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Post 0

Monday, March 8, 2004 - 6:49amSanction this postReply
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Brilliantly argued Ross.
 
"Furthermore, it’s sponsors should be told to go away, stop wasting everyone’s time, read some Jefferson, Madison, et al, and learn what a constitution is properly about."
 
Does this mean you are in favour of Bush and Schwarzeneger being voted out, or just sent to Library for some serious reading and contemplation?
 
I must say that Schwarzenegger has shown himself up as a complete hypocrite by saying during the election campaign that he is pro "gay rights". Bush, on the other hand, never claimed to be anything other than a bible thumping fundamentalist Christian.




Post 1

Monday, March 8, 2004 - 10:38amSanction this postReply
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Mr. Elliot:

I don't favor the amendment, but I recognize that there exists a serious argument for it.  It will restrain judges from redefinining marriage.  Judges are increasingly out of control in this country, replacing the rule of law they are sworn to uphold with the imposition of their whims.  The proper response to this seizure of power by the judiciary is not patchwork amendments, but the executive and legislative branches' re-assertion of their equal authority to interpret the Constitution.  But the constituency for such a political resolution of the problem is not there, so I expect our "statesmen" to continue refraining from bold action to control the judiciary for the foreseeable future.

Regards,
Citizen Rat a.k.a. Bill


Post 2

Monday, March 8, 2004 - 10:56amSanction this postReply
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Very good. Although many Americans do not know the significance of the Constitution I think many of them are hesitant about this amendment. Recent polls show that although a lot of Americans are against homosexual marriage, most Americans do not support a constitutional amendment. I think such polls show that most of the American public still believes that the constitution is sacred, but they don't know why it's sacred.

I do have to disagree when you say it doesn't matter what the motivation is behind this amendment. It does matter, as the whole purpose of this amendment is 'gay-bashing' or thinking of homosexuals as second-class citizens. While it is true that the constitution's purpose is to protect individuals from a leviathan, what if people think that homosexuals are not individuals? This is not absurd, all you have to do is look back at the history of said Constitution; a slave used to be considered three fifths of a man.

This amendment is nothing but the attempt by some Republicans and the Bush Administration to spread evangelical christianity. Their claimed goal is to protect the sanctity of marriage. If the goal is to protect the sanctity of marriage then why should 'divorce' not be banned? The banning of divorce is not only a logical conclusion, but also the most practical solution to protecting the sanctity of marriage. Since no one yet has even come close to advocating the banning of divorce or other things that harm the sanctity of marriage, the obvious motivation behind the amendment is gay-bashing.

Interesting statistics from U.S. Government:

Percentage of first marriages that end in divorce in 1997=50%

Percentage of remarriages that end in divorce in 1997=60%

Post 3

Monday, March 8, 2004 - 5:14pmSanction this postReply
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Marcus: I'm not sure what Arnie meant by "gay rights". I'm not sure what anyone means by gay rights. I know what people mean when they propose special privileges for gays, or women, or ethnic groups, or the disabled, et al, and it's wrong. You see, the article was not pro-gay or anti-gay, just as a similar article on slavery would not have been pro-black or anti-black. The article was pro-individual. And the best protection for gays to form whatever types of relationships they wish is a constitution that restrains government and doesn't seek to define what are proper and non-proper relations between individuals. All of that is solely a matter of contract and compact, which, in effect, is what a constitution is, a compact between individuals and their representative body.

Bill: you worry about judges redefining marriage. Let's say a judge defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Where would his warrant be for that? The law? Well, that would both be unconsitutional either at state level or at federal level. Since the (federal) constitution  gives congress no power to define marriage then such laws or judicial decisions would be invalid. The common law I refer to in my article is not the judicial prerogative to define marriage but a common law corpus that establishes interpretations regarding contracts between individuals. Is there a state constitution that defines marriage?

As a matter of common law, let's say two people (men, women, black, white, doesn't matter) live together in a physical, emotional union for a period of time. They may consider this marriage, they may not. Then they decide to end their relationship. They can't decide amicably as to how they should split their assets so they have to resort to the courts. Justice will prevail based on the evidence that each is able to present. Where does the concept of marriage come in?

Having said that though, I believe, strongly, that there is no greater moment between two people as when they undertake formally, in front of witnesses, to hold true to each other, for better or worse. Yes, this is marriage, but need the state become involved in it? Perhaps they have a prenuptial agreement. Perhaps not. They, and they alone must decide.

Russ: I agree that the purpose of the amendment is the embedding of a spritual perspective in the constitution, but my point about that being immaterial was the greater harm being done to the constitution per se and it's proper function. Protect that function and all individuals, gay, or other, will be safe from unwarranted intrusions.

(Edited by Ross Elliot on 3/08, 8:18pm)

(Edited by Ross Elliot on 3/08, 8:21pm)


Post 4

Monday, March 8, 2004 - 5:21pmSanction this postReply
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And, further: the great achievement of the founding fathers was to enable, through the constitution and bill of rights, a dynamic, pluralistic society where justice was blind and based on property rights, the most important of all being, irreducibly, the individual's right in his most sacred property, himself.

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Post 5

Monday, March 8, 2004 - 6:11pmSanction this postReply
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The new "J" Amendment:

Law of Consent:  No part or branch of the government may fashion laws restricting or promoting relations between consenting parties, which do not abridge the rights of third parties.
 
Sounds easy enough...


Post 6

Monday, March 8, 2004 - 10:10pmSanction this postReply
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If we "need" this amendment, wouldn't we then need an amendment for every single thing (concept) that "is"? It doesn't matter what a judge in California might say, a man and man, or a woman and a woman cannot be "married". That doesn't equate to any concept of marriage that has ever existed, does it? Are we going to have our words and concepts "mean" something or not? Civil Unions, or whatever else someone (or government) might want to conceptualize and call those relationships, fine, but not marriage, we already have that concept and it is between a man and a woman. If we are going to change the meaning of the word, why should we stop there? What if a man wanted to "marry" his dog? Or monkey? Should we bring those "facts" into the concept of marriage also?

Then, more specifically in response to this : "While it is true that the Constitution's purpose is to protect individuals from a leviathan, what if people think that homosexuals are not individuals? This is not absurd, all you have to do is look back at the history of said Constitution; a slave used to be considered three fifths of a man."

How are you going to control what "people" think? Any individual can believe a homosexual to be an individual or not. A government, now that's something else, even though I don't see how refusing to recognize homosexuals as being capable of being "married" amounts to denying their freedom or individuality.

The fact that slaves were considered to be three fifths of a man has more to do with ACKNOWLEDGING the slaves individuality than denying it. Read the Federalist Papers, specifically James Madison Number 54 The Apportionment of Members Among the States. The gist of the text is that the Southern states were not going to be allowed to have their cake and eat it too. To quote :

"Could it be reasonably expected that the Southern States would concur in a system which considered their slaves in some degree as men when burdens were to be imposed, but refused to consider them in the same light when advantages were to be conferred?"

There is nothing racist in slaves being considered as three fifths of a man, in fact, this was truly the ground work for abolishing slavery, as it should have been. It was a foot in the door, it was the government acknowledging that slavery was wrong, and those states that allowed slavery within their borders would pay for it. It wasn't so severe that the Southern States wouldn't come aboard and sign on, yet it was an indication of exactly where things were going to go. Incrementalism at it's finest.

The people whose ancestors were slaves (as I am sure many of mine were somewhere at sometime) should be thanking those "Dead Old White Guys" who founded this great country.

I am sure there is some gay-bashing behind some individual's beliefs concerning the issue of "gay" marriage and amendments, etc. To say that the "obvious motivation" is gay-bashing is in itself "absurd." If someone attempts to have their concepts, and words mean things, and continue to mean those same things, that doesn't automatically equate to x-bashing. The bigger issue, I believe, concerns whether we should call on Merriam-Webster, or American Heritage to amend our Constitution word by word.

Take care!

The REAL Tom Green


Post 7

Tuesday, March 9, 2004 - 12:22amSanction this postReply
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For my part I think that same sex marriage should be allowed to occur.  But Mr. Green brings up some points in his paragraphs that I would like to highlight and comment on.

 

First, we have the tradition concept and definition of marriage.  Should this be changed?  If it is changed then how long before other concepts are adjusted for other reasons? 

 

Mr. Green, while I understand your concern for a redefining of every concept in the constitution.  It was as you pointed out the redefining of slaves as 3/5ths men that was the first step to the recognition of their existence as men, instead of property.  In this case redefining the concept of what a man is was rather important. 

 

I think that redefining marriage is also important to recognizing that people of the same sex also enter into life long bonds.  This recognition is important because it matters for things like child adoption, taxes, insurance, etc.  Placing same sex marriage under a simple civil union category may make way for a new type of discrimination based upon the type of nuptial you have.  Though this example is not completely sound; the creation of two names for something that is pretty much the same except for the sex of the parties involved seems to be a ‘separate but equal’ attempt at solving the problem.

 

Secondly, Mr. Green’s fears of men getting married to animals may be unfounded. However many Americans are against gay marriage because of the legal slippery slope that is being opened up by allowing same sex marriage under the ‘equal protection under the law’ clause will make way for incest marriage, and polygamy; types of marriage that are currently not allowed by society.  And certainly not advocated by me.  The question does arise though, does the state have the right to step in and tell two consenting human adults they cannot be married?

 

Truly,

 
Eric J. Tower


Post 8

Tuesday, March 9, 2004 - 12:27amSanction this postReply
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It always comes back to one essential truth: People want to have sex with monkeys.
http://www.reason.com/links/links030204.shtml

And on a serious note, marriage is historically a religious thing.  Maybe atheists shouldn't be allowed to be married either!


Post 9

Tuesday, March 9, 2004 - 5:54amSanction this postReply
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Ross:
Bill: you worry about judges redefining marriage. Let's say a judge defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Where would his warrant be for that? The law?
Whatever the statute is that the legislature passed regarding marriage.

So, in this instance the judge would not be defining marriage but rather interpreting the law.  If marriage is to be re-defined to include non-traditional couplings, then, as you know, that is properly a matter for state legislatures under the Constitution, not judges (under the separation of powers doctrines) or the federal government (under the principles of federalism).

So, my point was that Bush's proposed amendment does address one issue that would re-inforce the Constitution as written, which is to rein in judges who want to usurp the power of the legislature to re-define marriage.  Even so, I agree that the amendment should be rejected.  First, we should be chary about those things that should be brought into the federal government's domain (basically in accord with the argument you made).  Second, patchwork barricades against the judiciary's assault upon the constitutional process of lawmaking won't work.

Third, the proposed amendment does smack of special interest legislation like the Prohibition amendment, although I do not agree with the cartoonish characterizations of the so-called religious right that others have complained about.

Regards,
Citizen Rat a.k.a. Bill


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Post 10

Tuesday, March 9, 2004 - 5:56amSanction this postReply
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If you believe marriage between anything--man/man, woman/woman, cat/dog, man/zebra--should be allowed, you're advocating State intervention in private lives.  The government shouldn't concern itself with allowing anything that goes on between consenting adults that does not violate the rights of others.  If it's allowed, then it can be un-allowed.  It should be a given that the State will make no laws to hinder the freedom of its citizens. (This means it will make laws restricting, say, murder--which hinders the freedom of its citizens.  Work with me, people.) 

The J Amendment would, in fact, not be restricted to marriage.  It is quite over-arching.  Drug use, business transactions, shipping, postal services, labor, manufacturing, prostitution.  You name it.  The government has no business in most of things that many people take for granted as "government-allowed".

As for redefining marriage, who exactly is going to redefine anything?  I don't care what other private citizens think marriage is.  They can think whatever they like.  The point is: our government shouldn't be defining it.  Compulsory taxes should go, child adoption and insurance should be handled privately, and the courts shouldn't compel anyone to testify in court (see that spousal protection law, or whatever it's called).

This is why I wrote in no law restricting or promoting, because the State has no call defining, positively or negatively, relations between its citizens.  Marriage should be a religious ceremony, and that's it.  Bottom line.  Judges allowing people to get married?!?  What the hell business is it of their's?

J


Post 11

Tuesday, March 9, 2004 - 6:39amSanction this postReply
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"Mr. Green, while I understand your concern for a redefining of every concept in the constitution. It was as you pointed out the redefining of slaves as 3/5ths men that was the first step to the recognition of their existence as men, instead of property. In this case redefining the concept of what a man is was rather important."

Sorry, but I don't believe James Madison or the other Founding Fathers were attempting to REDEFINE what a man was. They were AFFIRMING what they knew a man to be, and truly what a man *IS*, whether that man was a slave or not. They were RIGHT, the slave owning States were WRONG. They were preventing the Southern States from changing the definition based on a reality that doesn't exist and they were attempting to unify the Southern States schizophrenic view of those in their servitude. They were confirming that A is A. Weren't they?

While the "men marrying animals" idea may be a stretch, it points out the fact that one individual declaring something to be, doesn't make it so.

There is no need to redefine marriage to allow homosexuals to have the same governmental, legal "benefits" as a married couple. There are other means that don't involve accepting something other than reality.

"The question does arise though, does the state have the right to step in and tell two consenting human adults they cannot be married?"

Perhaps. I don't believe that it has much to do with a State's "right" to do anything other than affirm reality. The state doesn't need the right to tell two consenting human adults of the same sex that they cannot, together, just the two of them, bear children. That is just a fact.

"And on a serious note, marriage is historically a religious thing. Maybe atheists shouldn't be allowed to be married either!"

Historically marriage appears to be a religious thing, because of the ceremony I suppose. Does that mean it *IS* a religious thing? One of the few things that the major religions have EVER done right is to grasp the concept of marriage and to extol it's virtues. They have different reasons for extolling those virtues however, most of which have nothing to do with recognizing the reality of the fact that there are human benefits to behaving in a manner that defines being "married." One of those human benefits is procreation. Not procreation for procreations sake. Not just because they CAN procreate, but because when they DO procreate the correct environment is more likely to be present in order to properly deal with the results of the procreation. I believe a child, to be correctly taught how to be a human being, benefits in reality by having a female mother and a male father, I know, I know... it's an old fashioned ignorant belief, bereft with homophobia, unfortunately for anyone who wants to argue the point, it is the truth. A is A. Anything else is less than ideal in terms of human benefits.

There is one difference in me holding my beliefs and someone believing the opposite in this case. I don't DEMAND that they believe what I do. I don't tell them they are filled with hate because they don't believe the truth. I will merely state that they are wrong and move on. I do not ask them to alter reality. I will even accept that they can be wrong but still should be afforded certain benefits rightly ascribed to people who behave responsibly and monogamously (two traits beneficial to being a happy healthy human being). They will hint at, or straight up accuse me of being ignorant, hateful, and not worthy of the knowledge of what is right, and then attempt to change reality and redefine truth. What to do when one's psychological makeup clashes with their own philosophy...

Down the slippery slope to where certain people will begin to take things personally and choose to believe that *I* define them, thereby bypassing their own responsibility in defining themselves, and right into their choice of whether or not they will be offended.

I am not sorry if I offended someone. It is *your* responsibility to make the choice of whether or not to be offended, not mine.

--
The REAL Tom Green

Moses supposes his toeses are roses,
But Moses supposes erroneously;
For nobody's toeses are posies or roses
As Moses supposes his toeses to be.


Post 12

Tuesday, March 9, 2004 - 7:44amSanction this postReply
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The question does arise though, does the state have the right to step in and tell two consenting human adults they cannot be married?
The first amendment imposes a separation between church and state.  "Marriage" is a religious institution.  Therefore, the government cannot tell two consenting adults that they can or cannot be married.

In fact, I'm not sure why the government has anything to do with the process of marriage to begin with.  Any kind of "civil union" records needed for census purposes could be called "civil unions" and not "marriages," to avoid the religious connotation.  To even call such a legal arrangement a "marriage" seem to imply that the government is sanctioning some religion.


Post 13

Tuesday, March 9, 2004 - 1:46pmSanction this postReply
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Tom Green:

Although one is hard pressed to find an example of collectively recognized same sex marriage--I have heard of successful homosexual marriage occurring in classical times that resulted in execution--do not try and feed me such a line of bullshit by implying that the concept of marriage has never changed. The concept of marriage, from non-volitional to religious rules to multiple partners, has changed during the course of human history. Also, from an Objectivist perspective, the argument from tradition is very weak.

In regards to slavery, while I'm sure Madison and others had good intentions, I consider the 3/5ths agreement as nothing but appeasement of evil. In their compromise they were not confirming that A is A, as you say, they were confirming that A is 3/5ths of A, a contradiction.

Post 14

Saturday, March 13, 2004 - 12:33amSanction this postReply
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The key thing to realise here is simple: some crazy Christians have snuck quietly through the democratic system and grabbed hold of the controls. This is just their latest folly. Of course the Constitution shouldn't be amended by these idiots! Of course gay people should get married if they want!

Seriously, with an election a few months away, anyone who trots out the "Tweedledum and Tweedledee" argument needs their head read.

There's a time and place to vote Republican: but it sure ain't this year.

- Daniel

Post 15

Saturday, March 13, 2004 - 2:20pmSanction this postReply
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Daniel Barnes: I agree. We can survive Kerry's economics, just like we survived Clinton's. We have to remember that Bush is nothing but a half-assed Democrat when it comes to economic policy. The only thing Bush has to run on is The War on Terror. So we have to ask: What has Bush done in the war on terror? The only thing he has done for the war on terrorism is target Afghanistan, and build a Home Land Defense Department. There is no doubt in my mind that Al Gore or Kerry, as President, would have taken the war to Afghanistan. As for a Home Land Defense Dept., the government has both the FBI and the NSA plus other organizations that could have done the same job. Not to mention that Israel probably has the best 'Home Land Defense Dept.' around; obviously there is more to fighting terrorism than waiting until the terrorists arrive on your doorstep.

Post 16

Saturday, December 16 - 12:35pmSanction this postReply
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Generally, across all cultures, marriage is about status, and mostly, that means property. With thousands of human societies, there are many examples, counter-examples and exceptions, but I stand by the generalization. Obviously, we can find the roots of property in animal territory. We know from observation that even dogs and cats perceive "fairness." But, humans represent a quantum leap over animals. How and when might have been dramatic or maybe it just seems that way from our perpective. (A geology professor once told me that the eons are like pages in a book: you can read this page, the previous one, or the next one, but you can't read the edge.) The bottom line is that from our experience at least since the last Ice Age, the reason that dogs cannot marry fire hydrants - much as they seem to like them - is that neither the dog nor the hydrant can petition a court to recognize the union. Can a human marry an animal or an inanimate object?  Again, the barrier is reasoned consent. Absent reason, consent cannot exist.  

 

The discussion here touched on many points over 15 posts. A lot was said. Marriage is not necessarily religious. It is true that most societies have religions that explain their rites of passage. But my mother's second marriage took place in the mayor's office. A justice of the peace, a magistrate, the captain of a ship, heck, the captain of an airliner, or your favorite aunt can officiate the ceremony. The papers are filed with a civil authority, the county clerk typically. But, people have been married within religious communities that were outside of civil law, extreme Protestants in extremely Catholic places, Jews almost everywhere. 

 

When I was in high school, we leered over the fact that the age of consent in Maine was 14. It has since been changed.  But that speaks to a problem here with Sharia Law. Does a "community" (however defined; and that definition is highly consequential) have the right to its own laws? Does a city or a state? Can you have a city with majority rule Sharia Law?  Yes, much might be challenged as contrary to the US Constitution or the state constitution. But that speaks to the very core of objective law. Back in 1968, I volunteered briefly to gather voter registrations working with the Democrat Party in South Carolina. But the party rules still held to the old state laws against miscegenation. I was not supposed to register someone who married outside of their race. So, I quit before I got started. That was an example of a "society" an American state with its own "community" laws. Again, you could vote if you were white and you could vote (in theory) if you were colored. But you could not vote if you were a white person married to a colored person because marrying across racial lines was illegal. The state defined marriage.



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