I find two things interesting about Owen's excellent contribution to the debate.(1) His argument is largely based on the idea that the amendment will likely do nothing at all. In that case, I ask, "Why bother?"He bolsters the case by recognizing that nothing has happened in the 20 (s/b 19?) states that have passed similar amendments. But I think the fact is, since the amendments are only a year old, the litigation simply hasn't worked its way through yet.(2) His minor premise is that, if the amendment does anything, it is an insurance policy against judicial activism. But our own Attorney General and a huge number of attorneys in the state have weighed in. Clearly, they say, there will be no choice but to throw things before activist courts IF THE AMENDMENT PASSES.Someone would need to iron out the effect on all the contracts that have been signed (at great personal and financial expense) by families, employers, etc.
Owen is not debating fairly on the question of what is going on in Michigan in his rebuttal. He fails to mention that the Michigan judge's ruling upholding DP benefits has been appealed by the Attorney General. Oral arguments were held on April 11, 2006, and his rebuttal links to a story dated September of 2005.
Owen might as well use his 750 words by typing "I don't like gay marriage" 150 times, because that's about all he has to say.One of the most disappointing things is that he just ignores the real consequences of the amendments that passed in places like Ohio, Utah, and Michigan. It's not just a "scare story" that lawyers are trying to use the amendments to invalidate domestic violence protections between straight couples, or that they have been used to deny domestic partner health benefits. Those are real examples, but Owen just ignores whatever doesn't agree with what he wants.Then he uses the tired argument that marriage equality was imposed on the people of Massachusetts by activist judges: as if there weren't a lot of people (a majority according to some polling) who support marriage equality, and as if there weren't a role for the courts in protecting the rights of minorities -- as in, say, the segregated South.Then, maybe strangest of all, he says passing the Wisconsin amendment would be no problem because if the people ever want marriage equality in the future, we can just re-amend the constitution! The question is, why should there be a special barrier in the constitution just for doing this?The answer is just that Owen wants it that way. And that's essentially the way all supporters of the ban are.They can never point to any specific harm that's being done to them. They just imagine that their rights are being infringed by having to share the country with others. It's not enough that they can think, live, and believe the way they want. They want to make sure that others can't -- now or in the future. They want to change the constitution today so they can keep minding other people's business tomorrow.We need to tell them no.
I wonder if Owen succeeded.He got across a short meme.I won't repeat it here.But that prediction is what people may take away. Silly, unfounded, yes. But think of how the undecided mind that visits his blog may work.People here are debating rationally, and that meme is passed into circulation.
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