Blog Debate: My Rebuttal to Question 3

Here's the third question, my answer, Owen's answer, his rebuttal to me, and now, my rebuttal to him:

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This is precisely why the second sentence of the marriage amendment exists. The objective of the amendment is to protect the institution of marriage from being arbitrarily redefined by a court.

First, gay marriage or civil unions won't--and shouldn't--be “arbitrarily” mandated by a court. It's not like Supreme Court decisions are made by throwing the dice.

Second, Owen argues the ban is needed to stop courts and keep the legislative process open. But I’ll say it again: if the ban passes, the conversation we’re having now is moot. To draft legislation that could someday provide gay families even some marriage-like legal protections, we’d have to spend years, energy, and lots more money to overturn this thing.

The ban locks gay families out of the legislative process. Owen never demonstrates why this is necessary.
Of course, nobody actually bothers to define “civil unions.”
Vermont invented and defined civil unions in 2002. Recently, Connecticut’s Republican governor made that state the second to offer them. Civil unions provide gay couples with, by definition, all the state-provided protections and obligations of marriage. Nowhere else in America does “civil union” exist as a legal status.
In the end, I suspect that the opponents’ rhetorical attack on the amendment that the second sentence “goes too far” because it “bans civil unions” will work on some folks…
Many people do support civil unions and that’s why they’ll vote “no.” Even those who disagree on gay marriage believe the ban goes too far, not only because it bans civil unions, but because it also jeopardizes existing legal arrangements for unmarried couples.
Remember that this issue is only on the radar of a sliver of the population. Most people will walk into the voting booth in November, skim the ballot … and check YES because [they’ll agree with the first part]…
That’s why the “no” side of the campaign is working hard to talk with voters. Amending the constitution is a big deal. Voters deserve to fully understand what they’re deciding. The language of the ban is confusing; but we continue to find that once people see the bigger picture, they’re more likely to vote against it.

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