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View Diary: Pure and Simple: Equal Rights (196 comments)

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  •  No Government Recognized Marriage (none)
    I do not support the government recognition of marriage, period.  Government should recognize civil unions.  Marriage is too church-based to be recognized by the government, in my view.  You know, church-state separation, the constitution and all that.  If it ain't a religious concept why the concern about the "sanctity" of marriage?

    Given that the government recognizes certain types of marriage then I believe that it should recognize "gay marriage" as well.

    But I can not get too excited about extending a "right" that I feel should not exist.

    Dump Delay and Bush - UnDelay and UnBush America.

    by i dunno on Fri Feb 13, 2004 at 07:47:39 AM PST

    •  Amen! (4.00)
      If people want to get married, that's between them and their God.

      If the government wants to acknowledge couples and families as distinct legal entities with different tax statuses and inheritance laws, it should do so. But it doesn't need to recognize the sanctity of marriage in order to do that.

      As long as the government continues to codify religious doctrine into law, we will always be at risk that fundamentalists like Bush/Ashcroft will endeavor to replace our constitution with their bible.

      Increasingly it seems, the pervasive attitude in America today is that it's okay to not be a Christian, as long as you behave like one. That's a scary proposition for the tens of millions of Americans who are not Christians. It's even scarier when the President of the United States and his Attorney General are given free reign to interpret how Christians (and therefore all Americans) should behave.

      Keep the church out of our laws. Treat everyone equally. Replace marriage with civil unions.

      •  Sanctity (4.00)
        The State does not recognize the sanctity of marriage.  This is an rhetorical tool used to cloud the issue.  The Roman Catholic Church, for instance, will not sanctify the second marriages of divorced people (in theory).  The State, however, recognizes such marriages as legal and valid.

        Please, people, recognize that the Church/State separation already exists within marriage itself.  That is why we have civil marriage (the state) and sacramental marriage (religious).  The state plays no role, nor should it, in issues of sacrament.  The two may be conflated in many people's understandings, but we're talking about two different things.

        I've written a much longer diary entry dealing with exactly this issue.  The point, though, is that marriage is not one thing--there are two types of marriage we're dealing with.  Those are the things that should be kept separate.  Leave sacramental marriage to the religions.  Keep civil marriage with the state.  And, when looking at civil marriage, the state should never treat its citizens as second class.  Everyone should be eligible for civil marriage.  That's what this fight is about.  You may have religious objections, but take those to your churches, synagogues, mosques or whatever other house of worship and group you worship with.  Keep the sacramental aspects of marriage out of debates about civil marriage!

        There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action. *J.W. von Goethe

        by MAJeff on Fri Feb 13, 2004 at 11:12:47 AM PST

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        •  Abolish civil marriage! (none)
          It is just semantics.  There is marriage (a religious sacrament) and there are Civil Unions (a government recognized association).  Period.  Take the word marriage out of the Civil Contract and the problem is found not to exist.
          •  You Don't Own the Word 'Marriage' (none)
            ...any more than you own the word 'hymn' or 'bible'. Those words have specific meanings for you, and no one is going to change that; but those words can also have different meanings for other people, so why should you try to reach into their heads to force your ideas on them?

            "I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs." "I find the puppet on the left more to my liking." "Hey, there's one guy holding both puppets... SMACK!"

            by Anton Sirius on Fri Feb 13, 2004 at 11:28:58 AM PST

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            •  Umm.. (none)
              I think you missed something. The point is, that if you replace "marriage" with "civil unions" in our code of laws then it doesn't matter who "owns" marriage, because there are no legal rights associated with it. This isn't about "owning" marriage, it's about freeing it for everyone to define for their own community, rather than establishing a legal definition of it.

              SW is explaining his personal opinion of marriage - that it is a religious sacrament. You're free to have your own definition of it. It doesn't matter, because it becomes a community decision rather than a legal one. This suggestion is completely reasonable.

              If you can read this, you're not the president.

              by Jer on Fri Feb 13, 2004 at 02:43:05 PM PST

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              •  Sure It's Reasonable (none)
                If other communities are free to perform gay marriages.

                But that didn't seem to be the suggestion.

                "I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs." "I find the puppet on the left more to my liking." "Hey, there's one guy holding both puppets... SMACK!"

                by Anton Sirius on Fri Feb 13, 2004 at 03:18:17 PM PST

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              •  Ah, But the Details ... (none)
                It really is a radical change.  A marriage license is required for civil recognition, but it isn't valid without a ceremony (religious or otherwise).  And, if the relationship is not consumated (a wonderfully silly anachronistic euphemism), annullment can be had easily.

                Would civil marriage require more than licensure?  How about civil unions?  

                In some states, but not others, commonlaw marriage is reconized, requiring neither license nor ceremony, rather only an established history.  In other jurisdictions that do not recognize commonlaw marriage, there are recent precedents concerning 'palimony' for unmarried but 'committed' partnerships.  

                Marriage, indeed, is the longtime fly in the ointment of separation of church and state.  That the state accepts performance of the ceremony by a religious leader itself as legitimate determinant for whether a partnership exists is prima facie. (I.e. license without ceremony = !marriage; license + religious ritual + consumation = marriage.)  There are no other legal constructs that I know of that deal require testimony before an official and allows that testimony to be given to a religious official (priest, rabbi, etc.).

                vote early - vote often

                by wystler on Fri Feb 13, 2004 at 03:22:12 PM PST

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            •  no (none)
              English, unlike Latin is a living language.  It evolves.  The word marriage pre-dates the enlightenment.  The more appropriate phrase for what the government does regarding marriage is Civil Union.  This phrase simply did not exist at the time of the historical roots of civil marriage that were discussed up-thread.
              •  Huh? (none)
                So your argument is: "Because English is a growing, evolving language, we shouldn't expand the definition of marriage."

                Well that makes perfect sense.

                "I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs." "I find the puppet on the left more to my liking." "Hey, there's one guy holding both puppets... SMACK!"

                by Anton Sirius on Fri Feb 13, 2004 at 03:36:51 PM PST

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                •  No (none)
                  No my argument is that because English is a living language we now have a better term for what the government does regarding relationships.  That term is Civil Union.
                  •  If Your Argument... (none)
                    ...is to replace the word 'marriage' completely with the phrase 'civil union', well, good luck to you sir.

                    If your argument is to deny gays the right to be married the way straight people are, instead forcing them to be 'civilly united', then we're right back at separate but equal.

                    Once again, you are not the language police. If people choose to get 'married' and call their union a 'marriage', who are you to tell them no?

                    "I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs." "I find the puppet on the left more to my liking." "Hey, there's one guy holding both puppets... SMACK!"

                    by Anton Sirius on Fri Feb 13, 2004 at 05:06:43 PM PST

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                    •  No (none)
                      My argument is to replace the word 'marriage' with 'civil union' as it relates to the government function and the law.

                      People can use whatever words they wish to describe whatever they want.  The government and the law needs to be precise and inclusive.  People will always wish to be married.  That is their business.  The state however should get out of the marriage business and legally recognize civil unions instead of marriage, straight gay or what ever.

          •  Re: sacramental marriage (4.00)
            Marriage is NOT a sacrament in all religions. Even though it was broadly recognized as a sacrament by the catholic church from the 8th century (before that marriage was a legal matter only in Europe, and, based on the Roman model required the consent of the groom, bride and their fathers.  Marriages took place in the home and ceremonies were not necessarily performed by clergy).  But didn't officially become a sacrament in the Catholic church until 1536 at the Council of Trent.  Even though the church had "taken over" the regulatory dimensions of marriage by the 12th century (pressuring that marriage be performed by priests in churches with witnesses -- for legal purposes not religious ones as what this move did was remove the need for parental consent and effectively eliminate the previously strongest force to challenge the church's authority)-- the Church did not official institute marriage as a sacrament until the point when its authority was challenged by the Reformation.  The very moment that Protestant doctrine was embracing the nonsacramental status of marriage is when the Catholic Church institutionalizes this. It isn't about God, its about the most human of activities: politics and social power.  

            Marriage, even religious marriage, has always always been a legal institution, always had legal and civil implications.  In places where church was state those two dimensions became one, and as church and state separated the legal dimensions traveled with the state as it was the primary legal authority, though the church held on to the religious dimensions of sanctity.  In the US, however, where church and state were never the same, marriage has ALWAYS been first and foremost a civil matter, the religious dimensions are allowed and even welcomed as is appropriate in a nation founded on the principle of the separation of church and state, but you can't take the state part out of it, because that's where the legal authority lies.  That's why divorced Catholics can legally re-marry in the United States, but can't be married in or have their second marriages santified by the church.  

        •  And another thing (none)
          Here in MA, marriage was, from the beginning of our founding, a civil matter.  Sacramental marriage were not performed until after civil marriages were.  This was based on the Puritans experience with the Dutch granting civil marriages separate from religious ones.

          Peter Gomes had an op-ed in Sunday's Boston Globe dealing specifically with this--unfortunately, the Globe archives things and this one's no longer available free.  If you've got Lexis-Nexis you may want to check it out.  

          There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action. *J.W. von Goethe

          by MAJeff on Fri Feb 13, 2004 at 11:21:00 AM PST

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        •  Yes. (4.00)
          And, people are simply wrong when they say that the state has no business being involved in marriage, when marriage is a social institution through which property rights, citizenship, identity is often (often primarily) regulated.  The state MUST be involved in marriage or in the legitimating of relationships for legal purposes because these relationships DO have social consequences.  

          Either it is involved in legitimating NO relationships and all are equally valid under the law or it legitimates relationships in a way that no groups of people are systematically and structurally discriminated against by the way the laws and processes of legimation are established.  

          To say the state has no business in marriage is wrong-headed.  Marriage exists because there was a need for state and civil recognition of relationships.  That need certainly pre-dates most religions.  

          •  Well (none)
            "Marriage exists because there was a need for state and civil recognition of relationships.  That need certainly pre-dates most religions".  

            This is exactly the point.  English is a living language.  It is evolving.  The state has a need to recognize civil relationships.  We have a new phrase for that.  It is called a Civil Union.  This phrase did not exist during all the history you may care to bring up.  It seems that the very word Marriage is loaded with cultural/ethical/sexual baggage that the government really shouldn't play a part in.

            Personally, I think marriage sucks, but I find it interesting how emotional people become about the fucking word!

            •  Thinking backwards on the language issue (none)
              This is exactly the point.  English is a living language.  It is evolving.  The state has a need to recognize civil relationships.  We have a new phrase for that.  It is called a Civil Union.  This phrase did not exist during all the history you may care to bring up.  It seems that the very word Marriage is loaded with cultural/ethical/sexual baggage that the government really shouldn't play a part in.

              Yes, English is a living language, but it doesn't just create new terms on a whim, it creates new language because there is a distinction of some material distinction that needs to be made.  The institution we today call marriage is, inside that term, a fundamentally different institution from the one our religiously observant (or not so) ancestors entered into it.  That institution [marriage] has changed many times over but it maintained the name marriage despite some much more fundamental transformations than who can partake in it.  The need now, after so many transformations of the concept of "marriage" throughout history, for a distinct and new term, can only be explained by the fact that there is a difference, and that difference is the difference in status.  

              If marriage and civil unions were equal we wouldn't need separate terms for them.  In general, most categories of difference exist to delineate a hierarchy, they are difference we note because they are differences that make a difference, and its that difference that the MA SC has said is unconstitutional.  

              •  No whim, a real need to get past this (none)
                In my view that is because of the muddle headed dual meaning of the word marriage.  There is no hierarchal distinction.  Legally, straight or gay the only legally recognized status should be Civil Union.  Marriage in all its other manifestations is outside the perview of government.
        •  It IS about Religion (none)
          Of course we are talking about two different things.  Two different things that happen to have the same name: "marriage" and that have roots and ties and links and overlaps that many people can not get beyond.  See, for example this.

          Many people have religious beliefs about marriage and those beliefs extend into civil marriage.  You may argue that they should not, or that those beliefs should not matter in how the law is made or interpreted.  But they do and it does.

          Simply calling what the state does and recognizes something other than "marriage" removes some of the religious baggage and makes it easier to deal with other issues.  Mind you, I do not expect that to happen -- the state will stay in the "marriage" business for the foreseeable future.

          The problem with:

          You may have religious objections, but take those to your churches, synagogues, mosques or whatever other house of worship and group you worship with.  Keep the sacramental aspects of marriage out of debates about civil marriage!
          is that it is not going to happen.  The people you are referring to are going to fight this tooth and nail.

          Dump Delay and Bush - UnDelay and UnBush America.

          by i dunno on Sat Feb 14, 2004 at 09:44:44 AM PST

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      •  asdf (none)
        Marriage is not between a person and God, for some it is, but to me, as an atheist, it is far far more a curtural tradition. Why should I not be able to get married just because I don't believe in God? That feels like descrimination to me.

        The truth has a liberal bias

        by RationalBias on Fri Feb 13, 2004 at 11:37:57 AM PST

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    •  Good point (none)
      What irks me is that the US president is bothered about the "sanctity" of anything. I mean, WTF? He's not the Pope, he's not the great ayatollah of DC, that's not in his mandate to worry about the holiness of mankind or some fuzzy unconstitutional concept.
      •  Sanctity obsession? (none)
        It's no deeper or more meaningful than the recent public obsession with a single titty.

        I'm more of a real Christian than Bush is.  And I'm NOT a Christian, nor do I claim to be.

        But measured by obective standards--comparing my actions and public stands to those ascribed to Jesus--I'm so much closer than Pretzel-Breath.

        Bush has just about never done anything substantial on his own in his life.  He's guilty of taking the easy road, essentially.  His religious conversion is so superficial as to make any honest religious person weep.  It provides him a convenient broom and dustpan into which he can sweep all his "youthful indiscretions," and demand we all ignore them.

        It's one reason so many conversions occur on death row (not the only one...).

        And that fully explains why he was so free and easy and utterly nasty in his mocking a condemned convict (also a fairly new "born-again") and her plea for clemency.  He doesn't believe in anyone else's conversion and belief... because his own is a sham.

        In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. -- Thomas Jefferson

        by ogre on Fri Feb 13, 2004 at 01:18:01 PM PST

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    •  This is the proper approach! (none)
    •  Some assorted musing (none)
      I do not support the government recognition of marriage, period.

      I'm not trying to be funny here, but frankly getting the high rate of divorce, adultery, etc.  Why do we endorse heterosexual marriage at all?  I have no problems with religious have ceremonies acknowledging new relationships rather like coming of age services for children and funerals for the recently department.  But there's something vaguely medieval about the state being involved in that business.

      Isn't a state providing special benefits for stereotypically nuclear families and children uncomfortably like social engineering?

      While I do believe in making sure children are well fed, educated, etc. But frankly I sometimes feel that as a society the overemphasis on children feeds a annoying ageism within the culture.  

      Children are the future, the elderly don't count.  Lay off people in their 40s & 50s and hire the young, etc.  I don't think these are unrelated trends.  

      When the last time you saw a drama on TV with older people as the stars.  etc.

      Just some random musings....

    •  civil marriage (none)
      I agree that the government should not be involved in what Mr. Bush calls "the sacred union of a man and a woman." Others responding to this thread have suggested that in the U.S. marriage has always been a civil matter. It seems that part of the problem (for some, not for the homophobes of course) is a matter of semantics or who has rights to the word marriage. Some (probably rightly) see "civil unions" as a second class status. Maybe we do need a federal marriage amendment that would state that for the purposes of government, civil marriage will be recognized and the government will play no role in religious marriage. This keeps the word marriage but splits its definition in two.
    •  Change the Words and Symbols! (none)
      The $hrub-roVe-repug campaign should be called the HATE AMENDMENT CAMPAIGN, for that is what it really is. If each one of us in every form of communication called this the HATE AMENDMENT, and our approach the BASIC FAIRNESS approach, we are on our way. Don't let the wedge machine define the battlefield:BASIC FAIRNESS vs HATRED.  
      •  Well said. (none)
        And each reference to those conservative groups that are pushing the amendment should be prefenced with, "the hate-group,. . ."

        The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. Martin Luther King

        by Cracker on Fri Feb 13, 2004 at 04:20:40 PM PST

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        •  oops! (none)
          Of course, I doubt that the word "prefenced" exists.  Perhaps I meant "prefaced."

          The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. Martin Luther King

          by Cracker on Fri Feb 13, 2004 at 04:22:20 PM PST

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