March 27, 2013
SCOTUS and Same Sex Marriage
Again, I think I will leave my Facebook friends to argue the important points of whether a red equals sign in a heart shows more compassion than a beveled-embossed red equals sign as a profile pic.
I will offer my scenario which I think to be correct and constitutional. And perhaps, likely.
1) I can DIG it!
In Hollingsworth (the Prop 8 case), I find myself rooting for a punt. The WSJ advocated a very narrow position or a (seemingly correct) finding that the litigants lack standing as the State of California declined to defend it. Damon Root at Reason suggests a more dramatic punt (kind of a quick kick by the QB on third down...)
Alternately, the Supreme Court might follow the lead of Justice Anthony Kennedy. During Tuesday's oral arguments, Kennedy repeatedly suggested the Supreme Court should never have accepted the Prop. 8 case in the first place. "I just wonder," Kennedy said at one point, "if the case was properly granted." Later he raised the issue yet again, telling the lawyer who was arguing in defense of Prop. 8, "you might address why you think we should take and decide this case."
If Kennedy can convince four other justices that the Court was in fact wrong to take the case, the Supreme Court might engage in a maneuver that lawyers refer to as a "DIG." That is, the Court would dismiss the Prop. 8 case as "improvidently granted." This unusual approach would leave the 9th Circuit's ruling against Prop. 8 in effect, thereby leaving gay marriage legal in California while the Court remained silent on the issue for the other 49 states.
2) Oh Canada -- find for Windsor!
jk gone soft on liberty? No way. In Windsor v United States,
I hope for a decisive finding against DOMA. And never, ever, miss a chance to tell the red-equals-in-a-heart brigade that President Clinton signed that and his wife was fully behind it through my first couple of cups of coffee today.
By staying narrow on Prop 8 and going large on DOMA, the court could consistently underscore Federalism and allow the "national conversation" to continue through electoral methods. This should ruin Republicans chances of winning an election to dog catcher for many years, but it is still the right thing to do.
I'm very interested to hear from other ThreeSourcers: Red equals sign in-a-heart -- or on its own?
Posted by John Kranz at 1:44 PM
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Rainbow equals sign inside a red heart sitting on a green dollar sign - beveling optional to suit. Equality in love (and everything else) resting on a capitalist foundation. The heart is required to maintain separation between the equals and dollar signs, for obvious reason... analogous to the way Oklahoma's panhandle protects Texas from touching Colorado. (As a nearly life-long Coloradoan I used to say, protect Colorado from Texas. But that was before "The Blueprint." Copyright 2010, Adam Schrager and Rob Witwer, Speaker's Corner Books.)
My motivation is primarily to get social issues out of the political arena so that they don't keep drawing our government closer to the one-world variety. As such I'd prefer to see the gay marriage activists get their way and let future SCOTUS cases address whether government may force individuals to live and act in accordance with the beliefs of others that are anathema to their own. Not holding my breath though. I don't think the court is this brave, or visionary.
Sorry, your design uses thought and reason -- I am pretty certain that is not allowed.
I would love a Gov. Mitch Daniels truce on social issues -- 48 years suits me just fine. But as you concede, that ain't gonna happen. I think you can clarify what principles underlie your positions, and show that they match your economic principles.
June 8, 2012
Two Polls on Gay Marriage
The GOP seems pretty certain that opposition to gay marriage is a political winner. Minnesotans are confident that a marriage amendment will bring out the conservatives, who will then pull levers for Republicans. The Colorado State House used parliamentary tactics to avoid a vote on civil unions, running out the clock and adjourning early -- Lyndon Johnson would have been proud.
It has been suggested on this blog that any immediate gains might be shortsighted, and I confer completely. Yet I am not at all convinced it is a winner this year: "Tie now, and Lose the Future! We attack at Dawn!"
The first poll is from Denver Post on Facebook
More Coloradans support allowing gays to marry than allowing them to form civil unions, a sort of marriage lite, although the Colorado constitution stipulates marriage can only be between a man and a woman. The poll was conducted May 21 through 24, just days after the Republican-controlled House of Representatives killed two civil union bills in high-profile maneuvers that garnered national attention.
- Gay and lesbian couples should have the same legal right to marry as do a man and woman. 42 percent
- There should be no legal recognition of a relationship between gay and lesbian couples. 22 percent
- Gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to form a civil union, which gives the same legal rights as marriage, but it should not be called marriage. (Supporters of civil unions says it does not give the same rights as marriage, such as on tax issues.) 31 percent
Click through for some quibbles and potential biases on the poll, but targeting that 22% strikes me as short of being short sighted.
A good friend of the blog from that state with all the lakes sends a link to a new poll identifying a shift away from the Minnesota amendment.
ST. PAUL (WCCO) -- A new poll suggests Minnesota voters may reject a proposed constitutional amendment that would define marriage as only being between one man and one woman.
On Tuesday, Public Policy Polling announced new numbers indicating that 49 percent of likely voters would be opposed to the amendment. The poll suggested 43 percent were in approval of it.
PPP said those numbers represent a swing from their January results, which showed the amendment passing with 48 percent in favor and 44 percent against.
I'm biased as my idea of lasseiz faire leaves the government little power over defining marriage, but suggest that those who like this for pragmatic political reasons look over the numbers.
Posted by John Kranz at 9:47 AM
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The big question is really in those people who would not vote if there were no marriage amendment on the ballot though.
I'll go, vote for gay marriage and then vote Romney.
Those who don't normally vote who feel absolutely compelled to go to the polls because of the marriage amendment probably are more anti, than pro.
I don't think it loses on the right until/unless Romney starts harping on the issue as cut and dried. I think he's too smart and too socially liberal for that.
It is certainly possible that it will be a political plus in 2012. I'm suggesting that that is not a sure thing. This topic is difficult to pin down in a poll and attitudes are fluid to say the least.
I also cede principled opposition to full equality. I expected to be the ThreeSources radical here and find myself surprised to offer Van Buren's toast to "mutual forbearance." One can offer a Burkean concern to such a fast and drastic change, or even a limited-government uncertainty about fraud and abuse in distributing government benefits.
I'll risk both for full equality, mind you. I just don't want to climb on a perch and lecture.
Like I do on immigration...
A slightly different opinion on the matter...
Liberals are chomping at the bit to pull any conservative they can into a debate about marriage equality. In my opinion, President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage was nothing more than a trap that he set for Romney to distract from the economy's poor performance under Obama's reign. After that happened Rick Santorum said that he thought Romney should take Obama to task on his new stance on gay marriage.
What did Romney do?
He responded by saying something to the effect that reasonable people can have a disagreement on that issue, but that he wanted to stay focused on the economy. He completely avoided the trap and it came back to bite Obama in the form of approval numbers. If you look at the approval numbers, not who are you going to vote for numbers, but approval numbers, Obama slipped and Romney gained.
I argue that Romney gained because he stayed on message, which is the economy. I will also argue that Obama lost because people saw what he did as a distraction from the economy. If Romney had taken the bait, I would bet good money that Romney's numbers would have taken a hit and Obama's numbers gotten a boost.
Gay marriage is a losing proposition for the GOP at this point. The national polls show that 50%+ of American's support some sort of civil union/same sex message legislation and the trend is only going up.
If there are ANY short term gains for the GOP in going after gay marriage, I think they will be wiped out in the long run because they do not have a consensus among the people.
May 15, 2012
The Gay Marriage "Distraction"
It is a well travelled Republican talking point that the gay marriage issue is a distraction from President Obama's economic record. It's true of course, but the Republicans are as much to blame for said distraction as the Democrats.
A friend from suburban Wichita, Kansas emails a link to this story about a public school teacher posting his views against gay marriage on his Facebook page. He has every right to his beliefs, of course, and to speak them publicly. But by continuing to oppose legal recognition of same-sex marriage we allow him to become the face of our conservative party. I will not stand silently by. How many of us have wished we could have been present in the face of an incident of racial discrimination in the segregated south and that we would have had the courage to say, "No, that is wrong?" Same story, different age.
My Kansas friend sent the link with the note "Need your comments here" to both me and my brother. What follows is my response, which rebutted my brother's.
[Brother] writes that it is "nonsense" that established law denies a right for same-sex marriage, then declares there is "no defined right for same sex couples to "marry." Which is it?
[Brother] writes that "The majority of the country does not care what people do in their own bedrooms or whom they decide to 'love'" but then proclaims homosexuality "abnormal" and that he doesn't support homosexual weddings because that would "redefine something that has been a pillar of communities for 5000+ years" and "the more we break down the institution of marriage to simply be a whim, the more our society will continue to degrade." So you, and "the majority of the country" are fine with homosexuality, you just don't want to acknowledge it in law?
[Brother] faults Conkling, the Hutchinson teacher, for "taking the cause backwards" and "fuel[ing] the opposition" by opposing gay marriage on religious grounds. I say [brother] is no different by attempting to oppose this individual liberty on non-religious grounds, whatever those might be. Until he clarifies his contradictions there's no way to know what objective basis he claims.
Conkling's "logic" is even more fallacious: Homosexuality is wrong because it is a sin, equal in God's eyes to all other sins, and we are ALL sinners. He says all sins are equal in God's eyes so homosexuality is equal to murder, but it's also equal to lying. Do you agree that lying is as wrong as murder? I don't. Conkling says he condemns gay marriage "because those who embrace it will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven." First of all, doesn't the bible teach man to "judge not?" Secondly, there are other beliefs about heaven and sin and for one man to impose his own upon all other men is just as wrong as Sharia law.
Would it not be better to simply allow civil unions, conferring all the legal rights of marriage while witholding the term "marriage" than to continue to allow this issue to divide Americans and distract from issues that actually matter to all of us, like whether or not America will be a socialist country? And even if they aren't satisfied with civil unions and come back next year demanding "marriage" who cares? Whatever it is called it will still be a minority behavior. Unlike drug legalization nobody makes a legitimate case that legal homosexual marriage will cause more homosexuality. (But so what if it did? Will that affect you? Your children? Anyone who is not "abnormal?")
The cause of western laissez-faire capitalism is a cause of individual liberty. Individual liberty in commerce is a human birthright, as is individual liberty in social relations. Individuals are, by their nature, free to join a commune or establish a nuclear family; free to love another of the same gender or of the opposite gender. If you want to live free of oppressive taxation and wealth redistribution your only argument is individual liberty as a human birthright. But you weaken that argument by denying others a liberty of which you disapprove. Stop it. Admit your mistake and strengthen your position in the debate that really matters - that really affects you and your family's lives - by abandoning a debate that doesn't matter. Don't insist that your beliefs hold dominion over the beliefs of others lest they turn your logic back on you and insist that you are your brother's keeper.
Posted by JohnGalt at 4:23 PM
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Agreed and well said. There are quite a few things which may be defined as sinful which we do not elevate to statute. "Coveting thy neighbor's ass" is still okay in Weld County, as far as I know.
I allowed a many-years-old subscription to National Review elapse when they demanded -- on the cover -- a Constitutional Amendment defining marriage. I wasn't petulant about it, still respect NR, and have slid a little money their way since.
But I basically reached the same conclusion, that I could not employ the supremacy clause for a personal matter and expect others to defend my economic liberty. I suspect that would not have happened under WFB's more libertarian hand but I have no empirical proof.
On the pragmatic side, I think it remains a killer. Trying to attract somebody younger than 30 to the table of liberty is difficult in the wake of North Carolina's vote and now Colorado's lack of vote.
JK drops his subscription to the National Review and I drop out of the Republican party. I struggled for several weeks about attending our caucuses, knowing that Party of God types would choose Rick Santorum and that a majority of the evening would be spent pushing an amendment to our state constitution limiting marriage to one man and one woman. Even before Obama weighed in the strategy was to generate voter turnout based on opposition to gays. I cant possibly vote for Obama but I will not be in a party or campaign that seeks to benefit from an assault on the dignity and liberty of my brothers and sisters. And I won't be alone. Republicans are on the wrong side of history when it comes to Gay rights and they will pay a price for decades to come. Fifty years from now nobody will remember the Bidden gaffes or Obama's fundraising predicament; people will remember the first black president was the first to run for office as a supporter of gay marriage. Democrats enjoy almost unanimous suppport in the African American community based on Kennedy/Johnson era civil rights legislation and if Republicans don't wake up they will lose another voting block.
JK and John Galt, as always, provide a reasoned argument rooted in the Constitution and I appreciate that but this has become something more visceral for me. A couple of weeks ago a little girl in a town next to ours hung herself after being bullied for a year over her mother's sexual orientation. Last night I went to a funeral for one of my daughter's classmates. He climbed onto an overpass and jumped onto the highway below. He was bullied to death for being Gay. I am sickened and heartbroken. I will not be in a party that would deny the basic human dignity and equallity due every man and woman. I wont be part of a political movent that would deny the choice of marriage, the most important, valuable and meaningful decision I've ever made, to others. Bob Marley sings of "forwardin' this generation triumphantly," though in my case it is our younger generation that has been "forwarding" me. Henceforth I intend to help them "sing songs of freedom" and if the Republican party wants to block freedom's way I intend to roll right over them.
JK is correct about established attitudes, and I think my brother's beliefs reflect his environment more than his heart. The Kansas friend I mentioned lives near Wichita, more evangelical even than Colorado Springs and yet he replied to me, "in my world in Kansas USA I could care less what the corn-****ers do, just don't interfere with me or my family." A libertarian position that, if a bit intemperately stated.
I can't cite examples of friends or neighbors who've been affected by discrimination, and dagny observed that my attitude has *ahem* evolved. I can say I was profoundly ashamed when my neighbors and fellow delegates loudly booed the speaker from Colorado Log Cabin Republicans when he suggested the Colorado civil unions bill should be supported. When I said, fairly loudly and to no one in particular, "Hey, be nice" the woman next to me turned around incredulously. The rest of the conversation was unspoken but I do believe I impressed upon her that her attitude was something upon which she should reflect.
I had a similar experience at the Romney rally last week. A woman asked me if I wanted to sign her pro-life petition, ubiquitious at GOP events. I shook my head and asked her if she was aware that over two-thirds of Republican delegates to the state convention approved a resolution that abortion and pregnancy are personal, private matters and not the business of government. She was speechless but a man nearby blurted out, "Well they are wrong!"
In the first case I pleaded for civility, and in the second merely cited a fact. The reaction from those who heard me was reflexive, but shallow and unsupported. There was no furher debate or discussion, the respondents merely drifted away silently. These are simply ideas which they've never considered. None has dared utter them in such settings, in all likelihood.
Ayn Rand said that silence in the presence of ideas which you find abhorrent is tacit approval of them. Simply say, "I disagree" she advised in 'Philosophy, Who Needs It?' I hope that brother Sugarchuck, or any of the rest of us, will not abandon the Republican party when it most needs a voice for liberty. Our country's present state of divisivness and the failed leadership of the president present an opportunity to discredit the idea of socialism, but the left is not the only source of discredited ideas - the unchallenged dogma of social "norms" on the right should be confronted at the very same time.
To those who say that gay marriage or even civil unions are just a "drip, drip, drip of liberalism" I give the following reply:
Liberalism was established for the promotion of liberty. Thomas Jefferson was a "liberal." George Washington was a "liberal." Modern leftists co-opted the term and it has come to mean socialist or communist. I'm all for liberalism, but not socialism or communism. I understand the difference. Do you?