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Civil Rights: Now Brought To You By Plurality Voting And The Letter Q

Ahh, the Defense of Marriage Coalition, where would we be without them? From where else could we get this particular gem:

Theyre saying Oregonians dont have the right to determine what is a civil right and what isnt, Nashif said.

Well, in fact, that’s exactly the point of a civil right. That the other, perhaps pernicious, memeber of the electorate can’t decide who gets them and who doesn’t.

Interestingly, I would agree with the man that state marriage isn’t a civil right. State marriage is a particular form of the right of contract, conferring certain obligations and rights upon the participants, that sprung from a generations-old, largely religious practice. As such, that makes state marriage a privilege, and therefore the electorate (or its duly elected representatives) has every right to decide who is and is not covered. That said, my own views on this issue are already well known. Just to reiterate: there’s no logical reason to withhold this particular contract from any two consenting adults wishing to enter it. For practical reasons, I think a limit of two (2) participants makes sense. If you insist on seeing all the old state/federal stuff again, go here and scroll around a bit.

The point is that this particular state-sponsored contract need not even exist, but as it does and we must deal with it, approaches from both sides strike me as pretty irrational. On the one hand, you have purported conservatives thinking of amending the US Constitution so that good ol’ 28 (XXVIII) can be “HAHA FAGS! No marriage for you” in spite of marriage never being a federal issue. On the other, you have purported liberals going through court actions which will only embolden the “conservatives” and perhaps give the FMA more momentum.

I say we scrap the whole state marriage thing and allow people to negotiate on their own who gets covered on the health insurance, who gets custody of the kids, and we let individuals file their own damn tax returns.

  1. Timothy says:

    Well, I think Olly’s supposition, as well as my own, is that as people who are currently old die off and thusly (at least in theory) quit voting, the younger generations who are pretty much for same-sex marriage will be the ones calling the shots.

    I think in 15-30 years, it stands a good chance of being the norm. Maybe I’m optimistic, but I really think time is on our side.

  2. Andy D says:

    Sorry Olly, if there was ever one unifying issue in the state of oregon among all races and income brackets is that gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry. What demographics are changing? Everyone who votes is over the age of 50. So, maybe in a few decades gays will be allowed to marry, but I think we’ll have bigger problems to focus on…

    BTW Tim, very consice post. I can only hope more people hold your point of view.

  3. Olly says:

    One thing both sides can agree on: the best way to get rid of Measure 36 will be to have it removed via ballot measure.

    A common theme I’ve been seeing in all the SCOTUS coverage lately is that judges are often held responsible for laws that they do or do not overturn, as though they were the ones authoring policy. (So Alito’s ruling that a IMHO fairly silly spousal-notification law was not actually unconstitutional becomes “Alito wants women to be chattel slaves”, whereas his adherence to Lopez gets him dubbed “Machine Gun Sammy”.) And who likes judges that LEGISLATE FROM THE BENCH????

    So, although I’d be very happy to see the Oregon Supremes overturn 36, ultimately this is going to be a matter of winning popular support for civil unions or gay marriage or whatever the fuck we end up calling it. (And call me an optimist, but to judge by the demographics I think this is actually going to happen in the short- to medium-term.)

  4. Scott Austin says:

    I find myself in old age coming to agree with Timothy more and more, and I believe he is correct in this assessment, for whatever that may be worth. I stand by my last post from earlier, that if there is an Amendment made to the Constitution, it should allow each State to determine for itself the contract of marriage, and how that contract is to be defined. But I say now just as I warned all those years ago, that if liberals try to use the courts as their avenue of redress, and attempt to make the right of gay marriage a national, Constitutional right, it will only fuel the FMA base and ensure a battle that I do not believe the left can in this case win.

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