The Gross National Debt

Friday, December 7, 2012

Don't get yer hopes up

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So the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) promises to rule on same gender marriage.

Don't get excited about this one way or another. As SCOTUS reporter for National Public Radio, Nina Totenberg puts it, "Less expected was the court's decision to review California's ban on same-sex marriage, known as Proposition 8. That case potentially could lead to a decision on whether gay couples have a constitutional right to marry."

Key word potentially.
As this is my column and I get to have my say, I don't believe SCOTUS is going to issue a truly definitive ruling on this one. When it comes to incredibly controversial matters, the Supremes often split 5-4 with neither side providing an unshakeable and bulletproof opinion.

In other words, they waffle more than a short order cook on Sunday morning.
 Totenberg's report is more optimistic: "Opponents of gay marriage appealed to the Supreme Court, contending that states are free to limit marriage to unions between a man and a woman. The justices said they would hear arguments on that question, but they also called for arguments as to whether gay marriage opponents have the right to be in court at all, since California is no longer defending the ban."

The Granola State ban is on gay marriage etc etc etc etc.

I submit (again) the real decision here is: Is marriage a government function or a religious function?

You can wade through the blogs and read previous postings by me on this subject.

Anyway, I have some questions for both sides, after one brief aside,

With one exception all the arguments I've heard against same gender marriage are religious. The sole exception, by a gent who was far too smart for his own good (and I mean that exactly the way I say it) said he objected because it meant the end of the human race. He said same gender couples cannot reproduce. Tru Dat, but his argument implied everyone would start batting for the same side. See above explanation and parenthetical note.

As for those who argue on religious grounds, I ask the following:

Do you have the right to force your religious beliefs on other people?

oooooooooooo. Yeah I did.

I get a hesitant "No" to that question when I ask it in person. How about you?

In person, I then ask, OK, what if their religious beliefs allow same gender marriage?

I get a face full of Biblical scriptures. Among the more rabid, I get denunciations and comments about hellfire, damnation and so forth, stopping just short of calling for a pogrom.

Islam ain't the only religion with extremists.

How about you? If you believe you should not force your religious beliefs on other people, then how can you stop two people of adult age from marrying each other regardless of their gender?

Asking the same questions of those who support same gender marriage is a bit trickier. First, the question of marriage as a government function or a religious function must be asked.

If religious, then it's a whole 'nother ball of CnH2n+2. If the religion allows same gender marriage, then I shut up. If the religion will not allow same gender marriage, then I ask: Do you have the right to force your religious beliefs on other people? On this one, at least, SCOTUS has ruled decisively - Adherents to a religion cannot be forced to perform rituals which violate their religious tenets.

The same questions can be asked of both sides if marriage is a function of government.  To wit: Should the majority rule? Does the minority have a right to protection under the law? How far does that extend?

Perhaps this is a bit simplistic, but I'm judiciously applying Occam's Razor in a slightly different fashion to pare this down. Should the people be allowed to run the government or should government run the people?

Rephrasing, do you have the right to force your beliefs on other people?


2 comments:

  1. Like i always say, it all boils down to "What is marriage?" If it is a function of the Government than you can't limit based off of any religion's strictions and as it stands now Marriage is a governmental institution because it imparts legal rights. (Inheritance, survivor bennies etc.) If it is a purely religious event, then it shouldn;t give any extra benefits besides two people are married under the eyes of whatever god they worship. The ideal solution is to have to seperate entities. Marriage as governed by the Church and Legal Unions as governed by...well the government. LUs bestow legal rights and should be made available to all. Marriage just means your church approves. Course this would mean that folks who want to get married and LUed (new word) have to have two separate ceremonies, but only one would require any paperwork.

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  2. I agree with both of you. The funny thing is that the religious argument is all about "traditional Biblical marriage". Which would that be? Abraham with 2 wives and 2 concubines? David and Solomon with bunches of wives & concubines? Paul preferred that nobody get married because Jesus was coming back any minute.

    I have to disagree with your friend that said that gay marriage would be the end of the human race. Aside from the obvious - that not everyone is gay - with modern technology, gay people have kids all the time. My cousin is gay, and she has a biological son, and I assure you he is as human as my nieces whose parents are not gay.

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