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Same-sex marriage and the election (Part 2):

Much more important to the politics of gay marriage than the national election results are the results in (1) popular votes on state constitutional gay-marriage bans and (2) the results in state legislative races. Both suggest that we may be headed for more state legislative action toward the recognition of same-sex relationships in the form of civil unions and domestic partnerships (less so, for now, in the form of full marriage). This post will address the first development.

State constitutional gay-marriage bans

There are two huge stories in the votes on gay-marriage bans around the country. First, for the first time ever a gay-marriage ban has been rejected by the voters of a state, Arizona. It's not the same as an endorsement of gay marriage, but it's an unprecedented and potentially significant defeat for opponents of gay marriage. Still, I am at a loss to explain the precise reason for the result in Arizona. It could have been driven by demographics, individual state issues, differences in the pro- and anti-amendment campaigns, or the generally more libertarian political climate in the state. (By the way, I think this election could fairly be described overall as a libertarian rebellion.)

Second, average support for the bans in the seven states where they passed was down dramatically from previous elections. Here are the latest numbers on the proposed state constitutional amendments:

Arizona: Defeated 51%-49%

Colorado: Passed 56%-44%

Idaho: Passed 65%-35%

South Carolina: Passed 84%-16%

South Dakota: Passed 52%-48%

Tennessee: Passed 84%-16%

Virginia: 58%-42%

Wisconsin: 59%-41%

See here for state-by-state marriage amendment votes in this and past elections.

There are some remarkable things about these numbers. In the seven states where the amendments passed, average support was down to about 61%. That's about 8-10% less than average support for these amendments in past elections. Of the eight states, support for the bans was held under 60% in five; that had previously happened in only one state out of twenty. Prior to this election, the low-water mark for a ban was 56% (in Oregon in 2004). Three states (Arizona, Colorado, and South Dakota) were at or under that mark this year.

What produced these surprisingly good results for gay-marriage supporters? Several things may be happening:

(1) Voters are getting habituated to the idea of gay marriage, even if they don't quite accept it, and so are less likely to vote to ban it (and similar unions).

(2) Voters are starting to catch on that these proposed amendments are about much more than gay marriage. They ban civil unions (which pluralities now favor), domestic partnerships, and potentially much, much more. And they do not simply stop judges from imposing gay marriage; they apply even to state legislative action.

(3) Individual state races and issues skewed the results. South Dakota, where support for the amendment was an astonishingly low 52%, is the most obvious example. There, the result was probably affected by the presence of a sweeping anti-abortion ballot measure, which brought out lots of pro-choice and anti-anti-abortion voters.

(4) It was a very bad night for Republicans for reasons unrelated to gay marriage (the Iraq war, perceived corruption), which produced a drag on support for the amendments. In almost every state (except Arizona) the marriage bans did better than most Republicans in state-wide races. Virginia is the clearest example of this, where the amendment passed with 59% support yet amendment supporter Sen. George Allen got just 49%. Gay-marriage bans can't save Republicans when the tide is this overwhelming.

Gay-marriage supporters will emphasize the first two factors; opponents will emphasize the second two. I do think it's fair to say that gay-marriage bans are starting to fizzle as a potent political weapon. Just as gay-marriage litigants are running out of friendly state judiciaries, gay-marriage opponents are starting to run out of very friendly state electorates (though I do think we'll end up with about 32-35 states with amendments when all is said and done).

The declining potency of this issue will likely have two effects. First, it will probably embolden more state legislators to reject state amendment proposals, preventing them from reaching the ballots in states where legislatures must approve them.

Second, the erosion of public support for marriage bans also suggests, I think, that both sides are going to have to start focusing more on legislation in the states. Neither will be able to deploy the trump card of judicial supremacy, on the one hand, or constitutional amendment, on the other. That's a healthy development since it means we'll have more actual legislative debate and compromise on the issue, outside of the cool confines of judicial chambers and the hothouse of popular referenda. It also means incremental change will be permitted, where judicial action and constitutional amendment on this issue entail a priori, all-or-nothing policymaking.

On that score, this election produced signs that the tide is turning in the legislative arena toward more recognition of gay relationships. That's the subject of the next post.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Same-sex marriage and the election (Part 2):
  2. Same-sex marriage and the election (Part 1):
Bart (mail):
Amidst the wreckage, what jumps out at me about this election is that voters elected a series of conservative Democrats sounding like Reagan and passed nearly every conservative initiative offered.

As an Elephant, I can only hope that the left mistakenly considers this to be some sort of a mandate for their policies and overreaches over the next two years.
11.8.2006 12:46pm
Joe W (mail):
It is rare for me to comment here. These posts miss the mark. The results show overwhelmingly the American people are against same-sex marriage. If the domestic partner benefits passed in Colorado you might be able to spin something positive from this. Expect Arizona to vote again on this issue in another environment and expect it to pass.
11.8.2006 12:59pm
M.E.Butler (mail):
Another factor that I missed in a quick read of your post was voter turnout.

I understand that voter turnout was well under 50% nationwide, and it's a fair guess that many conservatives, disgusted with the performance of the Republican government, sat this one out. That suggests that not too much attention should be paid to the "shrinking majority".
11.8.2006 1:11pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
I believe the most valid points are 2 and 4. Actually, I cannot even see a difference between 3 and 4.

The first point should probably be restated: "Voters are getting tired of arguing about gay marriage and just want everyone to shut up about it."

I'm offended by that. I'm offended that the gay marriage lobby has just whined and bitched and moaned about the issue so much, without making a single valid point about how gay marriage is in any way important or productive, that the average voter would prefer to pass a law than hear them complain about it anymore. I'm tired of talking about it, too, but I'm NOT tired of opposing laws that don't produce a single positive result except by extended accident. We don't really want gay marriage, we want the extended accident, and that's dangerous.

Look at Gerry Studds and his pension, because it's the single most compelling argument I've seen. He couldn't give his pension to his gay partner, because in the eyes of the Federal government they weren't married, and he's only allowed to leave his pension to his spouse. He should have been able to leave his pension to the man he loved; it was only fair. But we shouldn't get that by redefining the word "marriage" which forces a redefinition of the word "spouse" and suddenly it's not against the rules any more. We should get that by changing the rules, because the rules are wrong.

My concern is that when you say "let us make this small change, because that will cause a series of changes that will cascade into what we want" you are admitting right up front that this small change is not small at all. You're following this chain of events four levels down in one direction and saying "look, that would be good" - but what happens in other directions? Does your cascade over here cause an avalanche over there? Is anyone going to suffer? We don't fully understand what a change like this is going to do, and "don't worry about it" isn't a good plan.

But I'm no less offended by condition 2: the "defense" laws people are putting up about opposite-sex marriage are hideously overbroad. They may as well be called the "FAGGOTS GO HOME" acts. I'm actually shocked at how readily otherwise-intelligent people will vote for these pieces of utter garbage.

Everybody acts like this is a two-sided issue, where we either recognise gay marriage as identical to any other marriage, or we forbid it altogether. This is not true. Both sides would like to pretend it is true, because there is simply no valid reason why either side is good - it is supportable only because the other side is bad. But that just means both sides are bad. We don't have to pass either law. Can't we just wait until one of the sides is actually good before we make a law?
11.8.2006 1:16pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
> I understand that voter turnout was well
> under 50% nationwide

I understand that this has been the norm for over a decade. Roughly 60% of the American public doesn't vote.
11.8.2006 1:17pm
Gabriel Malor (mail):
Caliban writes:
I'm offended that the gay marriage lobby has just whined and bitched and moaned about the issue so much, without making a single valid point about how gay marriage is in any way important or productive, that the average voter would prefer to pass a law than hear them complain about it anymore.


This is exactly backwards. In this country, the Government has to have a reason to ban something. The citizenry does not have to provide reasons to make something legal; that's the default position. "Somethings" are legal unless there's a reason to make them illegal (or it falls into the ennumerated powers). Gay marriage proponents should have to prove nothing.

He also writes:
But we shouldn't get that by redefining the word "marriage" which forces a redefinition of the word "spouse" and suddenly it's not against the rules any more. We should get that by changing the rules, because the rules are wrong.


This ignores the the second portion of most of the marriage initiatives and amendments. In addition to providing the definition of the (so-called) traditional marriage, they also prevent the state from giving any benefits "approximating marriage" to non-married couples. This rules out domestic partner laws and civil unions.

So it's not just about re-defining the word "marriage." It's about reserving those benefits--even when states have provided for them previously in the guise of domestic partnership laws.
11.8.2006 1:55pm
logicnazi (mail) (www):
What about the hypothesis that the states that passed the bans first, i.e., the group that voted in the last election, is just more resolutely anti-gay?

Rather than indicating any change maybe this was the vote that would have happened all along in these states?
11.8.2006 1:55pm
FantasiaWHT:
logicnazi took my point, this is by far the most obvious explanations. The states that are the most strongly anti-gay-marriage went first, took the initiative.
11.8.2006 2:04pm
jvarisco (www):
What about the referendum on domestic partnerships in Colorado, which failed? It seems to me less that people are supporting gay marriage, but that opponents of the bans successfully cast them as harming heterosexual relationships. The campaign in Arizona explicitly avoided using gay couples at all in their ads, because they decided that doing so would turn people off.

It's also not entirely clear that the Arizona ban has failed - there are still a few ballots out, that may well change the result. And opponents of the ban spent twice as much as supporters - all things equal, it is doubtful that a ban in any state in this country would fail without an extremely hostile external situation.
11.8.2006 2:10pm
Randy R. (mail):
Here in Washington, the local council has the votes to make gay marriage a reality. The only reason they have not yet in the past is that they realized it would be overturned by the Republican congress, and they might pass a bill that would make it permanent. (The attorney general wrote a memo that not only would gay marriage be legal in DC, but it could be recognized by other states, unlike Massachusetts).

However, now that the Dems appear to control both houses, it's unlikely such a bill would even make it out of committee. So we will see -- Perhaps Washington, DC will become the first jurisdiction to grant gay marriage without judicial mandate. Washington has a very large gay population, and so there would be a lot of marriages performed here, and then gay couples from around the country would come as well.

So -- if the Council acts, it could be a flood. It will make civil unions look positively ridiculous!
11.8.2006 3:50pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
"could" be recognized or "would" be recognized? The problem would be for states that wouldn't WANT to recognize those marriages.

Are you saying this would get around DOMA?
11.8.2006 3:55pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Bart:

Minimum wage hikes passed in all six states in which it was on the ballot; see also Missouri and stem cell research ...
11.8.2006 4:09pm
Ubertrout (mail) (www):
I think the AZ result can be explained in part due to libertarian tendencies, but that's not really why it failed. It failed because its drafters massively overreached and drafted a proposition that would impact straight people also, at least in theory. The text of Prop. 107:

To preserve and protect marriage in this state, only a union between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage by this state or its political subdivisions and no legal status for unmarried persons shall be created or recognized by this state or its political subdivisions that is similar to that of marriage.

As noted above, the ads in Arizona avoided using gay couples at all. I'd be willing to bet that a more narrowly drafted proposition would have faced a very different result.
11.8.2006 4:54pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
@ Gabriel Malor:

> In this country, the Government has to
> have a reason to ban something.

You're oversimplifying.

1. The government has to have a reason to pass any law whatsoever, whether it bans something or not.

2. The reason does not have to be good, it just has to be acceptable to more people than there are objecting to it.

Gay marriage is already legal. You can go to anyone you consider authorised to perform a marriage, and ask him to marry you, and he can do it. Then you're married. You just aren't LEGALLY married, because you don't have a marriage license and your marriage wasn't performed by a recognised official. And because you aren't LEGALLY married, there are all kinds of benefits and bonuses and legal abilities that you don't get with respect to your partner.

But the problem is not that you need to be legally married. It's that those benefits and bonuses and legal abilities should not be restricted to your spouse and only your spouse. So gay marriage is NOT the problem that needs to be solved.

I've given this a lot of thought, and I believe the most productive legal way to approach this is by treating homosexuality as a religious belief, and any refusal to extend these things to homosexuals as religious persecution. We do not have a strong sexual freedom movement in America, but we definitely have a strong RELIGIOUS freedom movement. We need to stress that this problem is not a gay problem, it is an American problem. We need examples of people who ARE NOT GAY and still can't have these things.

> This ignores the the second portion of most
> of the marriage initiatives and amendments.

No it doesn't. Those initiatives and amendments are bullshit. Every state that put them on the ballot should be ashamed, and so should everyone who voted for them. I don't care what they say in the second half, because the first half is outrageous and unacceptable.
11.8.2006 5:05pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
> gay couples from around the country would
> come as well.

This just in: DuPont Circle scheduled to be widened to eight lanes.

(Runs away)
11.8.2006 5:08pm
ChrisO (mail):
"pro-choice and anti-anti-abortion voters"

who is this anti-anti-abortion crowd?
11.8.2006 6:00pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
> who is this anti-anti-abortion crowd

I would expect that would be people who want abortions to be legal, but not by choice.

In other words, they want abortions to be forced on people who don't want them! "YOU! Have an abortion!" "But I'm a man!" "Shut up, and get into the stirrups!"
11.8.2006 6:14pm
lucia (mail) (www):
I would expect that would be people who want abortions to be legal, but not by choice.

Sort of like the goverment in the PRC? Where they definitely don't recognize anything similar to our right to privacy!
11.8.2006 6:30pm
Rob Johnson (mail):
Dale,

It is not clear that Arizonans rejected Prop 107, the gay-marriage ban. Vote Totals indicate that "Yes" votes trail "No" votes by 32,345. Maricopa County Recorder, Helen Purcell, announced today that approximately 258,000 votes remain to be counted. The vast majority of those being "early ballot votes." Some people think that "early ballot" voters will trend more conservative than the average voter. So, the success of Prop 107 is still an open question.
11.8.2006 8:02pm
Aleks:
Re: First, for the first time ever a gay-marriage ban has been rejected by the voters of a state, Arizona.

The Arizona amendment was much more than just a gay marriage ban. It was more than even just a ban as well on civil unions. It was so expansively yet vaguely worded that voters rightly feared it would seriously impact heterosexual cohabitive arrangements too, a fear which opponents exploited quite easily in their ads against the measure (I heard some of these ads while in AZ last week; they were quite strident about that.) Sure, some other states have passed measures just as poorly worded (and VA did last night), but some troubling court cases have arisen as a result: doemstic violence laws nullified, partner benefits for unmarried straight people revoked at public facilities etc. A lesson for gay marraige foes: keep it short, simple and concise and people will approve your laws by huge margins. But poorly worded laws are an invitation to judicial meddling and can be overturned outright (as Nebraska found out).

Re: Some people think that "early ballot" voters will trend more conservative than the average voter.

More likley the other way around, as the early voters are likely to have been highly motivated Democrats and other outraged folks who didn't want to wait for a chance to vote against the bums in office.
11.8.2006 8:44pm
ReaderY:
I will just say that the issues involved in an election situation are very different from those involved in a judicial one.
11.8.2006 9:48pm
Randy R. (mail):
I like what was said over at Americablog. Consider:

Think about Angie Paccione (D-CO), who got 43% of the vote in Colorado as compared to her Republican opponent, Marilyn Musgrave, who got 46%. Now, pay attention to who these two women are. Paccione is openly in favor of gay marriage. Musgrave is the religious right's top ally in the House, the author of the anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment to the US Constitution. The race was in conservative Colorado. Yet, what happened? Paccione, the lady in favor of gay marriage, got seriously close to unseating Musgrave, the religious right bat from hell.

Let me repeat that. A Democrat openly in favor of gay marriage almost won in the heart of religious right America against the #1 religious right poster girl. That not only shows the diversity of Democratic candidates running, but it also shows the acceptance of diversity that exists even in the heart of conservative America. America is not black and white, red or blue.
11.9.2006 12:21am
Brian G (mail) (www):
If Arizona's voters don't want to ban it fine. Surely a lot more legitimate than a judge-imposed legislative scheme.
11.9.2006 12:57am
Hans Gruber:
Randy R,

You don't know what you're talking about. CO 4 is not a bastion of the religious right, it is a moderately conservative district. Musgrave won against Stan Matsunaka (who opposed the FMA and promised to fight for couples' "civil rights regardless of their gender") by only 6% in 2004, her margin was 3% in 2006 against Paccione. Musgrave is definitely underperforming in CO 4, but it has nothing to do with her leadership on the SSM issue nor is her performance in 2006 appreciabley worse, especially given the national climate.
11.9.2006 1:02am
Daedalus (mail):
Arizona'a prop 107 also did not allow for civil unions - Both my wife and I voted against prop 107 due to that fact. I still believe marriage is for a man and woman, but the mean spirited people who worte prop 107 were over the edge.
11.9.2006 10:00am
Randy R. (mail):
Hans:

First, I was quoting someone else. But more importantly, what the stats show is that most Americans really don't CARE one way or another about the gay marriage debate. Sure, if forced to choose, they might, as a majority be against it. But otherwise, they really don't care. Other issues are much, much more important. Your stat on Stan on reinforces that conclusion.

And that conclusion means that we have come a long long way. And it will only keep going that way, I believe. Hooray!
11.9.2006 10:06am
Randy R. (mail):
Another point: In Virginia, George Allen (who has many attractive openly gay young men on his staff), did quite a bit of gay bashing in his campaign, especially once the NJ court decision came out. There are reports that the VA amendment brought out quite a few people to vote in favor of banning gay marriage and civil unions and then took the opportunity to vote against Allen. So in effect, his gay bashing actually worked against him.

In this election cycle, and in most that we've seen in the past, not a single candidate for congress who was FOR gay marriage or civil unions lost an election. Again, this supports my contention that gay marriage is not the big issue some conservatives see it as.

in fact, stats show that gay bashing in general does not win you any elections. I only wish politicians would learn that. (I say in general, since there are of course policians who gay bash, especially in the south, who win elections. But even there, do they win mainly because they are anti-gay, or because of other issues?)
11.9.2006 10:14am
Bart (mail):
JosephSlater (mail):

Bart: Minimum wage hikes passed in all six states in which it was on the ballot; see also Missouri and stem cell research ...

Even though it makes no sense economically, there has been a public consensus supporting the minimum wage for generations. A good chunk of the GOP supports the minimum wage.

The concept of stem cell research also does not cut neatly across liberal or conservative lines. A number of conservatives have come out in support of this funding. This is hardly evidence of a voter lurch to the left.
11.9.2006 12:33pm
BoBo (mail):
I just love reading Dale's posts and law review articles. But they're not very surprising. Invariably, they contain some spin about how the American public is embracing homosexuality. Or they go on about how life just isn't fair for homosexuals. See Dale Carpenter, "Unanimously Wrong," Cato Supreme Court Review 2005-2006.

This post was most amusing. Seven out of eight states defined marriage within its normal context. Dale counts that as proof of further acceptance of homosexuality by the masses ("surprisingly good results for gay-marriage supporters" and "Voters are getting habituated to the idea of gay marriage, even if they don’t quite accept it, and so are less likely to vote to ban it").

And there are some impressive numbers -- 84% in support of the traditional definition in Tennessee and South Carolina. 65% in favor in Idaho. Good stuff.

And so it goes, federalism wins the day on Nov. 7. We're all still in support of federalism, right? Even when states make policy preferences we disagree with?
11.9.2006 12:40pm
PeterH:
Randy R:
In this election cycle, and in most that we've seen in the past, not a single candidate for congress who was FOR gay marriage or civil unions lost an election. Again, this supports my contention that gay marriage is not the big issue some conservatives see it as.


I'm not sure that follows. It is certainly true in specific localities. But it ignores other localities where candidates may have known better than to come out for gay marriage or civil unions in the first place.

Yes, things are looking up. And yes, it is clear that it is no longer the Kiss of Death for a candidate to be pro-gay anywhere and everywhere. But it's hard to really apply your observation to other races, where there were no overtly pro-gay candidates. Was that coincidence, self-selection on the part of candidates who might otherwise be pro-gay, or a sign that things in that area are so virulently anti-gay that no candidate can survive to get on a ballot with an openly pro-gay stance.

I think what is more telling is that there were quite a few incidences of a decoupling of the marriage issue with automatic votes for a party. (Places where they approved an anti-gay amendment, but elected a Democrat, for example.) Once it no longer becomes political gold to be anti-gay, they'll drop the issue completely to avoid offending moderates, and the snowball will be well and truly rolling.
11.9.2006 3:37pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
@ PeterH:

> Once it no longer becomes political gold
> to be anti-gay, they'll drop the issue
> completely to avoid offending moderates

At which point the gay community's complaints that so-and-so doesn't have a clear position on gay marriage will start to sound very much like the stupid argument it is.

The real issue here is that our nation has changed. We are no longer a nation of white Anglo-Saxon protestant heterosexual land (and slave) owners who marry once and have three children before dying in our fifties. Our laws have not kept pace with that, and more of us are feeling the pinch every day.
11.9.2006 4:08pm
Randy R. (mail):
From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
It sounded like a good idea at the time.

Get the proposed same-sex marriage constitutional amendment on the November ballot to drive up the Republican vote while driving Democrats out of office. The plan worked for President Bush two years ago, particularly in Ohio. So why wouldn't it do the same in Wisconsin this year, the GOP brass reasoned.

Welcome to the real world.

"The timing ended up backfiring," said U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, a Menomonee Falls Republican. "I think the opposite worked out this time."

The controversial amendment easily passed Tuesday, with Wisconsin voters approving the ban by 59% to 41%.

But the measure clearly had an unintended consequence by sparking a larger-than-expected turnout, especially among left-leaning college students, who flooded their campus polling places.

The result: Dems scored some unexpected gains in the Statehouse.
There's more from Rep. Sensenbrenner:
Sensenbrenner doesn't disagree with the impact of the amendment on driving up the campus vote. But that's only part of the story, he said.

By putting the same-sex marriage and death penalty measures on the same ballot, Sensenbrenner said, Republican leaders in the Legislature ended up drawing the wrong type of voter to the polls - Democrats, especially conservative ones. Those people voted for the ballot proposals but against Republican candidates.

His proof: About 275,000 people cast ballots for the ban on same-sex marriages but not for Green.

What's more, he said, the Republican strategy gave opponents 1½ years to organize and raise millions of dollars.

"It was a lose-lose situation," Sensenbrenner said. "You had Reagan Democrats and socially conservative union members who wanted to vote yes and yes (on the referendums) and then voted for Doyle.

"And then you had liberals who voted no on both, then voted for Democrats."
11.9.2006 7:24pm
Randy R. (mail):
Bobo: No state has voted on the acceptance of homosexuality. What are you talking about?

And no, we are not in agreement about federalism. We don't let each state decide whether it can allow slavery, or other disparate treatment of any group. Federalism does not mean anything goes at the state level -- it means that they can do whatever they want, within the confines of the US Constitution. And if the US Const. says you must treat all people equally and fairly, then it presumably means that applies to gay people as well.

And as was posted here several months ago, the number of people who said that they "strongly disagreed" with gay marriage dropped significantly, especially among the elderly, and increased quite a bit in the "somewhat disagree", while also increasing in the "somewhat agree" categories. So that tells us that opposition to gay marriage across the US is softening, especially among the elderly, and increasing acceptance. The latest polls had just over 50% approve. These are indeed good numbers. Not enough to win at the ballot box yet, but they are going in the right direction.
11.9.2006 7:31pm
Hans Gruber:
"what the stats show is that most Americans really don't CARE one way or another about the gay marriage debate. Sure, if forced to choose, they might, as a majority be against it. But otherwise, they really don't care. Other issues are much, much more important. Your stat on Stan on reinforces that conclusion."

I don't really care all that much about the issue itself, but I do get quite angry with courts pushing the issue. I think it's correct that most Americans are not passionate about gay marriage. But that means they're not passionately for it, either. Among Americans that feel strongly about it one way or another, I'm sure the strong opponents outnumber the stron proponents. The challenge to each group is to convince the majority of more or less ambivalent Americans of the rightness of their position.

I didn't follow the VA extremely closely, why exactly do you mean by "gay bashing"?
11.10.2006 3:35am
Shawn-non-anonymous:
BoBo:

How does one square The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) with Federalism?
11.10.2006 1:56pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
> The challenge to each group is to
> convince the majority of more or
> less ambivalent Americans of the
> rightness of their position.

Which is quite a chore, considering that both of their positions are wrong.

The anti-SSM crowd is claiming that somehow, in some way, if gays get married all hell will break loose. This is simply a stupid argument.

The pro-SSM crowd, on the other hand, is saying that if gays CAN'T get married it's just like racism. This is also a stupid argument.

Once you start boiling it down to real tangible differences between SSM and non-SSM conditions, you start to see that the question really isn't about marriage at all, but nobody likes that idea.
11.10.2006 4:22pm
lucia (mail) (www):
@Caliban: So if the campaign for same sex marriage isn't about marriage, what do you think the question really is about?
11.10.2006 5:00pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
@ lucia:

The fight for gay marriage is really about the entitlement of gay couples to the same rights and privileges married couples have.

You can tell, because THEY CAN ALREADY GET MARRIED. They just don't get those rights and privileges.

I keep saying this, and you keep forgetting it. What's the deal? MS?
11.10.2006 8:36pm
lucia (mail) (www):
Well.... uhmmm.... yeah, Caliban. The fight for gay marriage is about access to civil recognition of marriage. Duh.

Why in the heck do you think anyone is forgetting this? Why do you think you can say things like the fight "isn't about marriage at all" and be saying anything remotely meaningful or true?
11.10.2006 10:12pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
@ lucia:

> The fight for gay marriage is about access
> to civil recognition of marriage. Duh.

Yeah, "duh". Because THAT'S NOT WHAT I SAID. Pay attention.

Civil recognition of marriage is not and never has been what gays want. It is simply the gate that prevents them from REACHING what they want. What they want is to be entitled to the same rights and privileges as married couples. There is more than one solution to this problem, and forcing your way through the gate is not the best option.

> Why in the heck do you think anyone is
> forgetting this?

Because people keep asking about it, and I keep saying it, and then not TWO HOURS LATER they start pretending I said something else entirely. Just like this! I say it's about the rights and privileges, and then you say it's about the civil recognition. No. It. Is. Not. You are smarter than this.
11.10.2006 11:11pm
Chimaxx (mail):
Uhm, Caliban. Civil recognition of marriage--including the rights, privileges and responsibilities thereto--is precisely what same-sex couples are seeking.

As you admit, same-sex couples can already have a church marriage in a few denominations, declare themselves married, and introduce one another as spouses socially. But they are denied the legal marriage contract and ALL of its effects.

The fact that the discussion often turns to particular rights is because they are a tangible effect of the marriage contract that everyone understands. To see that as the full sum of what the gay couples seeking marriage are after is simply erroneous. The first reaction of the couples and organizations in the wake of the New Jersey decision was "Only marriage will do." If what you were saying is correct, the reaction would have been "Civil unions or whatever you want to call it is fine, as long as it has the same rights as marriage." But the reaction most emphatically was not that.
11.11.2006 9:12pm
lucia (mail) (www):
Caliban,
The gay couples I know who want to get married, want to get married and have those marriages recognized as legally binding.

Their desire for same sex marriage is absolutely, positively about marriage. I support same sex marriage-- and my support is all about marriage.

You may not like that they want this. You, Caliban, may wish they wanted something else. You, Caliban, may be advising them to want something else. But marriage and legal recognition of that status, is what they want.
11.11.2006 9:59pm