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NY Times: US, In Shift, Sees Marriage Act as Violation of Gay Rights

Happy hour starts in 5 minutes
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Lanky Livingston

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Its about time - no more hiding behind religion to discriminate against US citizens.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/24/us/24marriage.html?_r=1&smid=tw-nytimes&seid=auto

WASHINGTON — President Obama, in a major legal policy shift, has directed the Justice Department to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act — the 1996 law that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages — against lawsuits challenging it as unconstitutional.
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“The president and I have concluded that classifications based on sexual orientation warrant heightened scrutiny and that, as applied to same-sex couples legally married under state law,” a crucial provision of the act is unconstitutional, Mr. Holder wrote.

The move is sure to be welcomed by gay-rights advocates, who had often criticized Mr. Obama for moving too slowly in his first two years in office to address issues that concern them. Coming after the administration successfully pushed late last year for repeal of the military’s ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly, the change of policy on the marriage law could intensify the long-running political and ideological clash over same-sex marriage as the 2012 presidential campaign approaches.

The government’s new position could have far-reaching implications for the rights of gays and lesbians that extend beyond the Defense of Marriage Act, legal scholars said. Gay rights advocates hailed it as a breakthrough.

“It’s a monumentally important decision,” said Tobias B. Wolff, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania who advised the Obama campaign on gay rights issues.

“The Justice Department and the president have taken the position on behalf of the United States government that discrimination against gay and lesbian people in all cases is presumptively unconstitutional,” he said. “It’s the first time the United States government has ever embraced that position, and if the courts agree, it will help to eradicate all of the various forms of discrimination that gay and lesbian people suffer around the country.”
 

Goaldeje

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Well. This should be fun. Let me grab my popcorn. Can we place bets as to who will have an aneurism first?
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Sarge

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Not surprising from this adminstration. More morals flushed down the drain
 

Burgundy Burner

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Not worried about it. Don't care one way or the other on it. However, it is another broken campaign promise. Just saying.
 

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"Does it really matter what these affectionate people do — so long as they don’t do it in the streets and frighten the horses!"

- Beatrice Stella Tanner Campbell 2/9/1865 - 4/10/1940
 

Sarge

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Actually, I thought the government was Contitutionally required to enforce current law unless it's found unconstitutional. Funny how this adminstration just picks and chooses, especailly considering the president is a law "professor"
 

fansince62

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Its about time - no more hiding behind religion to discriminate against US citizens.

really? religion? way to come out with an instant flame against Christians. But why? This isnt the Christians saying they shouldnt be married right now.

This is Obama deflecting the fact that he is ****ing up everything he touches so he is trying to say "hey look at me! i am doing something!"

bingo!

but let's be careful not to conflate things here. if...per the norm...Libs/Dems want to use non-Democratic processes to enact their political agenda...so be it. we can live with this just like the Unions are going to have to live with a different set of values jammed down their unreceptive throats - passed by an actual legislature! but let's at least least make it a State decision and recognize only civil marriages. religions should not be forced to recognize or perform gay marriages.

as we barrel headlong toward a culture that is completely relative when it comes to values.....that is an avenue open to exploitation by many parties. I, for one, will thoroughy enjoy these culture wars.

and..yea....despite conventional media message...Obama isn't turning out to be all that bright.
 

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Well. This should be fun. Let me grab my popcorn. Can we place bets as to who will have an aneurism first?
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Good one!

Although, I see you were the first to join in on the celebratory circle jerk side.
Try not to get any in your popcorn. ;)

Or will that considered normal now, too?
 

Goaldeje

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I actually agree with FS here, Ax. It should be a state issue not a federal decision. And churches should not be forced into doing something they do not want to do.

Having said that, Lanky is correct as well. Disallowing homosexuals their civil rights because of something like this is preposterous, and embarrassing that it has gone on for so long. There is really no reason why gays can't have the same marital benefits that the rest of us have just because they're gay.
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Ax

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I actually agree with FS here, Ax. It should be a state issue not a federal decision. And churches should not be forced into doing something they do not want to do.

Having said that, Lanky is correct as well. Disallowing homosexuals their civil rights because of something like this is preposterous, and embarrassing that it has gone on for so long. There is really no reason why gays can't have the same marital benefits that the rest of us have just because they're gay.
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Fair enough. But I've never equated it to a "civil right", and really can't see how anyone else legitimately can. I see the ploy of doing so, to give it some kind of noble meaning, but at the end of the day, it's main purpose is to acknowledge homosexuality as, normal. Which, IMO, it is not, has not, and never will be.

Unless, or until, Jack & Jack, without the aid of some future surgical procedure, can knock each other up and produce offspring, their lifestyle choices should not garner special rights. As people, they already enjoy every human, and civil right, that their heterosexual counterparts do.

Marriage is one man, one woman. Once we deviate from that, it's Pandora's box.

And, for the record, I do not follow, or believe in, ANY currently known religion. But, I did serve a long term in it during my youth. So, I do have a working knowledge of it. I therefore agree that it should not be forced to sanction something that goes against their teachings.
 

Goaldeje

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The idea of marriage being one man one woman is purely a religious one. We should not be allowing religion to dictate civil rights for anyone.

This coming from a lifelong Christian, by the way.

Your point about normalizing homosexuality is more interesting to me, frankly. I acknowledge you are correct, that there is a homosexual agenda to do just what you are describing. I guess my argument for that agenda is that the Christian Right seems hellbent on screaming from the rooftops that it is unnatural and an abomination, so eventually the gays kinda had to come back and defend themselves, didn't they? Seems to me if the gays would stop trying to get Christians to recognize and accept their marriages, then the Christians should shut up and leave them alone. Or vice versa, whatever. But i think we both know that won't happen anytime soon.

I do not know why, but this issue seems to be the issue du jour (for the past twenty years anyway) for the CR. Not sure what separates it from pedophiles or even adultery for that matter. Always struck me as weird.
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If homosexuality is a civil right, then so is Polygamy.
And pedophilia.
And Zoophilia.
And Incest.

They can all be argued as being "born that way."

I don't care where the term "marriage" came from, or who started it. It is, as should be, now owned by one man, one woman. It's a minor thing, really. But important to those who don't bow to the whims of the "enlightened" populace.

Civil unions could provide every financial benefit that marriage does. But having a different name points out the obvious difference between normal, and same sex couples. And they won't have it. They demand that all who see them differently, be forced to accept them, only as THEY see fit.
 

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really? religion? way to come out with an instant flame against Christians. But why? This isnt the Christians saying they shouldnt be married right now.
Well, for the record I didn't mention Christians specifically. Muslims are more anti-gay than Christians, I didn't mention them specifically either. My point is things like this:

Not surprising from this adminstration. More morals flushed down the drain
Hiding behind religion and calling it "morals." Which morals are being flushed down the drain, Sarge? The morality of discrimination? You can move to the middle east somewhere - they hate gay people there; you'll never have to worry about those silly guys trying to marry each other.

I actually agree with FS here, Ax. It should be a state issue not a federal decision. And churches should not be forced into doing something they do not want to do.
While we're at it, let's just let the states decide if they want to be segregated or not also. Let's let the states decide which religions are allowed in their boundaries also! This will be so much fun.
 

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I don’t know why you guys are saying that churches would be required to perform Gay marriages. That is simply not true. The Catholic church can and does deny the sacraments (including the marriage sacrament) to anyone who they feel does not meet their criteria. That will not change if Gay marriages are made legal. If gays want a religious marriage ceremony they will have to shop around for a church that will perform one or simply have a civil ceremony.

I’m left handed as are 8-15% of the population. So if you define “being normal” as having attributes in common with the majority of the population, then I am not normal. (Probably some of you had already figured that out anyway.) But that is no reason to deny rights to that minority that are available to the majority.

The argument that legalizing gay marriages would lead to legalizing Polygamy, pedophilia, zoophilia, and incest and any number of sexual deviants is fallacious. If the law outlaws one of these acts for all people, there is no discrimination and therefore no violation of civil rights. The fact is that society has a compelling interest in outlawing all of the above for all people.

Besides, you are equating sex to marriage and those of us who have been married for a long time know that the connection eventually becomes tenuous at best.

The great irony of all this is that companies responding to the market place, both the demands of their customers and the desire to attract the best employees, have expanded their benefits to include domestic partners. Since domestic partners includes both same sex as well as opposite sex couples, there is less incentive for opposite sex couples to marry. So in some sort of perverse way, denying same sex marriages has actually threatened traditional marriages rather than protecting it.
 

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...So in some sort of perverse way, denying same sex marriages has actually threatened traditional marriages rather than protecting it.
Nah, those people should not be getting married anyway since they don't take the institution of marriage serious enough anyway.

I still don't understand why it is discrimination to deny marriage, which is not a basic right, to those of the same sex since marriage has been defined as a union between a man and a woman for thousands of years.

If this were about Civil Unions, which guarantee the same legal rights to same sex couples as marriage does, I would have no issue. What they are trying to do is change the definition of marriage altogether. I would even go so far as to suggest that any union between a couple performed in a Court House be referred to as a Civil Union.
 
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Lanky Livingston

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I don’t know why you guys are saying that churches would be required to perform Gay marriages. That is simply not true. The Catholic church can and does deny the sacraments (including the marriage sacrament) to anyone who they feel does not meet their criteria. That will not change if Gay marriages are made legal. If gays want a religious marriage ceremony they will have to shop around for a church that will perform one or simply have a civil ceremony.
Exactly. Marriage is not a religious institution - its a government definition. Yes, a church *can* perform your wedding, but without a valid marriage certificate from the government, that means squat (as many same-sex couples know after being married by the Unitarian Unversalist Church).

The argument that legalizing gay marriages would lead to legalizing Polygamy, pedophilia, zoophilia, and incest and any number of sexual deviants is fallacious. If the law outlaws one of these acts for all people, there is no discrimination and therefore no violation of civil rights. The fact is that society has a compelling interest in outlawing all of the above for all people.

Besides, you are equating sex to marriage and those of us who have been married for a long time know that the connection eventually becomes tenuous at best.
The argument is a classic strawman, yet gets held out as irrefutable proof that same-sex marriages should not be legalized. Its silly, and I'm kind of embarrassed for the grownups who actually believe this drivel.

Nah, those people should not be getting married anyway since they don't take the institution of marriage serious enough anyway.

I still don't understand why it is a discrimination to deny marriage, which is not a basic right, to those of the same sex since marriage has been defined as a union between a man and a woman for thousands of years.
Because we've discriminated against same-sex unions, its been defined that way.

EDIT: how is marriage not a basic right? How do you define a basic right?

If this were about Civil Unions, which guarantee the same legal rights to same sex couples as marriage does, I would have no issue. What they are trying to do is change the definition of marriage altogether. I would even go so far as to suggest that any union between a couple performed in a Court House be referred to as a Civil Union.
This is the argument that boggles my mind. Why does it matter what you call it? If you are unopposed to same-sex civil unions, then logically you should have no problem with same-sex marriages. Its an irrational argument!
 

Elephant

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Because we've discriminated against same-sex unions, its been defined that way.
Come on Jamie, you have to have a better defense in your argument than because you say so.

Too soft!

The discrimination came in when governments refused to give gay couples the same benefits as hetero couples. Now that Civil Union laws and even simply being considered partners gives those couples the same benefits, there is not discrimination even if you say so!



This is the argument that boggles my mind. Why does it matter what you call it? If you are unopposed to same-sex civil unions, then logically you should have no problem with same-sex marriages. Its an irrational argument!
No! Marriage as defined by humankind for more than 6000 years has always been between a man and a woman! You may find some historians who suggest there may have been unions between same sex couples, there is documented homosexuality so I am not going Ahmadinejad on you, but it was not called marriage! Marriage is by definition between a man and a woman!

What is so hard for you to see here?
 

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EDIT: how is marriage not a basic right? How do you define a basic right?
Do you have a copy of the U.S. Constitution? If you believe marriage is a right, I suggest you read the Constitution and show me where it says that.
 

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The discrimination came in when governments refused to give gay couples the same benefits as hetero couples. Now that Civil Union laws and even simply being considered partners gives those couples the same benefits, there is not discrimination even if you say so!
So you admit that denying same sex couples the same legal rights as heterosexual couples is discrimination. So you are simply talking about a word. But words and what they symbolize are extraordinarily important. Words can demean and elevate. So if you said that the government should use the term “Civil Unions” to describe the legal connection of two adults in a legally committed relationship and the word “marriage” would apply to the non-governmental real, then I would have no problem. But you seem to want it both ways.

What is so hard for you to see here?

As far as the Constitution goes. It’s the 14th Admendment.
 
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