[Forum] federalism, gay marriage, etc.
rs at robertsheridan.com
Sat Jul 31 09:52:46 PDT 2010
With respect, I submit that what is at stake for gay people is more than
and apart from the economic benefits, many of which have already been
conferred by some states and governments which permit partner benefits
for acknowledged relationships. It's the feeling that respect is owed.
Human dignity is a most important value in our national life. The
refusal to grant equality to gays because they are gays communicates
that "You are not one of us. You are a second-class citizen to whom
straights owe no duty," much as Chief Justice Taney wrote of blacks in
Dred Scott." Gays want to serve equally in the military; after all,
it's their country as much as anyone else's. Gays want to visit their
loved ones in the hospital w/o being forced to run a gauntlet of
requirements that only spouses and relatives can meet. Even when all
these objections are met, if they're met, the issue of gay marriage will
remain. Why? Because after all of the more mundane objections are met,
we are left with the, let's call it, the human dignity or respect issue.
I don't see how, in my America at least, one can deny a person
dignity/respect because of his sexual orientation, any more than the
color of one's eyes.
Perhaps I didn't grow up (in New York) thinking this way, but whatever
I've read in history, law, and the popular media have persuaded me that
the old way of thinking was wrong.
We live and learn.
On an arguably related matter, Victor Davis Hanson, in his "The Father
of Us All" a book on the history of war, points out that nations go to
war not just because they've been attacked, or have a great economic
interest at stake, but because they get fed up with what someone else
has been doing that they feel demeans them if they don't respond with
force. Perhaps George W. Bush was operating on this principle when he
ordered the invasion of Iraq after 9-11, a nation that had nothing to do
with 9-11, but whose leader, Saddam Hussein, tried to assassinate his
father, George H.W. Bush, during a visit to Kuwait, a country he'd
rescued from Saddam in 1991. Call it pride, but it accounts for more
than waving the flag and chanting at public events. Pride, or the
threat to it, makes people move, and act. I suggest that gay people
will continue to work for equality until they feel they've achieved
same. So long as gay marriage is not recognized, that symbolism will be
On 7/31/2010 9:01 AM, Curtis, Michael K. wrote:
> Of course, the church need not recognize gay unions.
> The core issue to me is whether gays should be denied the very
> substantial state conferred economic benefits accorded to the
> married.---taxation of domestic partner heath insurance, denial of
> other tax advantages etc. That seems to me to be the basic issue.
> At one time segregation of blacks and bans on interracial marriage
> struck most as rational and normal; so did state discrimination
> against women. As understanding of the social facts changed, so did
> the Court's view of the rationality of these practices. The major
> premise, the principle, did not change. Civil unions with federal
> equivalence on tax, social security, etc. would take care of the
> economic discrimination at least .
> If you think homosexuality is an evil to be discouraged, then you
> would want to disadvantage gay people; if you think it is an
> acceptable variation (probably genetic, but I don't think that is
> crucial) then denial of these benefits (whatever you call the legal
> entity---civil unions, etc) is wrong and for me comparable to the
> other discriminations that were once accepted but now mostly
> repudiated. Those who opposed the Civil Rights Act of 64 and the
> voting Rights Act of 65 often spoke of states' rights (Goldwater,
> etc.) but did not as far as I know urge the Southern states to get rid
> of segregation or bans on inter-racial marriage. . William Rehnquist
> as a Goldwater legal adviser, urged him to base his opposition to
> the Civil Rights Act on states' rights. But Rehnquist opposed a
> Phoenix civil rights ordinance---so obviously other values were at
> stake. He later changed his views. Ronald Reagan another Goldwater
> supported campaigned in favor of repealing the CA open housing law.
> The voters agreed with Reagan. Whatever else was involved, it was not
> a states' rights issue.
> States' rights is usually just a factor, and rarely the major
> one---except maybe for a very few. We all support it sometimes.
> Liberals and conservatives diverge on when, not whether---usually.
> See preemption; the Boy Scouts case, etc.
> Michael Curtis
> *From:* conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu
> [mailto:conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu] *On Behalf Of *Raymond Kessler
> *Sent:* Saturday, July 31, 2010 10:29 AM
> *To:* 'John Hughes'; LAWCOURT-L at TULANE.EDU; conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu;
> forum at sulross.edu
> *Subject:* RE: [Forum] federalism, gay marriage, etc.
> Agreed! I'm glad to see folks sticking to principles even if they may
> not like the result in particular cases.
> *From:* John Hughes [mailto:jhughes at sulross.edu]
> *Sent:* Monday, July 19, 2010 2:02 PM
> *To:* 'Raymond Kessler'; LAWCOURT-L at TULANE.EDU;
> conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu; forum at sulross.edu
> *Subject:* RE: [Forum] federalism, gay marriage, etc.
> I recently commented on this in a blog, see quote.
> "Again, it's up to individual states' residents if they choose to
> honor homosexual unions for whatever reason. ... Regardless, gays will
> continue to live together. As far as Holy Matrimony is concerned, the
> church has every right not to recognize same sex marriages as such
> violates the core tenets of their faith." Plus " finding fault with
> traditional heterosexual unions to rationalize gay marriage is based
> on a false premise."
> *From:* forum-bounces at mail.sulross.edu
> [mailto:forum-bounces at mail.sulross.edu] *On Behalf Of *Raymond Kessler
> *Sent:* Monday, July 19, 2010 1:13 PM
> *To:* LAWCOURT-L at TULANE.EDU; conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu; forum at sulross.edu
> *Subject:* [Forum] federalism, gay marriage, etc.
> As many of you already know, a federal District Court judge struck
> down parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Many
> conservatives sacrificed federalism (which they claim to value) to
> pass this law to try to protect the traditional heterosexual
> definition of marriage. IMHO, the DOMA was beyond the powers granted
> to the federal government and these matters were reserved to the
> states under the 10th Amendment. LINK
> is it all going to end? There's a good chance it will end with the
> Supreme Court holding that Equal Protection requires that legal
> marriage be made equally available to both gays and straights. For a
> start, see Justice O'Connor's concurring opinion in Lawrence v. Texas.
> Although O'Connor says her opinion has nothing to do with gay
> marriage, her logic clearly does. LINK
> Ray Kessler
> Prof. of Criminal Justice
> Sul Ross State Univ.
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