon. Those meanings should be used in any future reading of the law. Otherwise, over time, a law could, in theory, come to mean something very different.

There is nothing in the words comprising the original California constitution which mentions homosexuality in any way. You are correct on that point, and I have never disputed that. There is language mentioning that marriage is a fundamental right of all California citizens. I have also never disputed that. What I am saying is that the people in 1879 who wrote the document in question thought that when they asserted every citizen had the right to marriage, they meant a union between one man and one woman. And that is the reading that should be used in applying the law, until the law is changed or clarified.

Now, about this matter of clarification. Legislatures can, and do routinely, pass laws that repeal earlier laws. But they can't pass laws that are in conflict with the constitution to which they owe allegiance. For that, you need an amendment, which requires a higher percentage of approval. It is far easier to simply issue a court decision which re-defines the word at issue, of course. But that is the wrong thing to do, because the courts aren't in the business of defining or redefining words. There are entire sections of the American legal code devoted to doing just that. Courts are supposed to judge whether something is right or not, in accordance with the laws as they then exist. They are NOT supposed to update the law with a new definition before they make their decision.

I knew someone would bring up the civil rights movement as some sort of "a-ha!" at me. Truth is, I don't know why you would bother. I think any proper reading of the Fourteenth Amendment makes it pretty plain that state-sanctioned segregation was unconstitutional from the moment of its passage. That it continued to happen is undeniable; that it was unjust is equally so. I can hold both these things to be true, and still condemn the California Supreme Court. In fact, I can do so for the same reason I can condemn those courts that sanctioned segregation: they both ignore the meanings of certain higher laws in making their decisions on lower ones. And setting constitutionality aside for the moment, the comparison between repeated and flagrant state-sanctioned violation of key civil rights that law should have protected for a century on the one hand--and our current situation on the other--is frankly ridiculous. You can say, "Well, it's only a matter of degree," but if two things are that many degrees apart, I think it's really a difference of kind.

I recognize that the position I am taking can sometimes lead to outcomes I consider to be unjust. But I'm willing to bite that bullet (and hopefully not shatter my teeth in the process), because the procedure we follow in making and amending law is part of what gives that law its force. I have little sympathy for those people who claim to love justice, yet are willing to stand by while the process we have for enacting and enforcing law is circumvented--even if it is to bring about just outcomes. Without a common law of some kind, all we have to determine what is just is a feeling. That's not enough.

QuoterGal: I encourage you to continue fighting for what you consider to be right. It sounds like you're trying to bring about change the right way. But with all due respect, I think your position on judicial activism is just wrong (and Chief Justice Roberts is too, if he agrees with you--I've no problem with criticizing people from my side of the aisle if I think they've made a mistake). I hope you read this comment, and I hope you can at least see why I hold both the positions I talked about in this paragraph.
I wasn't so much pointing out out the civil rights comparisons as an ah ha against you, more as a recognition that if you find process important, you probably also recognize that people who are deprived of their rights will find it very tempting to take any process available to them that is legal (whether it is strictly correct or not) to pursue remedy. I think its a further jump than you should take to assume anyone here is fomenting an ends justifies the means line of reasoning. They simply believe that judicial review is fine and that the meaning of a law can be reinterpreted as our understanding of its constituent terms change. Whether that is correct or not is kind of up to courts to decide, I suppose. Is there anything in the California Constitution that defines marriage, by the way? Thank you for coming back to discuss more, love it :).

I refer all participants to this legal theory blog page on broad and strict constructionism and judicial activism. What, if anything, do they mean and are they useful to this discussion? Wikipedia (this and much, much more) also has much to say on all of these topics. Perhaps unsurprisingly, your position on constitutional theory seems to be a direct outgrowth of your political and moral leanings. This is probably where everyone agrees to disagree rather than poring over constitutional theory :).
zeitgeist: "Is there anything in the California Constitution that defines marriage, by the way?"

Yes, but what that definition is depends on what year you're referring to. There is an involved and complicated history of contentious legislative efforts, ballot initiatives, judicial decisions and executive actions that led us to our current legal mess, and disagreement by both sides about the definition and status of marriage at every step and state along the way - so I do not expect us to either solve nor agree on what politicians and their lawyers are fighting and disagreeing about as we speak. A tiny bit of this issue's constitutional history (taken from the intro to CA AB 43 - passed by many of our elected leaders, but vetoed by just one - the Goobernator) is:

(b) From 1850 to 1977, California's marriage statutes used gender-neutral language, without reference to "man" or "woman," in providing that marriage is a personal relation arising out of a civil contract to which the consent of the parties capable of making the contract is necessary.

(c) In 1948, the California Supreme Court became the first state court in the country to strike down a law prohibiting interracial marriage. It was the only state supreme court to do so before the United States Supreme Court invalidated all those laws in 1967. The California Supreme Court held that "marriage is ... something more than a civil contract subject to regulation by the state; it is a fundamental right of free men ... Legislation infringing such rights must be based upon more than prejudice and must be free from oppressive discrimination to comply with the constitutional requirements of due process and equal protection of the laws" (Perez
v. Sharp (1948) 32 Cal.2d 711, 714-715). The California Supreme Court explained that "the right to marry is the right to join in marriage with the person of one's choice" (Id., at p. 715).

(d) In 1977, the Legislature amended the state's marriage law to replace the gender-neutral description of marriage with language specifically limiting marriage to a "civil contract between a man and a woman." The Legislature's express purpose for this amendment was to prohibit same-sex couples from marrying. The gender-specific description of marriage that the Legislature adopted in 1977 specifically discriminated in favor of heterosexual couples and discriminated against, and continues to discriminate against, same-sex couples.


Since that time, there have been numerous initiatives, counter initiatives, legislative attempts, etc. that I mentioned above. I support attempts to get full marriage rights for gay people by any of these legal methods, including judicial decision.

I do understand your position, BAFler - but I simply disagree with it. I genuinely hope your perspective works for you - it wouldn't for me.

ETF: typo.

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2008-12-06 02:39 ]
One can certainly argue that marriage wasn't codified earlier because there wasn't contention as to its definition, but we all know these days that you need to be very careful with your language, because it can and will be interpreted in ways that you don't intend. It all comes back to the questions surrounding legal interpretation and its various theories.

I am going to go out on a limb (this always makes me popular) and say that to the state itself as a non-political entity (at least insofar as that's possible), any marriage between any two people theoretically encourages stability with the potential of raising new taxpayers so divorced from any moral or political angling, I believe that gay marriage supports the goals of the state (growth of the state economically and in population). Although, that may be offtopic ;). Not to hurt my hand patting us on the back, but I am proud of the way this thread has gone; go us ;)!
This would all be a lot easier if they just declared their constants up front, then you just change the #define for 'marriage' and you're away.

;-)

Your contention is that the interpretation was reasonable, and the decision was also reasonable. Do I have that right?

I have no idea and with the best will in the world, it's 9 a.m. here (that time changed a couple of times in the writing BTW ;) and i'm not going to read up on the case right now (I haven't even had my coffee yet ;). My point in mentioning that date twice is, 1803 is a long time ago in US history, right ? So the idea of judicial interpretation of the constitution isn't some late arrival to the process, nor some recent exceptionalist perversion of the process, it basically is [part of] the process - I mean the constitution was written in about 1787, right ? 16 years later i'd imagine a lot of the people involved in writing it were still around, do we know if they were all up in arms over Marbury v. Madison's brand of judicial interpretation because that's not how they meant it to work ?

Saje: That, plus your comment that you have "no particular reverence for 'process' or for holding particular documents sacred," tells me that you're an "end justifies the means" person. And I'm not.

Only in the sense that you are too IMO, despite what you hope/claim (see below). The constitution is there to guarantee people equality and liberty and all that good stuff, right ? Well, in this instance that's been achieved and the constitution and the processes surrounding it are doing OK too. I agree it (probably) doesn't adhere to the intent of those that drafted it but my point is, in this case it still works anyway if you choose to let it. So it's not "the ends justify the means" specifically it's more "What's the gist of the constitution and does this adhere to that ?". That's not to say that next time the interpretation might put the main thrust of the constitution in jeopardy and then you take steps to amend it instead.

I do agree though that the definition of marriage has been changed and I agree that if judicial interpretation is always about the words and the spirit (i.e. if that's how it's meant to work within your system) then the Supreme Court judges didn't follow your system in this instance. My own perspective is, that's OK (cos that's basically how ours works anyway and the end result is in keeping with the constitution in general, particularly its first section) but I do understand if you want to avoid "kruft" creeping into your laws over time by stipulating that ALL interpretations inconsistent with when the constitution was written or the intent of the original drafters MUST be accompanied by an amendment (and, strictly, you need to go back and fix all the times - if any - that they weren't). Personally I think that messiness might just be a sign of time passing but I appreciate the attempt to write "self-documenting code" ;).

Without a common law of some kind, all we have to determine what is just is a feeling. That's not enough.

That's what justice is anyway IMO, as I say, laws are (when you strip them down) just those feelings codified to offer some kind of "proof" that they're "real" (i.e. that they're the feelings most people agree on) and process is a way of applying those codifications in the real (no quotes i.e. messy, actual) world. Laws and process have no inherent worth outside what we (as a consensus) feel about them which is why every legal system is a means/ends situation because the will of the many will always contradict the will of some one and it'll always be enforced, ultimately, by weight of numbers or main strength so it's always about least harm or most good (if murder makes someone happy they're no longer free to pursue it ;). That is, until the meaning of 'human' changes, then we might need an amendment ;).

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