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How Conservatives Have Moved The Goalposts On Same-Sex Marriage

Commenting on Chris Christie’s decision to veto New Jersey’s same -sex marriage bill in favor of a referendum and the news that there will likely be a referendum to overturn the imminent legalization of gay marriage in Maryland, Andrew Sullivan makes an excellent point about how conservatives have manged to move the goalposts on same-sex marriage even as they continue to lose ground:

[W]hen we first started this push for marriage equality 23 years ago or so, we were told this was an interesting if obviously nuts idea. But the opposition was adamant about one thing: the courts had nothing whatever to do with ensuring minority rights, if that minority were gay. Going the court route was undemocratic. I remember being lectured on this by the Congressional Committee in the DOMA hearings in 1996.

And I saw their point at the time when public opinion was so hostile. I was always more leery of the court strategy than my friend and ally in the fledgling movement, Evan Wolfson, at the time. I didn’t want a Roe-style over-reach. I thought that public education and state legislative debate was the right way forward. If in the end, the courts reacted to a shift in public opinion, and we won the constitutional and legal arguments, great. But I thought state legislatures were the main way to go.

So we did. And guess what? They moved the goalposts on us. When we actually began to win in state legislatures, such as California (twice!), or New Hampshire, or now Maryland and New Jersey and Washington State, that process became suddenly unacceptable – and undemocratic! – as well. Even on an issue many hold to be a core civil right, we were told the courts were irrelevant and now that the legislatures were irrelevant. This was particularly odd coming from conservatives who at one point in time were strong believers in restraints on majority tyranny.

Sullivan is right on point here. The infamous Defense of Marriage Act was prompted, after all, by fears that a 1993 Hawaii Supreme Court decision was about to open the door to same-sex marriage nationwide. Some ten years later, a decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court led to that state becoming the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. In 2008, the Connecticut Supreme Court did the same thing in a ruling that said the the state’s civil union law did not provide equal rights to homosexuals.  And, in 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court followed suit with a decision that ultimately resulted in several members of the Iowa Supreme Court being voted out of office in 2010.  Each time this happened, the rhetoric we heard from the right resonated around the idea of an unelected judiciary imposing same-sex marriage on an unwilling public.  In fact, when the California Supreme Court followed in the steps of Massachusetts and Connecticut in 2008, the forces arrayed against marriage equality responding by pushing a ballot initiative that reversed the decision by defining marriage under state law as being only between a man and a woman.

The argument wasn’t an unfair one, in some respects. Public attitudes about homosexuality in general, and same-sex marriage in particular, have only recently started to turn around to the point where it’s realistic to say that the idea enjoys some level of general public acceptance. Additionally, a judicial ruling that expands the definition of marriage to include members of the same sex is, in several respects, fundamentally different from a ruling that strikes down laws that forbid men and women of different races from marrying. The court rulings that did this were, without question, radical and groundbreaking and it’s at least somewhat understandable that the public would react negatively to a State Supreme Court decision that decided, seemingly out of the blue, that said that marriage now included same-sex couples. It is a massive cultural change to say the very least, and one could argue that the Hawaii and Massachusetts Supreme Court decisions played a role in energizing the opposition to same-sex marriage because of the manner in which they moved ahead of public sentiment on an issue that many people were still uncomfortable about.

But it didn’t end there.

Every state that has legalized same-sex marriage since the Iowa Supreme Court decision in 2009 — New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and Washington — has done so via normal representative democratic processes. Yes, in each case the votes in the respective state legislatures have been close, but they had majority support nonetheless. More importantly, in each state, there was at least some support from Republican legislators, and in each state the measure passed both houses of the legislature and a Governor. One would think that would have satisfied the complaints of those who objected to same-sex marriage being imposed by the judiciary, but it hasn’t:

It now appears to be the position of the conservative intelligensia that legislative actions are also undemocratic, and that – with no precedent or even consistent rationale – the only path to civil rights is through public referendum. Anything else is cheating, I guess – although you’ll not hear that logic applied to literally anything else, unless you’re talking to Mike Gravel.

This is essentially the position that Chris Christie has, disappointingly, taken, and the position that the opponents of same-sex marriage in Maryland are taking. There are also nascent efforts to undo progress on marriage equality via referendum in states like Iowa and New Hampshire, although it doesn’t appear that measures in either of those states have  much chances of success. There’s absolutely no logic to the position. If a measure has passed the state legislature, which itself was elected by the people, then why the insistence on a popular referendum? Given the traditional conservative anathema to populism, it’s a very odd position to take.

However, it does reveal how the opponents of marriage equality have attempted to shift their argument each time they lose ground. When the Courts started ruling against them,they decried judicial tyranny. Now that the legislatures, the democratically elected representatives of the people, are legalizing same sex marriage, they are making the argument that only direct democracy via referendum can be the acceptable manner in which same-sex marriage is legalized. Does anyone doubt that, when the day comes that the opponents of same-sex marriage start losing referendums — which may well happen in both New Jersey and Maryland when the time comes — that they’ll then shift their argument to the courts and argue that the law is somehow unconstitutional? Given the manner in which they’ve manged to shift the terms of debate as they continue to lose ground, I have no doubt that this is exactly what they’d do.

After all, when you’re in a losing battle all you can do maintain a rearguard defense.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Delmar says:

    I think that the best process is for this to be decided at the local level by the people; not the president, congress, governor, or some judge. This takes all of the demogogue politics out of this issue.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 26

  2. @Delmar:

    Under what theory of government do you justify the idea that individual rights should be determined by majority rule?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 0

  3. David says:

    I’m also trying to figure out how marriage is a local issue. It is governed by state law, therefore it would at the very least have to be decided at the state level. then you have the federal tax code, which would have to be decided at the federal level. He says the exact same thing in every thread that deals with the issue. He just can never actually explain how state and federal laws would be changed at a local level.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  4. anjin-san says:

    I think that the best process is for this to be decided at the local level

    So it’s ok for the folks in Anytown USA to decide that some of the residents are second class citizens?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  5. Robert in SF says:

    I predict the next goal post for gay marriage by those opposed to it is already in view: it’s the “religious freedom” and “individual liberty” arguements that are being built into the various laws that are passing in the legislatures tagged on to the marriage equality laws.

    So when the first state wide ballot initiative/referendum passes, which stops marriage laws from discriminating against gays and lesbians (or in other words, gender of the participants)…then there will be an outcry that marriage should be up to the persons who have to recognize it.

    That means each hospital, company, school, agency, …nay, each owner of private business, each individual working for a state agency, each executive for non-profits, etc., will get to decide who’s married and who isn’t.

    Because to make someone recognize a legal contract that they don’t “believe” in, is enforcing a liberal, communist, socialist, anti-Christian view down from the gub’mint!!!!!

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  6. @Robert in SF:

    You are probably not far off in your prognostication.

    Under the law I think the only argument that’s justifiable is the idea that the government cannot force religious institutions to sanctify same-sex relationships if that conflicts with their religious beliefs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  7. Robert in SF says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I believe that there will be a lawsuit with a call for a bizarro-version of Citizen’s United, except that instead of institutions being people, i.e., enjoying first amendment protections about speech, it will be people are institutions, and that religious freedom expands to all nature of government interaction (recognizing marriage contracts, or even “supporting” them by doing your job, won’t be enforceable by the State, nor paying for contraception or abortion insurance coverage, and whatever is the next bug a boo that someone uses this rallying call as an excuse for…maybe using their tax money to support education which teaches evolution?)

    I am not as articulate I feel I should be on this, but basically someone will sue to say that any “feeling” or “belief” that the person has about the government doing something that involves that person’s religious beliefs which somehow affects them in any way they don’t like will be unconstitutional….so they shouldn’t have to acknowledge any of the ramifications of marriage equality, such as issuing a license, or signing forms that grant privileges, etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  8. Gustopher says:

    They move the goal posts because they are hateful bigots, with no principles what-so-ever.

    I’m sorry, but if it is a question of equal treatment under the law, then it is in the purview of the courts, not the legislatures or the people via referendum. The legislature can push ahead of the courts, to fix a bad judicial decision, but ultimately, equality under the law comes from the constitution. That’s the Federal constitution, not those dinky-dink little state documents.

    Of course, if it went to the Supreme Court now, we would risk a bad Dredd Scott style decision, but the equality under the law is still there, in the 14th Amendment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  9. michael reynolds says:

    Summarizing today’s OTB: Republicans are complete fu-king assholes.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 3

  10. Just nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    This has been the stock-in-trade for the right and the GOP, sadly, for as long as I can remember. In Washington State, when the school board in Seattle approved an integration plan back in ’69, the right complained to the legislature that the board didn’t have the authority to pursue such a policy–it needed to be done at the state level. A couple of years later, when the state finally passed a law mandating that schools develop integration plans, the leaders on the right went to, wait for it…the State Supreme Court to have the law overturned on the basis that the issue should be decided by referendum.

    It’s “the same ol’ song” and the meaning isn’t any different this time, either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  11. Just nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Well probably not should, but John Locke seems to imply that individual right are, in fact, decided by majority rule–something about a social contract, or some such nonsense.

    It’s part of the reason that in the latter part of his treatise on the subject, he notes that rule by majority will not make laws or society moral or right, only stable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Lex says:

    @Doug Mataconis: The only way, IMHO, that government can honor both the Establishment and the Free Exercise clauses is to get out of the marriage business. Tell churches they can do what they want, but privileges bestowed by the state to couples under color of law are going to be generally available to pretty much all couples, or none. Otherwise, the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment is violated.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  13. MM says:

    @Delmar: How far down the local level do we go? County? City? Do we need to develop municipal gay marrying districts?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. Scott O. says:

    If gay marriage is passed by voter referendum somewhere the conservatives won’t be satisfied with that either. Here in Oregon there was a ballot initiative to allow physician assisted suicide in 1994. It passed 51 – 49. A couple years later our Republican controlled legislature decided that the voters hadn’t been properly informed of the true consequences of the Death with Dignity Act. Lacking the balls to repeal it directly, they put a repeal measure on the ballot. It was defeated by a 20 point margin.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  15. JohnMcC says:

    A little history of the marriage equality in California shows how this issue has been wrestled with through the entire range of gov’t activity by both sides. It also suits my obsessive-compulsive disorder because CA gets very little mention in the Original Post. The Hawaii Supreme Court set things off by finding in 2000 that the existing marriage statute did not provide equal protection. Right-wingers in CA responded to that with Prop 22 which created a state law defining marriage as between a man & a woman. It was this law that Mayor Gavin Newsom decided was not valid in 2004 when he instructed SanFrancisco’s license clerks to issue same-sex couples the licenses to marry. This ‘nullification’ didn’t last long and those same-sex marriages were later invalidated by the state courts. In 2005 and again in 2007 the CA legislature passed bills granting marriage equality; both were vetoed by Gov Schwartzenegger. In 2008, the CA Supreme Court threw out the Prop 22 law on ‘equal protection’ grounds based only on the CA State Constitution. Same-sex couples could again marry and these marriages still are recognized by the state. Conservatives then managed to pass Prop 8 by a slim margin and that led to the suit which has overturned Prop 8 and is winding it’s way to the US Supreme Court.

    So I think both sides in this business have grabbed whatever forum and strategy they thought they could succeed in; it’s been in the local, state and Federal levels of legislative, executive and judicial venues.

    As remarked on above, the relative desperation of the right-wingers is plain to see these days. And we have become accustomed to thinking of the courts, especially Federal courts, as protectors of our liberties. It hasn’t always been so and probably will not be so forever. It should be ‘normal’ to think that legislatures and governors can have a role in establishing legal safeguards for our freedoms, too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  16. Koozebane says:

    Attempting to exclude a gender from any established state institution that is designed to include both genders universally disqualifies the applicant.

    Those who would seek to purposely exclude one race from any established state institution designed to include all races would be treated precisely the same way.

    Marriage is undeniably all inclusive to the genders as it stands now. Gays inarguably seek to exclude from marriage. Gays disqualify themselves.

    Using the term bigot while blatantly lobbying for the ability to shut out a gender is the epitome of cognitive dissonance.

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  17. superdestroyer says:

    What would be the advantage of the right surrendering on homosexual marriage? Would it get them any more support from the left? No. Would it help in appealing to social conservatives? No.

    Did conservatives benefit when they surrendered on affirmative action and forced busing in the 1970s? Did conservatives benefit from conceding control of public education to the left? No.

    If conservatives concede the political battlefield to homosexual activist today, then the thought crime laws (see the anti-bullying laws), the disparate impact lawsuits, and the social engineerings will be back tomorrow and ask for even more.

    When one realizes how civil rights laws transformed from treating everyone equally to race-based, quota driven government, the right has many reasons to fear a future when homosexuals are the most powerful political block in the U.S.

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  18. @Doug Mataconis:

    Under what theory of government do you justify the idea that individual rights should be determined by majority rule?

    In a democracy, they always are. It’s just that democracies self-regulate their “short signal” laws with “long signal” constitutions. Both are driven by majority rule.

    Our Bill of Rights, of which we are justifiably proud, was not handed down on a mountain top.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  19. @superdestroyer:

    What would be the advantage of the right surrendering on homosexual marriage? Would it get them any more support from the left? No. Would it help in appealing to social conservatives? No.

    Would it get them back on the budget?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  20. steve says:

    “When one realizes how civil rights laws transformed from treating everyone equally ”

    How old are you? Did you ever travel through the South in the 50s and 60s? Ask the older female members of your family what their job options were when they grew up. Heck, read some history books or articles.

    Steve

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  21. David says:

    @Koozebane: Not sure how making marriage licenses available to a couple regardless of gender excludes a gender.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  22. Brummagem Joe says:

    @superdestroyer:

    When one realizes how civil rights laws transformed from treating everyone equally to race-based, quota driven government, the right has many reasons to fear a future when homosexuals are the most powerful political block in the U.S.

    The authentic voice of today’s Republicanism speaks….or whimpers. It’s the ultimate irony that many of the social and cultural wedge issues that were taken up by Republican strategists as a means of maximising their vote have begun to turn from assets to liabilities. There’s no question where the country is on abortion whatever polls say. Whenever an effort to restrict women’s access goes on the ballot it’s rejected overwhelmingly If Roe were actually overturned it would be a disaster for the right. Likewise contraception. On homosexuality there has been massive shift with the increasing number of states embracing gay marriage, elimination of DADT, etc. Republican nativism is driving minorites into the arms of the Democrats. Overt religiosity in our secular govt. is deeply suspect. The only one that still seems to be working for them is guns. Republicans are becoming masters of the law of unintended consequences. The Citizens United decision (probably one of the worst in supreme court history) has been a major factor in turning their nominating process into a circus. And I see no hint of a change in outlook because it’s become impossible as Superdestroyer indicates without loosing support amongst the religious fundamentalist and nativist base. Hoist on their own petard?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  23. Murrell says:

    For a thoughtful, timely article about this subject, read what Dr. Al Mohler has to say about this issue at:
    http://www.albertmohler.com/2012/01/05/president-obama-and-same-sex-marriage-the-dance-continues/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. sam says:

    @Koozebane:

    Nice cybername, dickwad. Now, WTF did your post mean?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  25. superdestroyer says:

    @steve:

    I suggest that you also read up on your history. In the 1950′s progressives went in front of the Supreme Court and argued that separate and unequal was unconstitutional. From the 1970′s until today, the left has been consistent from Bakke to Gratz and separate and unequal is not only legal but good government policy.

    Why should the conservatives, who face the prospect of white flight, failed schools, and unequal standards today want to have even more in the future?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  26. superdestroyer says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    You forget that want keeps all of the blocks inside the Democratic Party happy is the $3.5 trillion that the government passes out along with all of the state and local spending. The real question is what will happen to all of those groups when either the money runs out or taxes are increased so that they actually cover the costs of the all of the government that people want.

    Of course Homosexuals will eventually get their marriages recognized by the federal government along with minority status and government set asides. The only question is what is the long term impacts when homosexual achive the status of being at the top of the PC pyramid?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 13

  27. Brummagem Joe says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Yes…eat your heart out. We’re probably heading into a prolonged period of Democratic ascendancy as you repeatedly point out. Thanks for your small contribution. It’s much appreciated. Keep up the good work.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  28. Hey Norm says:

    @ Destroyer…
    I’m not a person of color….so I can’t say for sure….but I imagine bigoted Republicans like you keep them in the Democratic Party more than anything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  29. @superdestroyer:

    What would be the advantage of the right surrendering on homosexual marriage? Would it get them any more support from the left? No. Would it help in appealing to social conservatives? No.

    Lawrence Kohlberg’s stages of moral development:

    Pre-conventional

    The pre-conventional level of moral reasoning is especially common in children, although adults can also exhibit this level of reasoning. Reasoners at this level judge the morality of an action by its direct consequences. The pre-conventional level consists of the first and second stages of moral development, and is solely concerned with the self in an egocentric manner. A child with preconventional morality has not yet adopted or internalized society’s conventions regarding what is right or wrong, but instead focuses largely on external consequences that certain actions may bring.[7][8][9]

    Stage two (self-interest driven) espouses the “what’s in it for me” position, in which right behavior is defined by whatever is in the individual’s best interest. Stage two reasoning shows a limited interest in the needs of others, but only to a point where it might further the individual’s own interests. As a result, concern for others is not based on loyalty or intrinsic respect, but rather a “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours” mentality.[2] The lack of a societal perspective in the pre-conventional level is quite different from the social contract (stage five), as all actions have the purpose of serving the individual’s own needs or interests. For the stage two theorist, the world’s perspective is often seen as morally relative.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  30. Hey Norm says:

    I find it hard to believe that the party which made up a bakers dozen of excuses for needlessly sending 4000 troops to their death, after not finding WMD in Iraq, would move the goalposts in a matter of freedom, liberty, and equality.
    And anyway…I’m sure both sides do it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  31. Vast Variety says:

    What many opponents don’t seem to want to understand is that Equality, in all its aspects, has long been settled by the Constitution and it’s amendments. They just refuse to acknowledge that it applies to everyone, including gay people like me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  32. heh

    Someone believes in mountain tops.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. Hey Norm says:

    @ Vast…
    Republicans love the Constitution. Except for the parts they don’t like. The whole equality thing…not so much. That part really annoys them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  34. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Hey Norm:

    A couple of days ago LGF had a little piece about Fox News attacking Michelle Obama for doing a routine campaign fund raiser which produced a somewhat similar reaction to Fox New’s reporting of the Whitney Houston death. It’s pretty bad (needless to say FN took it down… they don’t want fingerprints) although they’re in the business of pandering to this sort of stuff. Of course (as Doug would say) both sides do it.

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/39936_Fox_Nation_Commenters_Spew_Hatred_and_Racism_at_First_Lady_Michelle_Obama?tw_p=twt

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  35. superdestroyer says:

    @Hey Norm:

    I believe that $3.5 trillion in spending, $1.5 trillion at the state level, millions of public sector employes, and million more who are totally dependent on the government is what keeps the Democrats in power.

    Very few voters have any desire to see spending cut and if government, politics, and policy is about government goodies, who gets them, and who pays, then the bigger spending party will be the more powerful party.

    The only question now is what happens when the U.,S becomes a one-party-state and much less 50% of adults pay any income taxes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  36. superdestroyer says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    How does your psychology apply to the way that politics in places like Chicago where the only issue is who benefits and who pays?

    I love how progressives have decide to define what they persoanlly benefit from as the moral thing to do. It does along with the excuse that progressives always give for sending their children to all white private schools.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  37. steve says:

    “From the 1970′s until today, the left has been consistent from Bakke to Gratz and separate and unequal is not only legal but good government policy.”

    Your claim was that prior to the civil rights act, everyone was treated equally. That is false. Your statement above is also largely false. There were many attempts to integrate women and minorities into areas where they were not allowed to participate in the past. Before the Civil Rights act, almost zero minorities, and very few women made it into medical schools. In 1980, 85% of medical school students were white. In 2005 it was 64%. Whites still dominate. Most of the difference is in Asian attendance.

    http://www.asianam.org/2010%20medical%20schools.htm

    In 1980, less than half were women. They are now about half of all med students.

    Steve

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  38. steve says:

    “I love how progressives have decide to define what they persoanlly benefit from as the moral thing to do.”

    It appears they have been reading Ayn Rand.

    Steve

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  39. MARTinNJ says:

    @Delmar:
    Well Delmar, there seems to be a history of that working right? When in the 1917 in NJ (male) voters decided NOT to extend the vote to (non-eligible) female voters. They voted that down in self-interest and what some would say bigotry.
    Imagine how we just might have avoided the Civil War (or would you prefer to call it the War of Northern Aggression?) if, in 1860, the southern states agreed to hold state wide referendums by (white male) voters on whether should have to give up their property aka the southern black population. Yeah, that would have worked uh?
    I am imagining a Nazi era referendum question, in Germany in 1935: ‘The state has the undeniable right to liquidate groups it considers sub-human populations.’ Check Yes or No.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  40. @superdestroyer:

    How does your psychology apply to the way that politics in places like Chicago where the only issue is who benefits and who pays?

    Yup, there’s a lot of morally stunted people in this country. However most of them aren’t on this board for me to comment on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  41. superdestroyer says:

    @steve:

    My claim is that the push from Brown V Board of Education to the Civil Rights Act was to move toward equality for everyone. However, starting in the late 1960′s until today the push as been for separate and unequal. Bakke was denied admission to UC Medical School because he was below the cut line for whites but above the cut line for blacks and Hispanics. The Supreme Court ruled that such blatant racism was unconstitutional but that diversity was a good thing and thus could be included in admission decisions. In 2003, the State of Michigan was caught red-handed with a separate-and-unequal admission process.

    From the late 1960′s when affirmative action and quotas started until today, progressives have been uniform and unapologetic in their support for separate and unequal standards.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  42. superdestroyer says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I will take that as a “I don’t care as long I benefit from the passing out of the government goodies.”

    Yet, somehow progressives have convinced themselves that they are the coolest kids in school and whatever they support is good for everyone when it usually works out that it is best for themselves.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  43. Hey Norm says:

    Like many Republicans Destroyer is scared of the “others”. So they make up rationalizations like sperate and unequal. The “others” are taking our stuff and Democrats are helping them do it. You know there was the CRA and then in 2003 there was Michigan So that proves it. And Obama is the affirmative action President and we need to take our country back from the “others”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  44. @steve:

    It appears they have been reading Ayn Rand.

    This is quite and insult to Rand, who wasn’t a racist like Superdestroyer. And whether you agree with her conclusions or not, she was at least making a post-conventional argument. The whole point of the stages, if you read the article, is not that moral development dictates a particular course of action in a particular situation, but rather with the type of reasons one chooses to justify a particular course of action.

    Even in this issue, it’s possible to be against same-sex marriage in a conventional or post-conventional manner. For example, Santorum, when discussing oposition to same sex marriage, talks mostly about the importance of family to maintaining a properly functioning society, the need to encourage people to step into their proper social roles, etc. I think Santorum is wrong about this, but it’s still a stage four moral argument.

    Contrast with superdestroyer, who doesn’t really seem to care about it one way or the other, beyond having identified homosexuals as “the enemy” and blocking them from getting what they want purely out of spite.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  45. @superdestroyer:

    I will take that as a “I don’t care as long I benefit from the passing out of the government goodies.”

    Yes, I’m sure subliterates everywhere have no clue what I am saying most of the time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  46. Ben Wolf says:

    The right has been on the wrong side of every social issue since the French Revolution. Monarchy, aristocracy, slavery, women’s rights, equal rights for racial minorities, gay rights; each time conservatives have fought to halt expanding liberties to a broader population. It’s also why they always win the battle but ultimately lose the war. Their arguments are powerful because they’re so dogmatic, but in the long-run people come to understand they just don’t make sense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  47. @steve:

    In 2005 it was 64%. Whites still dominate

    Non-hispanic whites are 69.1 percent of the population, so your figures would actually suggest they’re underrepresented at medical schools.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  48. Ben Wolf says:

    Notice the remarkably consistent argument from SD and ilk: if it doesn’t benefit them, why should they support making someone else’s life better?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  49. @Ben Wolf:

    The right has been on the wrong side of every social issue since the French Revolution. Monarchy, aristocracy, slavery, women’s rights, equal rights for racial minorities, gay rights; each time conservatives have fought to halt expanding liberties to a broader population.

    This is ridiculous. I mean Glenn Beck level ridiculous, where you got back and try to rewrite the entire history of humanity so that your modern day political opponents were secretly behind every bad thing that’s ever happened. The right’s anti-rights issues started in the 1960s, and while they have plenty to atone for since then, attempting to assign blame for stuff before then to the modern right is just silly.

    I mean really, monarchy? What significant political movement, right or left, was in favor of monarchy at any point in this country since the revolution?

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  50. @Ben Wolf:

    I really wish people would stop calling superdestroyer SD.

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  51. @Stormy Dragon:

    “SD.” Heh, I did it once yesterday before thinking of the ambiguity.

    Of course one of you might be the sockpuppet of the other! It would be really cunning if you were the puppet, of course. The other way would be a bit too cartoonish.

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  52. steve says:

    “My claim is that the push from Brown V Board of Education to the Civil Rights Act was to move toward equality for everyone. ”

    Ok, I can agree with this in the sense that the laws being passed increased increased equality of opportunity. They were resisted and ignored in much of the country.

    “However, starting in the late 1960′s until today the push as been for separate and unequal. ”

    I still dont get this, and suspect it is rhetorical flourish. What is the separate part? Staying with Bakke, what all white medical schools do we have as a result of the Bakke decision? Whites still dominate in percentages at US schools. The big difference is in the number of Asians attending. I dont especially want to do the affirmative action debate, but it seems ludicrous to think that one day Jim Crow is in effect, and the next day everyone is really equal. Human capital matters. We know that many people and places ignored the civil rights laws until forced to comply.

    @Stormy- I was respond to the narrow assertion. Objectivists tend to believe that acting in one’s own self interest is the morally correct thing to do.

    Steve

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  53. (As a note to lower-case “sd,” try not to bore people out of your arguments. It is a shallow victory.)

    Was that harsh?

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  54. Latino_in_Boston says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    I suspect that that’s more of a justification than an actual belief (by the GOP, I mean). Because everyone can see that this is a losing battle, and one where as many have pointed out within a decade or less will be in the 70-30 range, perhaps even 80-20. If they really thought exclusively on electoral terms, the GOP would make their peace with it and move on. Social conservatives would not like it, perhaps, but are they really going to stop voting for the GOP? Voting against gay rights, however, is going to lose so many young people.

    They’re already losing Hispanics–particularly young ones–in large numbers, why alienate even more voters?

    I suspect they don’t do that, however, because they really believe that gay marriage is bad. Of course, not in any logical or intellectual way, just in “my gut tells me” because it’s “icky” or “the bible tells me so.” Otherwise, they would already have figured out way to sell it to its base.

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  55. steve says:

    @Stormy- “Non-hispanic whites are 69.1 percent of the population, so your figures would actually suggest they’re underrepresented at medical schools.”

    Yes. The big change has been the percentage of Asians attending med schools. To the best of my knowledge, the Bakke decision has not played a part in that increase. (My personal preference is that we use income and not race as a factor in admissions.)

    Steve

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  56. @steve:

    Objectivists tend to believe that acting in one’s own self interest is the morally correct thing to do.

    Yes, but Rand also had a habit of significantly redefining words, so what she meant by “rational self interest” is quite a bit different from superdestroyer’s view on the world. In particular, Rand was not know to be fond of using the government to enforce your will on others via the threat of violence, even there was a personal benefit in doing so.

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  57. @john personna:

    Of course one of you might be the sockpuppet of the other! It would be really cunning if you were the puppet, of course. The other way would be a bit too cartoonish.

    I think this may be the single most insulting thing anyone has ever said about me in this blog, even in jest. I am genuinely wounded.

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  58. WR says:

    @superdestroyer: Hey, SD isn’t just afraid of dark-skinned folks. He’s scared of the homos, too!

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  59. @Stormy Dragon:

    Don’t be (insulted), it would take a Moriarty to pull off.

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  60. superdestroyer says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Thank you for posting that. I doubt if modern progressives really want to be blamed for marxism, soviet Russian, North Korea, or Moaist China. I even doubt that progressives want to be blamed for child labor, eugenics, or the temperance movement even though all were considered progressive at one time.

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  61. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I think this may be the single most insulting thing anyone has ever said about me in this blog, even in jest. I am genuinely wounded.

    I wouldn’t worry about it. One of you is silly and it certainly isn’t you.

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  62. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Thank you for posting that. I doubt if modern progressives really want to be blamed for marxism, soviet Russian, North Korea, or Moaist China. I even doubt that progressives want to be blamed for child labor, eugenics, or the temperance movement even though all were considered progressive at one time.

    Q.E.D.

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  63. G.A. says:

    They move the goal posts because they are hateful bigots, with no principles what-so-ever

    This site is jammed full of anti Christian bigots……very hateful ones…

    Summarizing today’s OTB: Republicans are complete fu-king assholes.

    and from most of these comments the secular liberal death and perversion cult zealots are complete fu-king stupid brainwashed assholes, so there…

    The right has been on the wrong side of every social issue since the French Revolution.

    lol idiot…

    Blah….nothing but the same old dumb and stupid around here….

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  64. steve says:

    “Thank you for posting that. I doubt if modern progressives really want to be blamed for marxism, soviet Russian, North Korea, or Moaist China. I even doubt that progressives want to be blamed for child labor, eugenics, or the temperance movement even though all were considered progressive at one time.”

    It makes little sense to link progressives to things that happened 100 or more years ago. Many, if not most people have never heard of Sanger. But, it that is the standard you want to use, then capitalism (in the form of colonialism) could be blamed for all of the problems, and deaths, in Africa, South America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia for the last 200 years. Now, I think that is kind of stupid, but that is the metric you seem to want to use. I think it much more useful to look at what has gone on in the modern era, realizing that the modern GOP/conservatives and progressive movements are much different than what they were in the past.

    Steve

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  65. Brummagem Joe says:

    @G.A.:

    and from most of these comments the secular liberal death and perversion cult zealots are complete fu-king stupid brainwashed assholes, so there…

    Well certainly no one could accuse you of being hateful could they?

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  66. Koozebane says:

    @David

    Use your dictionary and look up the antonym for include.

    That which is not included, has been excluded. This works for gender as well as anything else in existence.

    Gay marriages would inarguably be missing a gender. One or the other would undeniably be excluded from a contract that is designed to include both.

    Therefore, it is their own exclusion of a gender that disqualifies gay marriage license applicants.

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  67. Koozebane says:

    @sam:

    Thank you….I think.

    Perhaps my latest explanation above will help sort it out for you.

    Happy reading.

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  68. David says:

    @Koozebane: Got it. Your position is that it has to be a man and a woman. And each marriage has to be a man or a woman or you are excluding an entire gender from getting married. That is a pretty tortured position.

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  69. de stijl says:

    @Koozebane(sic):

    Judging by your two comments here, you have an interesting way of using English, so you may not know that your name is really misogynistic. If you do know and you chose it anyway, well, you’ll have to live with that – I’ll certainly never give any of your comments another look. It’s just vile.

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  70. [...] Mataconis calls it moving the goalposts: When the Courts started ruling against them, they decried judicial tyranny. Now that the [...]

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  71. mattb says:

    @de stijl:

    your name is really misogynistic

    Really? In all serious, the only koozebane I’ve ever heard of is a re-occuring planet on the Muppet show.

    As for Koozebane (the poster) unless English is your second language, the attempt at intellectual writing really isn’t working. The “logic” of your phrasing really isn’t helping your argument.

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  72. de stijl says:

    @mattb:

    I read it as “Destroyer of vaginas” or worse. Check Urban Dictionary for the first part (before “bane”)of the name but replace “k” with “c”. Link. Given the topic and his / her “argument”, it seems really sketchy. Who knows – could be unintentional.

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  73. Ben Wolf says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    This is ridiculous. I mean Glenn Beck level ridiculous, where you got back and try to rewrite the entire history of humanity so that your modern day political opponents were secretly behind every bad thing that’s ever happened. The right’s anti-rights issues started in the 1960s, and while they have plenty to atone for since then, attempting to assign blame for stuff before then to the modern right is just silly.

    The modern right is no different than that which began with Burke at the end of the 18th Century. It emerged to defend authority from what was termed radicalism as the french monarchy was overthrown and exists solely as a reactionary ideology. Progress in human rights over the last two centuries is entirely the victory of the left over authoritarian conservative elements.

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  74. Ben Wolf says:

    I think it much more useful to look at what has gone on in the modern era, realizing that the modern GOP/conservatives and progressive movements are much different than what they were in the past.

    All “leftist” movements have as their core motivation the destruction of existing power structures and rejection of social hierarchy. So you get child labor laws on one hand and liquidation of the middle class on the other. Unions on one hand and banning of religion on the other. The U.S. Constitution and the Communist Manifesto. The difference is only of degree but ultimately leftism always wants change, to go somewhere new and can be either creative or destructive, even both at the same time.

    Conservatism exists only in opposition to this impulse. it creates nothing and offers nothing but the status quo. It champions authority and hierarchy, whether justifying slavery or denying equal rights to gays and lesbians. It emphasizes social order because it fears the consequences of radical change.

    The issues have changed, not the underlying social forces.

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  75. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Koozebane:

    Use your dictionary and look up the antonym for include.

    Since you like to boast about your command of English then I’m sure you’re familiar with the word casuistry…..you’re indulging in it.

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  76. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Why do any of you give a racist like Superdestroyer the dignity of a response??? Long time ago, I ignored him, because he does not deserve a response.

    Thomas Jefferson owned human beings. He knew it was wrong. SD… can not reconcile that fact. TJ was a racist but wished he wasn’t, SD is a racist and is proud of it. 250 yrs and here we are.

    Screwed.

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  77. Koozebane says:

    Throwing ethics into question isn’t a denial of the statements at hand.

    Neither is changing the subject to a user name….or dismissing them with the wave of a magic wand.

    Marriage is all inclusive to the genders as it stands right now.

    Gays seek to exclude a gender from it.

    Since there is no arguing these two points, I’ll leave you all to your snide asides and weak deflections.

    Have a great night. ;)

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  78. superdestroyer says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I always find it odd that in modern Political Correctness, believing that everyone should be treated the same while acknowledging that demographic groups are different from each other is considered racist but believing that the government should treat different ethnic groups differently while refusing to acknowledge that demographics are different from each other is considered progressive.

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  79. garretc says:

    @Koozebane:

    That may be the silliest anti-gay marriage argument I’ve ever heard. Gay people don’t want to eliminate opposite-sex marriages, therefore, people of both genders would still be equally able to enter into marriage with the partner of their choice and thus no genders are excluded from the ability to marry.

    The institution of marriage will still be all inclusive to genders, AND will have the added bonus of inclusiveness to sexual orientation as well.

    Maybe the reason nobody wanted to engage your argument on its merits is because it has none and is attempting to persuade solely on the basis of a sketchy linguistic technicality?

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  80. An Interested Party says:

    It is neither snide nor weak to point out the inanity and foolishness of the “argument” that same sex marriage itself is somehow “discriminatory” and even “bigoted”…

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  81. G.A. says:

    Well certainly no one could accuse you of being hateful could they?

    I was mocking a few bigots and stating facts….What was hateful? You hate me for playing the game with better wise A$$ and idiocy then most here have been trained in while still telling some truth.

    Close minded know it all zealot bigots… Christophobia and normaphobia is your daily bread spread thickly with seething hate…

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  82. mattb says:

    @Koozebane:

    Marriage is all inclusive to the genders as it stands right now.

    Gays seek to exclude a gender from it.

    as others have said, unless you can prove that the goal is to eliminate so called traditional marriage, all you are doing is trying to dress the old argument that “marriage can only be between a man and a woman” in pseudo-intellecutalism, and second rate pseudo intellectualism at that.

    The pseudo-intellectualism is based on the slight of hand that you’re doing to equate an individual instantiation of A marriage with the whole institution.

    By this argument, prior to the repeal of miscegenation, one could have made the same argument about cross racial “marriage.” And they would have been equally wrong.

    Beyond historical/cultural evidence of other sorts of marriages that have existed throughout time, the bigger issue is that now gay marriage has become legal in certain states, we have evidence that marriage can exist between people of the same gender without the world coming to an end of the world or the larger institution of marriage.

    So basically, all that’s left to say is:
    Koozebane, what you’ve continue to write is some of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone on this board is now dumber for having read to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

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  83. Liberty60 says:

    @Koozebane:
    Very perceptive argument you have there!

    Likewise, when two white people marry, an entire race is excluded.

    Therefore only mixed-race marriages are valid.

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  84. Why should the government at any level be involved with marriage? Marriage is a religious institute and you will find no other basis for it outside of religion. I don’t want the government at any level to tell me what I can and cannot do in any relationship, especially not my wife.

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  85. Septimius says:

    Doug, you can’t be serious. 4 years ago, California voters went to the polls and passed a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage. Liberal activists immediately challenged it in the courts. They got a liberal judge to declare a constitutional amendment unconstitutional. And, now you have the nerve to accuse conservatives of being undemocratic because they want a voter referendum in other states. Are you for real?

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  86. Robert in SF says:

    @Septimius:

    First, just because it passed, that doesn’t mean that the Prop 8 vote was unanimous…there was a small 2% difference in the vote. It’s not as if by winning the vote somehow means that all Californians (or an overwhelming majority) wanted to remove the marriage rights of some of the population of the State.

    Also, watch this interview with Ted Olson by Chris Wallace, it gives an excellent response to the various legal chicanery that’s raised about the issue of why this a Constitutional victory when Prop 8 was overturned.

    The key take-away is that you don’t get to vote on the freedom of the press, or freedom of religion, or other constitutional rights of people…they are guaranteed to all, for all.

    http://youtu.be/0OE-gNhcl6A

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  87. grumpy realist says:

    @Koozebane: Uh, dude, the equivalent argument was tried in banning interracial marriages. Supreme Court had something to say about that.

    Considering how nutty the Catholic Church has shown itself to be about a) sex, and b) homosexuality, are you absolutely SURE this is the hill you want to die on?

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  88. Septimius says:

    @Robert in SF: Of course we get to vote on freedom of the press or religion or any of our constitutional rights. It’s called amending the constitution. Which is exactly what the voters did in California with Prop 8. They amended the state constitution through the democratic process, which is ballot referendum. Whether is passed by 2% or one vote is irrelevant.

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  89. An Interested Party says:

    It’s called amending the constitution. Which is exactly what the voters did in California with Prop 8. They amended the state constitution through the democratic process, which is ballot referendum.

    The federal constitution trumps any state constitution…perhaps those opposed to SSM should try to pass an amendment to the federal constitution banning SSM…good luck with that…oh, and by the way, for those that don’t seem to know, the judicial system is also part of the democratic process…

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  90. Septimius says:

    @An Interested Party: Where did you come up with that? The judicial system is absolutely not part of the democratic process. The judiciary was specifically designed to not be democratic.

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  91. mattb says:

    @Septimius:

    The judicial system is absolutely not part of the democratic process. The judiciary was specifically designed to not be democratic.

    Right… But that was of course the wisdom of the founders. The never wanted a simple democracy, or even a simple representational democracy. The brilliance of the Constitution is that it provided a framework for running the country which includes a number of different modes of democratic voting, but also includes other ways to exercise power.

    BTW, it should be noted that the judicial system is connected to the democratic process in the respect that Federal Justices are not simply appointed, but have to be democratically approved by the members of the senate, acting as the duly elected representatives of the people.

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  92. Septimius says:

    @mattb: The whole concept of the “Independent Judiciary” is to make the judicial branch independent from political considerations. That is precisely why federal judges are appointed rather than elected and why they have lifetime appointments. My comment was in response to someone who claims that the judicial system is part of the democratic process. Nothing could be further from the truth. Furthermore, in the original Constitution, U.S. Senators were not duly elected representatives of the people, they were duly appointed by state legislatures. This was a further removal of the judiciary from the democratic process.

    The argument that Doug is making in his article is ridiculous. That somehow conservatives are being undemocratic because they are pushing ballot referendums and not just accepting the majority vote in the state legislature. It is the liberal/pro-same sex marriage side that has been trying for years to remove the issue from the democratic process and have it decided in the courts. Now that public opinion is on their side, or at least a majority of legislators in certain states are on their side, they’re all about the democratic process. Talk about moving the goalposts.

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  93. An Interested Party says:

    BTW, it should be noted that the judicial system is connected to the democratic process in the respect that Federal Justices are not simply appointed, but have to be democratically approved by the members of the senate, acting as the duly elected representatives of the people.

    This is what I was alluding to…that senators used to be appointed by state legislatures is irrelevant to the point…

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  94. Septimius says:

    @An Interested Party: Of course it’s relevant. The framers could have given the “advice and consent” role to the House, which was the duly elected representative body. They did not. They specifically gave that role to the Senate, which at the time was not a directly representative body. This was done, as I mentioned previously, to further remove the judiciary from the democratic process. Your assertion that the judiciary is part of the democratic process is dead wrong.

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  95. mattb says:

    @Septimius:

    That is precisely why federal judges are appointed rather than elected and why they have lifetime appointments.

    I was only noting that while a federal judge might be “appointed”, that appointment must be ratified by Senate vote. And you are completely correct about the election of Senators being a relatively new thing in American history. Totally forgo about that.

    That somehow conservatives are being undemocratic because they are pushing ballot referendums and not just accepting the majority vote in the state legislature.

    I see your point if you are using “democratic” in a generic sense. However, if one reads “democratic” more as belonging to the American democratic system, Doug’s point stands. Otherwise we end up at the point that any action of a legislature can ultimately be called “undemocratic” in that its not put to a popular vote.

    It is the liberal/pro-same sex marriage side that has been trying for years to remove the issue from the democratic process and have it decided in the courts. Now that public opinion is on their side, or at least a majority of legislators in certain states are on their side, they’re all about the democratic process. Talk about moving the goalposts.

    And we end up at “both sides do it” but I don’t like it when it’s the other side doing it.

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  96. Septimius says:

    @mattb: I don’t think the representative process of a state legislature passing a bill and a governor signing it into law is “undemocratic.” I don’t think anyone does. However, a ballot referendum directly decided by the electorate of a state is certainly more democratic than the representative method. Finally, a legal issue decided by an unelected, unrepresentative judge or panel of judges is, at best, only tenuously connected to the democratic process. Doug’s bizarre article only attacks conservatives on the grounds that they prefer referendum over traditional law-making. Yet, it’s the liberal side that has consistently gone to the courts on this issue. That route is, and I’m being charitable, at least significantly less democratic than the other two methods. Only one side has pursued the “undemocratic” route here.

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  97. mattb says:

    @Septimius:

    However, a ballot referendum directly decided by the electorate of a state is certainly more democratic than the representative method.

    This is only true if by “democratic” you mean mass democratic.

    Finally, a legal issue decided by an unelected, unrepresentative judge or panel of judges is, at best, only tenuously connected to the democratic process.

    Fair, but this dodges the point that the courts are as fundamentally connected to the US system of governance as the democratic process.

    The issue is that all too often “democratic” is used as a short hand for the broader process of governance in the US.

    And I think, as you look more broadly, you find that both sides take their arguments to the branch of government that they believe their argument will work best in.

    So for example, you complain about liberals taking to the courts over Gay Marriage. However, is it not also true that conservatives have done the exact same thing in attempts to over turn State Legislature rulings in places like New York (and note that these attacks don’t have anything to do with the substance of the law, but are attempting to over throw it on solely procedural grounds) – http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/jul/25/new-york-gay-marriage-law-first-legal-challenge/
    http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2011/07/anti-gay-marriage-group-files-legal-challenge-to-new-yorks-law-updated-2x

    So conservatives have no problem subverting “democracy” in order to achieve their goals as well.

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  98. An Interested Party says:

    @Septimius:

    It is irrelevant under current circumstances, where senators are elected by the voters in their respective states, hence, how the judiciary, if not directly linked, is still part of the democratic process…

    The bottom line with this issue, as mattb points out, is that both sides will use whatever means are available to them to get their desired outcome…how “democratic” or “undemocratic” all that is will obviously be left to the individual observer…

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  99. John D'Geek says:

    Begin rant …

    @Robert in SF: The “religious freedom” view of marriage has been around for a very long time — since at least the 19th century. That’s when the US Supreme Court pronounced it a religious institution. I’ve been saying this for a very long time. It’s not the first time I’ve said so on this board.

    @Doug Mataconis: Doug, I expected better from you.

    The US supreme court has already determined — in the 19th century — that marriage is a religious institution. Now you tell me — what “compelling interest” can the government maintain in the modern era without talking out both sides of it’s mouth? More plainly, what can the Government (of any level) do “only with marriage”?

    Nothing.

    Not a danged thing.

    Cohabitation is no longer regulated. Reproduction is no longer regulated; more precisely, the regulations on reproduction pay no attention to marital status. Adultery seems to have become a legal right. Sexual expression is “none of anyone’s business!”. Taxes, Insurance, hospital visitation — these are examples of things that they government can do without marriage — but it chooses not to.

    That might be “politically correct”, but it’s not constitutionally correct.

    End rant.

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  100. Robert in SF says:

    @Septimius: Your statement,

    Doug’s bizarre article only attacks conservatives on the grounds that they prefer referendum over traditional law-making. Yet, it’s the liberal side that has consistently gone to the courts on this issue. That route is, and I’m being charitable, at least significantly less democratic than the other two methods. Only one side has pursued the “undemocratic” route here.

    is either disingenuous, lazy, or intellectually blunted (or all 3?).

    Doug’s original article was no where close to an “attack”, and merely expressed confusion in their choice of a direct referendum, which the conservative “intelligentsia” has previously stated that the majority can’t be trusted to vote for the best of society because they will just vote for what benefits them the most (see tax rates for higher incomes)…this is a rough approximation of the article as a whole, and of these in particular,

    Now that the legislatures, the democratically elected representatives of the people, are legalizing same sex marriage, they are making the argument that only direct democracy via referendum can be the acceptable manner in which same-sex marriage is legalized.

    and

    It now appears to be the position of the conservative intelligensia that legislative actions are also undemocratic

    and

    There’s absolutely no logic to the position. If a measure has passed the state legislature, which itself was elected by the people, then why the insistence on a popular referendum? Given the traditional conservative anathema to populism, it’s a very odd position to take.

    So your premise is rejected, that somehow Doug was charging the anti-marriage activists as being undemocratic.

    @John D’Geek: Citations if you will, about the Supreme Court saying that marriage is solely a religious institution?

    Because while it may also be a religious sacrament, once the State recognizes a contract between two persons and licenses religious clergy to officiate as a representative of the State in conducting the contractual agreement…then uses the same word “marriage” to recognize the union in the law, that makes it a civil instrument. Also, if it’s purely a religious institution, then why can atheists get married, or people allowed to marry at a Justice of the Peace or equivalent? It’s not just a religious institution, in word or practice.

    My point was that the next anti-marriage equality goal post will be that individuals in whatever State role they play get to determine based on their religious views who is married and who isn’t…and that’s not going to work. So a State IRS reviewer can decide which returns are allowed as spouse, which may differ from the IRS reviewer next to her? Or a nurse on one shift will allow a husband to visit, but not the nurse on the next shift? Or one teacher can recognize the parent picking up the student or granting permission for a trip, but another teacher doesn’t have to? Nope…not good enough.

    But if it is solely a religious institution, then the government has no place in legislating it based on the the needs of the State. Unlike snake handling or drinking strychnine! The gub’mint don’t get to regulate no babtisms!

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  101. Septimius says:

    @mattb: Just because the judiciary is part of government certainly does not make it democratic. The judiciary is as far removed from the democratic process as it could possibly be. There are only three branches of goverment, and two of them are elected. The executive and legislative can and should claim to represent the popular will; be democratic, if you will. The judiciary absolutely doesn’t and shouldn’t claim to represent the popular will.

    I really wasn’t complaining about liberals going to the courts. This has been standard procedure on the left for decades. I was pointing out Doug’s ridiculous assertion that somehow conservatives don’t respect the will of the people because they demand a ballot referendum, yet he’s either silent or approving when liberals seek their remedy through the unelected, unaccountable, undemocratic judiciary.

    I absolutely agree with your point that both sides will seek whatever process they believe will produce the desired outcome. However, I don’t think all processes are equal.

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  102. John D'Geek says:

    @Robert in SF:

    Citations if you will, about the Supreme Court saying that marriage is solely a religious institution?

    I did not use the word “solely”.

    Because marriage is a religious institution, that means that the government has to prove “compelling interest” before they can regulate it — they have to prove that the public good can only served by “marriage regulation”.

    The IRS would not be allowed to define “spouse” — there would be no legal ability to use the term “spouse”. The government could define various contractual vehicles that they could enshrine into law, but marriage is … well, dead.

    Sorry, cynicism struck me for a moment there.

    “I would form a Cynic Party to compete against the other two … but nobody would join.”

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  103. Robert in SF says:

    @John D’Geek: John, that was my point, that marriage may be a religious sacrament to some, but to the State, it’s a contractual arrangement which I don’t think is under any question or “attack” that it provides a stabilizing front for the community as a whole, and provides benefits to the State and the members…but comes with some costs as well in managing the recognition by the State.

    Are you wanting to discuss the authority the government has in regulating a contractual arrangement called marriage, of which some may or may not be recognized by various churches or religious groups? I can’t really tell with confidence if you believe that the State has authority or even the “compelling interest” in regulating a civil contract called a marriage…

    In my layman’s understanding, Churches can marry all the people they want…but the State won’t recognize them without the marriage license and signed affidavits (legal documents, that is)….just as the Catholic church doesn’t recognize certain marriages that are legally binding from the State’s point of view…The term marriage is both a religious sacrament, and a legal construct…I don’t think that’s illegal or counter-constitutional. Now if only Churches could marry people legally…then that would be a problem…..

    Your comment,

    The IRS would not be allowed to define “spouse” — there would be no legal ability to use the term “spouse”. The government could define various contractual vehicles that they could enshrine into law, but marriage is … well, dead.

    I don’t think it addresses my comment in context…I was making the point that the coming religious liberty “attack” on marriage equality will be that individuals get to decide who they deem to be married, and treat them as such…for example, a married couple files their joint tax return, but one IRS agent believes they are married, and another doesn’t so the return could be rejected one year and accepted the next, or held up during an audit, and so on…The government regulation would define what’s a legal contract called marriage, and those who satisfy it would be married…except to those who don’t “believe” they really are….

    And conservatives have chastise lib’ruls about worrying about respecting people’s “feelings” or what this or that person “believes” too much….talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

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  104. John D'Geek says:

    @Robert in SF:

    … which I don’t think is under any question or “attack” that it provides a stabilizing front for the community as a whole, and provides benefits to the State and the members…

    Actually, I do question what benefit Marriage brings society. What does it do? What is it? Try defining marriage with something other than the “Disney definition” (“When two people love each other …”).

    By way of example: I know many people who “live together” — that is, they do everything “married” people do, but without the license. Are these people a detriment to society? If so, how — and why isn’t marriage enforced among them? If not, then what benefit does marriage really bring to society?

    “Beneficial”, BTW, does not imply “compelling interest”. It is, to borrow a phrase, “necessary, but not sufficient”.

    The IRS thing … we’re talking past each other. In my view, there would be no “Married” block on the IRS form to ask about, nor would they be permitted to ask about it. Now I do realize that there are some out there that want to make marriage “semi-legal”, but that “no mans land” doesn’t fly with me.

    There is an option discussed, but not seriously considered it seems, to take all of the legal benefits of marriage and make them a more generic, non-sexual legal concept.

    In my layman’s understanding, Churches can marry all the people they want…but the State won’t recognize them without the marriage license and signed affidavits …

    You need to do more research into the Polygamist Cult issue. The Feds constantly declare people “legally married”, even though those people say they are only “spiritually married” (e.g. “religious only”), and haul them off to jail.

    Why is it that I can, to use a Sheenism, live with many “godesses”, but not get married to more than one woman(1)? How is it that legal polygamy is bad for society when de-facto polygamy is embraced(2)?

    1) Actually, I don’t want that. But, being a Geek, I won’t have that problem anyway. We’re not exactly known for our sexual magnetism.
    2) This is called “Sexual Freedom” in the politically correct dictionary.

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  105. Robert in SF says:

    @John D’Geek: re: compelling interest in marriage recognition by the Sate-
    I don’t know if we are putting the cart before the horse here, when it comes to determining if the State has a compelling interest in regulating marriage…Most of the benefits that come with marriage come *from* the benefits granted by the State (survivor benefits, etc.). So by regulating it (i.e., defining it legally and granting benefits that exclude other couple types), we see the benefits that need us to regulate it. That’s not as eloquent as I could be, but time is short.

    I suppose there are tons of benefits to society that would cause us to encourage people to settle down, from giving more stable environments to raise more stables kids that raise their standard of living and thus help the economy and lower crime rates, to helping define inheritance laws that reduce lawsuits when people die without a will and thus reduce (not eliminate) a ton of lawsuits in the courts, and others I can’t name separate from those because the framework of benefits has always been of granting benefits, not the rewards to society….

    You do ask a good question: would people get “married” without getting married, and bring all the benefits to society, if there was no legal construct or benefits to them of marriage? Is the same true of tax law as well, I wonder…for benefits, tax deductions, etc., for businesses?

    As for polygamy, the legal construct now is based on equal partnerships that slide to 100% when one person is no longer able to make decisions (death, incapacitations, etc.). With 3 or more, the involvement in the courts to resolve split decisions would go up tremendously, if many people took advantage of the polygamy allowance…As it is now, one person dies/goes into a coma, boom: 100% of the authority and power goes to the other member…not to be split amongst the remainder of 2 or more, to quibble and argue and sue over decisions on who gets the kids or inheritance, or power of attorney/resuscitation, etc.

    Laws would have to get a lot more complicated, for little to no benefits to society to construct a legal arrangement for polygamy.

    I can’t comment on polygmaous non-marriages being prosecuted as polygamy, as I don’t have the legal background on the laws that are being broken…but maybe it’s archaic laws that need to be overwritten about relationships and what you do in your own house that doesn’t affect anyone else that needs to be overwritten there, not equality of marriage opportunity for gays and lesbians.

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  106. [...] resistance that will no doubt be mounted by social conservatives, and the extent to which they have moved the goalposts on this issue, the trend is clearly in the direction of marriage [...]

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