Blog Debate: My Rebuttal to Question 4

And finally, after a month of debate, here's my rebuttal to Owen's response to the final question.


Owen’s response rests on three false claims:

(1) that gay families have no chance of legislative success;
(2) that the ban’s sole effect is to place a “constitutional barricade” in front of the courts; and,
(3) that a “yes” vote places power into the hands of elected representatives.

The first is clearly wrong. As I mentioned in my rebuttal last week, Connecticut recently became the second state to offer civil unions, and they did so legislatively. Also, California’s legislature passed a marriage bill. It was vetoed, but passage was a clear sign that marriage can succeed legislatively. Legislatures have also passed comprehensive domestic partnership bills into law in Hawaii, New Jersey, and California.

The second is also factually incorrect. Owen isn’t even talking about the amendment we’ll be voting on. If he were, he’d include a list of reasons we need a “constitutional barricade” in front of the legislature as well. Rep. Gundrum and Sen. Fitzgerald could have written a very different amendment--one that does no more than limit the courts. They didn’t, and any adequate support for the ban needs to justify the whole thing. You can’t just pick those effects you approve, while pretending the rest don’t exist.

Which leads to the third claim. This amendment ties the legislature’s hands. It takes power away from the people-- a majority of whom favor either marriage or civil unions for gay couples.

Without even one of these claims, the response becomes weak. Without any, it doesn't stand up.


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