Blog Debate: My Rebuttal to Question 1

It's my turn to refute Owen's response to the first question. Here's my answer and his rebuttal to that. Like Owen, if I had more than 250 words, I'd write a chattier post, but in 250 words this'll be short and to the point.

On Monday I thanked Owen for his participation. Today I want to extend my warm thanks to Jenna for agreeing to moderate and for keeping track of us over on her blog.

Now. Let's roll.

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These scare stories are just that: stories.
They’re true stories. Organizations that are otherwise neutral regarding gay causes have examined the language, consulted attorneys, and concluded the same thing. Most bans passed two years ago; litigation hasn't run its course. Meanwhile, opponents of gay families keep using bans to file lawsuits.
Even Kentucky, which passed a gay marriage amendment in 2004 with the exact wording of Wisconsin’s proposed amendment, didn’t see any of the negative consequences that the “no” crowd predicted.
No public employer there offers partner benefits. The University of Louisville wants them; opponents say they'll sue.
So why is there a second sentence at all? Because lawyers are tricky and the supporters of the amendment are worried about a future legislature just creating marriage for gay folks and calling it something else.

. . .

Wisconsin may legalize gay marriage at some point in the future, but it should be done legislatively - not judicially. The gay marriage amendment preserves the people’s right to define marriage as they see fit.
Blocking a "future legislature" from granting civil unions already favored by most Wisconsinites hardly amounts to democratic process. It instead lets civil-unions opponents decide, while inexplicably blocking the rest of us from petitioning for anything less than constitutional change.

“Lawyers are tricky.” Exactly our point. But you can’t use this argument and then cry “scare tactics” when others say the same. Lawyers are even trickier when they have sloppy, open-ended constitutional amendments to play around with.
As the amendment is written, it is narrowly targeted to reinforce something that is already illegal.
Now that's hyperbolic. Legislators in Hawaii drafted an actual "narrowly targeted" amendment, one that truly lets the people decide. Theirs reads: “The legislature shall have the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples.”
If the gay marriage amendment fails, expect full legalized gay marriage within three years.
Talk about a scare tactic. Two of the more liberal supreme courts in the country just said no to marriage cases, making the case law stronger, and decreasing likelihood that they will succeed in the future. Cases take years to reach Supreme Court decisions. Besides, Wisconsin’s courts are different than those in Massachusetts—our justices are elected not appointed.

Finally, I was interested in Owen’s thoughts on the moral effects of the ban and wish he had shared them.

18 Comments:

At 10:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would have cut the last sentence. You are getting into too much of a religion/moral mindset. Those that care, do. Those that don't aren't persuaded much by those arguments, so use those words in other ways? Also, who cares if he didn't address the question. Do you really want to hear that argument spelled out in morals? It could be ugly and most have heard it already.

 
At 11:07 PM, Blogger Realism said...

Regarding the morality of the ban-Supporters of this amendment seem to forget that morals and values are not static, but rather evolve over time to reflect the realities of our culture. The closest analogy to the current debate over banning gay marriage or anything similar would be to the anti-miscegenation laws in the United States.

As this example shows, just because a certain moral “code” has majority support doesn’t mean that it reflects the “higher morality” that we strive toward.

Sometimes, when the “moral arbiters” of society (judges) decide that a rule is immoral, they will define it as such, even against the majority’s wishes. That is part of their purpose in society. For example, regarding anti-miscegenation laws, Supreme Court ruled that
Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival.... To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law.” At this time, miscegenation was viewed to be morally wrong by the majority in the United States, just as gay marriage is today. Basically, the majority is not always right or moral.

In the past when I’ve made this comparison, people have argued that miscegenation and gay marriage are not similar because with interracial marriage, there are still offspring produce, which tends to be rare or incedental in gay marriage. To this I say, why do we still allow the benefits of civil marriage to hetrosexuals that are infertile or do not wish to have children but deny them to gay people that do have children?

As I stated in my comment at boots&sabers, gay people have the exact same civic responsibilities as hetrosexuals. They don't get to decline paying into Social Security, even though their partners won't be able to get the benefits after they pass away, for example. What justification could there be to deny them the same, or at least “substantially similar” privileges?

 
At 12:10 AM, Anonymous Mary W. said...

I am heterosexual and an ardent opponent of the gay marriage ban. One of my largest motivations for working against this ban whenever possible is my husband Rodney. He suffered a stroke a little over a year ago. If we were a gay couple without any of the protections our marriage affords us, I would have little say in his medical decisions, financial decisions, his cares, all of that. My hands would be tied and I would just have to sit back helplessly while others who don't know crap about him call all the shots.

There must be millions in the LGBT community dealing with this heartache everyday, but they shouldn't have to! Everyone has the right to be with someone they love and have equal legal protections to cement their commitment to each other.

I call on my fellow straights to fight this amendment because this could happen to someone you love. We are all one in this struggle.

 
At 8:02 AM, Anonymous k2aggie07 said...

If thats all the LGBT community wants, they should petition to have laws made to strengthen the ability of someone to hold power of attorney or next of kin privileges.

The problem is, that isn't all they want. Homosexual are attempting to strong-arm their morality onto society through judicial activism. As for miscegenation, simply because one good deed was done in the wrong way doesn't give us moral clearance to fire away. Society ought to be able to determine its own morality, not have its morals decided for it by a judge and a vocal minority.

 
At 9:07 AM, Blogger Jenn said...

At this time, miscegenation was viewed to be morally wrong by the majority in the United States, just as gay marriage is today. Basically, the majority is not always right or moral.

Right on, Realism.

 
At 9:21 AM, Blogger Rebecca said...

k2aggie07:

Powers of attorney and next of kin privileges are important issues, but they are not the only issues.

The change to miscegeny laws was done in the wrong way? How else was it to be done?

Part of the court's responsibility is to judge laws as constitutional or not. It seems to me that most folks are hollering "judicial activism" when courts are doing their job but make a decision that they don't agree with.

(by the way, an amendment was proposed in the early 1900s to try to put anti-miscengeny laws in the constitution itself. if that had passed, would you consider that as society determining its own morality and say it was ok?)

as for "Society ought to be able to determine its own morality, not have its morals decided for it by a judge and a vocal minority":

First of all, are minorities not part of society and are they not deserving of legal protections? (the constitution says otherwise)
If a majority claim that a class of people are morally inferior and should not be afforded certain things, is that then ok?

What about "a judge and a vocal minority" making moral decisions that remove domestic partner health insurance?

And, a majority, according to polls, in Wisconsin believe that civil unions are ok, but this amendment would do away with that possibility. How does that fit with your claim?

 
At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Kory said...

k2aggie07, I don't see any issues with pushing for "laws made to strengthen the ability of someone to hold power of attorney or next of kin privileges."

Wouldn't doing that though create a 'legal status substantially similar' to that of marriage? (Even if you don't think so, I'd wager there are attorneys and conservative lobbies who would...as Ingrid has shown in the examples from other states.)

So...the ban cannot exist in it's current form if you support these type of non-marriage legal arrangements. Welcome to the "No on the Ban" camp!

 
At 10:25 AM, Blogger Rebecca said...

My other question for k2aggie07 - when the time comes that the majority of society believes that all families and all children ought to have access to the rights, obligations and protections of civil marriage, will she/he accept that?

 
At 10:40 AM, Blogger Realism said...

k2aggie07- what do you say to my assertion that since gay people have the same civic responsibilities as hetros, and are expected to make the same types of contributions to society, that they should be able to reap the same benefits of society, regardless of whether people agree with their lifestyle?

Because that is what this whole argument boils down to.

 
At 10:58 AM, Blogger David Schowengerdt said...

k2aggie07, of course society should be able to determine it's morality. We do that all the time through various laws. But when those laws serve no clear, strong and proven rational purpose, then we run into problems. There are any number of church laws that could be put into civil law, but that doesn't mean they would serve any rational purpose whatsoever other than making the people who put them there happy.

As for strong-arming our morality onto society? That's how you see it because you don't see the forest for the trees. You see us as a "community", but by doing that you look past the fact that we're individuals, who together are as diverse as any other segment of society.

The reality is that we're individual human beings longing for the opportunity to fulfill our hopes and dreams and the ability to legally take care of each other. And we've used nothing but legal and ethical means to ask for access to those things.

 
At 11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, looks like FW has stopped censoring the comments! Guess they decided criticism of their approach to the debate was verboten.

 
At 11:44 AM, Anonymous Keith said...

I've been thinking recently about the moral arguments here, and from a Christian perspective rather than from a legal one. And Aggie's struggle makes some sense to me on those grounds.

The problem that some Christians have with gay marriage isn't a moral one, it's a sacramental one. The moral problem is not gay marriage, but same-sex intimacy.

Funny thing is that the amendment wouldn't do a thing to stop 2 guys from sharing carnal knowledge. With or without an amendment there will be thousands of Wisconsin couples doin' the nasty.

The only real MORAL effect of the amendment will be promiscuity. When faced with more and more legal difficulties in settling down, many couples simply give up. Rather than forming stable Christian families, they give up and return to cheap trashy promiscuity.

Is this the moral effect that the Christianists want?

 
At 1:19 PM, Anonymous Xavier said...

Are we wasting too much argument on wondering the moral effect that the religious want? Does campaigning for that segment come at other expense? Is our current argument set up to rely on people's niceness and sense of compassion?

Call opponents on the idea that WI can just have another constitutional amendment down the line if attitudes change, but this one passes. How many times has the WI constitution been amended, or reverse amended? WI's not Florida, for crissakes.

Explain something to unite everyone in the state -- the COST in legal fees, to push the constituional amendment, which will only increase if/when the amendment passes. The wording is vague, and there's going to be legal fights over what it means.
Ca-ching. Ca-ching.

Now if this were a pressing issue, and really needed if we didn't have that husband and wife language already, spend away. But it ain't free, folks. Really want to spend out the state coffers on this issue, rather than spending on the schools, where your kids might just play with a classmate with two moms?

It's not a crusade for everyone, just the smartest thing WI could do, independent of what's outside the state. Prioritize, and don't break a sweat amending for a problem that doesn't even exist here. When it becomes an important issue, take action then.

End the spending on this now. Kill the amendment. Thanks to the liberal church-going people for their help too.

 
At 4:32 PM, Blogger k2aggie07 said...

what do you say to my assertion that since gay people have the same civic responsibilities as hetros, and are expected to make the same types of contributions to society, that they should be able to reap the same benefits of society, regardless of whether people agree with their lifestyle?

I say that society limits folks' privileges all the time based on any number of lifestyle choices. Those who chose to drive while drunk, not pay child support, etc. are discriminated against regularly.

Why should a minority pushing for an illegal act be given any more credence than the criminal minority?

Furthermore, homosexuals do receive all the benefits that any heterosexual not engaging in marriage receives. The fact remains that marriage is, at the moment, defined as a union between a male and a female. This is merely an extension of the status quo.



when the time comes that the majority of society believes that all families and all children ought to have access to the rights, obligations and protections of civil marriage, will he accept that?

If and when that time comes, society will adjust to it, for better or for worse. Right now in America most people believe that homosexuality is detrimental to our society, much the same way they believe that drug use or sexual promiscuity are detrimental to society. This is why these things are frowned upon (as the rule, not the exception).

I'm not saying society will or won't determine that homosexuality is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I don't personally believe it is, but the Greeks did. However, to use a loophole in our governmental system (namely, legislation-through-judicial activism) is cheating, if you don't mind the colloqialism.

 
At 4:55 PM, Blogger Jenn said...

"Those who chose to drive while drunk, not pay child support, etc. are discriminated against regularly."

I don't believe your analogy holds any water, aggie, for the following reasons:

-The above examples are illegal. Being gay is not illegal.
-The above examples hurt other people or have the potential to do so. Being gay hurts no one else.
-No one is "pushing for gay marriage". It's already illegal; how can we push for it?

 
At 9:48 PM, Blogger David Schowengerdt said...

I think what would be really helpful, k2aggie07, is to tell us how civil unions or marriage for gay couples would harm society. Instead of concentrating on your opinions and beliefs on the "gay community", "activist courts", etc, it would be great to hear why you think we should enshrine the status quo in our state constitution.

And by the way, my being gay is absolutely no lifestyle choice. It's a part of who I am to the core and always has been since my earliest memories (in fact my dad just told me a few weeks ago he always knew). You can tell me otherwise until you're blue in the face, but it IS a fact. Sure, I choose to act on my orientation, just like any straight person does, but to me, the immoral thing would be to lie and deceive.

 
At 11:00 AM, Blogger Rebecca said...

k2aggie07 says
Furthermore, homosexuals do receive all the benefits that any heterosexual not engaging in marriage receives. The fact remains that marriage is, at the moment, defined as a union between a male and a female. This is merely an extension of the status quo.

Regarding the first sentence:
I am not single. In every way, except legally, I am married. The only difference is that I don't have access to the legal contract and recognition that is civil marriage.

as for the amendment being an "extension of the status quo" - it is not. The amendment does more than just limit marriage to heterosexuals.

 
At 12:16 PM, Blogger Realism said...

k2aggie07 says "Those who chose to drive while drunk, not pay child support, etc. are discriminated against regularly."

That is not discrimination, it is punishment for violating the rules of society. Gay people are being punished for no reason.

Again, you have failed to note any harm to society that would occur if this amendment is not passed. Opponents of the amendment have laid out how society will be harmed if gay people are denied not only marriage, but anything "substantially similar". Supporters of the resolution have only pointed to the fact that gay marriage is currently illegal as justification for keeping it illegal.

You seem to have a big problem with the "activist judges". You said "However, to use a loophole in our governmental system (namely, legislation-through-judicial activism) is cheating This is not cheating. It is part of the system of checks and balances that the framers instituted. They created the system this way to protect the rights of minorties aganst the "tyranny of the majority" The purpose of the judicial branch is to act as a protection against exactly the same kind of discrimination that this amendment represents. As I pointed out above, just because the majority wants to deny rights or privileges to the minority, doesn't make it right. The Judicial branch acts as a safeguard to protect the rights of the minority.

This amendment seeks to deny civil protections to people based on their sexual orientation.

There is no harm to society when gay people marry, in fact there are benefits to society when we encourage strong, stable families.

There are harms to society when gay people are denied civil marriage. Gay people are part of society, you know. Why should we take such extreme measures against a segment of society when it provides no benefit for society as a whole?

 

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