Gay Marriage FTW April 8, 2009

Gay Marriage FTW

Vermont down. 46 to go.

Fantastic. The fact that it was the democratically-elected legislature that made this happen is even better. I hope the domino effect will continue.

I won’t try to add to the wonderful things others have already said about this.

However, I was curious what the conservative Christian reaction would be to this. For once, this was a legislative victory, not an “activist judge” or two. Would they accept this?

Of course not.

Here are my favorite lines from the opposition:

“With its enactment, the Vermont legislature made a profound social policy statement that mothers and fathers are not necessary for the family, and that the sex of a parent doesn’t matter”

“Just because the legislature makes an enactment doesn’t make it true… If the Vermont legislature passed a resolution that the earth was flat, does that make it true? Of course not. And the simple fact is that marriage predated the Vermont legislature — just like my mother predated me. I don’t get to redefine who my mother is. It’s just a simple fact of common sense. The institution of marriage has predated the legislature and government and the United States, and it’s not the prerogative of anybody to redefine it. It is the prerogative of every state and U.S. citizen to uphold the institution as it has always been defined, as one man and one woman.”

Austin R. Nimocks, attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund

“How long can a nation founded on the laws of nature and nature’s God expect to find favor in his eyes when we continue to mock God?”

“I believe that the purveyors of evil around the country feel emboldened right now with the current political climate in Washington, DC…[what with both the Oval Office and Congress inhabited by] people who are bent on thumbing their nose at God.”

Matt Barber, director of cultural affairs for Liberty Counsel.

“Same-sex ‘marriage’ is a movement driven by wealthy homosexual activists and a liberal elite determined to destroy not only the institution of marriage, but democracy as well. Time and again, we see when citizens have the opportunity to vote at the ballot box, they consistently opt to support traditional marriage…”

“The vote today by the D.C. City Council was a direct affront to the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The radical Left wants to destroy the traditional union of one man and one woman across the country and they will not rest until they do so.”

Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council

I’m confident that not all Christians agree here. Many are thrilled about this result. If you know of any Christian bloggers or writers who are happy about Vermont’s decision, please link to their articles in the comments!

On a side note, Vermont isn’t the only scene of gay news today:

Rick Warren is a hypocrite caught-on-tape.

And gay students now get their own apartments at Texas Christian University!

Things are looking up. (Double entendre intended.)

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  • I don’t understand: How can these people read the Bible and say that marriage “has always been defined, as one man and one woman”? Wasn’t Jacob married to Rachel, then?

  • Rick Warren. Clearly the devil went back in time and made him say stupid stuff. It is not rick’s fault.

  • This implied and sometimes explicit assertion that marriage is strictly for reproduction is an insult to all those married couples out there who can’t have children, as well as all those single parents out there. Logic means nothing to fundies though, I guess.

  • I mean, I know this is a nice thing.

    But it makes me sad. Sad, because there was a great opportunity here to really question the power of the state to sanction marriage. That would have been a wonderful moment for us all, a chance to really change things for the better. Here, we just get a reprieve till the next human rights/marriage struggle.

  • The institution of marriage has predated the legislature and government and the United States

    ..and the Christian faith and Judaism.

    It is the prerogative of every state and U.S. citizen to uphold the institution as it has always been defined, as one man and one woman.”

    Except it hasn’t always been defined as an institution between one man and one woman. You need only go back to your precious bible to see that polygamy was practiced and even endorsed by the secular and religious authorities of the times. Temporary marriages and marriages within the same sex have been practiced since we have a record of marriage. An arbitrary point in history of about 500 years ago (or 1000 years, or 2000 years) is not a good enough reason to stick to such restrictive practices.

    In fact in many parts of the world it isn’t defined as an institution between one man and one woman today and never has been.

  • Rick – liar for Jesus – Warren strikes again!

  • Miko

    I’m actually going to agree with the sentiment “Just because the legislature makes an enactment doesn’t make it true.” Sure, I’ll take a victory any way I can get it, but it’s always better when these things come from the courts. The legislature is just a popularly elected mob whose passions change with the winds; the courts are specifically tasked with protecting our inalienable rights. Law is of a higher order than legislation. Hence, while the legislature can opt to save us a bit of trouble by doing the right thing, it’s really not the appropriate venue for this kind of decision. Celebrating the act of legislature just creates the false impression that it’s morally legitimate for the majority to impose its view on everyone else. Instead, we should say “Well, they made the correct decision this time, but the fact is that they had no legitimate power to make any other decision, because my rights trump their votes.”

    t3k: That one’s going to have to be a national fight. The U.S. government attaches too many things to the word ‘marriage’ right now. Pragmatically, we have to get them to stop doing that before we can restore the separation of marriage and state to its rightful place.

  • I used to be a Christian. Now, as an atheist, I find myself having more and stronger faith than I ever had while superstitious. I have faith in us – in our civilization and species, that we will continue to make small but solid steps forward with this and every other good thing.

    Yay, humanity!

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Rick Warren is a hypocrite caught-on-tape.

    Interesting. In that video, Warren also repeats idiocy similar to that spewed by Austin R. Nimocks above that marriage has always been, in every culture and every religion, between one man and one woman.

    Why would some Christians want a pastor who obviously has not read the Old Testament?

  • Zipplenom

    the ridger said:

    I don’t understand: How can these people read the Bible and say that marriage “has always been defined, as one man and one woman”?

    Abraham had 3 wives, for cryin’ out loud! Do they even know their own religion?

  • Zipplenom

    Or similarly…

    The institution of slavery has predated the legislature and government and the United States, and it’s not the prerogative of anybody to redefine it. It is the prerogative of every state and U.S. citizen to uphold the institution as it has always been defined, as a slave and it’s owner

    You can substitute any number of other social norms that have been changed (forcibly or passively) throughout the course of human history. What an incredibly lame argument.

  • Troll

    has always been defined, as one man and one woman

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the bible defines marriage as two things

    1. As, essentially, a business transaction between a man and a woman’s father.

    and 2. Between a man and as many woman as he can provide for.

  • JGG

    Great work Vermont! Gay marriage has been officially legal in The Netherlands from 2001 (first country in the world to do so), but gay couples could already get a so called ‘registered partnership’ from 1998. I hope more of the USA wil follow (although I doubt it, crazy fundies).

  • mikespeir

    This Nimocks person is an attorney? Don’t they teach you what a false analogy is in law school?

  • Some great comments left already, but wanting to throw mine congrats to Vermont in here. Of course, they have been granting same-sex couples rights (in the form of civil unions) since 1999 when Howard Dean was governor.

    As for the other 46 states, some are going to need a lot of help, either from locals finally convincing the religious that marriage is a CIVIL thing, not a religious thing. Or a federal law that says the same thing.

  • AnonyMouse

    WOOHOO! *party dance*

    I don’t really know what else there is to say. Frankly, the fact that anyone feels the urge to try and use their “holy book” to repress someone’s rights is absurd.

    No matter whose worldview is correct, Christians have no right to deny these people the right to marry. If we did, why stop at homosexuality? We should also illegalize lying, divorce, apostasy (or is that “conversion?” Which religions will it be illegal to apostatize from?), work on Saturdays (or Sundays), good-looking women, and extramarital sex. While we’re at it, we should re-institute polygamy, death by stoning, and slavery. Oh, yeah – and we should also pass a law that requires you to give ten percent of your income to your church, no matter which church that is or how much money you make.

    The Bible teaches you to obey a particular set of rules. It also teaches you that it’s none of your freakin’ business if someone else breaks those rules. Like it or not, guys, not everyone is a hardcore Christian.

    If you want to live in a country where homosexuality is illegal and religion runs the state, I suggest you try the Middle East. They’re intensely devout.

  • AnonyMouse

    You know, all this reminds me of the “faith healing vs. medical treatment” kerfuffle that went down in Oregon all those ages ago. As I understand it, in most states, parents can not be brought up on charges of neglect as long as they were seeking help from their deity. Somehow, their belief that this served as actual medical treatment meant that, under the law, it counted as actual medical treatment.

    My question is this: Catholics believe that when the Eucharist is blessed, it becomes the literal body and blood of Christ. Can we not then have them arrested on charges of cannibalism?

  • Erp

    Christians supporting the Vermont decision

    Susan Russell, Priest, All Saints Episcopal Church, Pasadena
    (also president of Integrity, USA which makes her a devil’s disciple to some)

    Grandmere Mimi
    (a Louisiana grandmother, former Catholic now Episcopalian)

    Shuck and Jive
    Presbyterian minister

  • I’ll just say that this is one more reason that I really love living in VT!

  • I agree with Miko on the fact that rights are not something to be voted on. Sometimes the majority vote is the correct one, but if all rights issues had to wait for legislative (or ballot) approval, there are a lot of things that would be an even longer time coming. (But I won’t get started on the fallacy of “activist judges” or I’ll start frothing at the mouth.)

    If I remember correctly, the Vermont Supreme Court originally gave their legislature a choice between marriage and a “separate-but-equal” institution–that’s how they ended up with civil unions in the first place. It took Massachusetts’ court saying “it has to be called marriage” to get to the next level.

  • «bønez_brigade»

    “If the Vermont legislature passed a resolution that the earth was flat, does that make it true? Of course not.”

    The false analogy — it burns! Nimocks’ imaginary Vermont legislature would then be overruled by legislation handed down (literally) by a much larger body of satellites (and math, itself / maths, themselves).

    I agree for the most part; however, courts are still subject to the bias of their judicators (and their translations of laws).

    Good rework, but you got the master/slave order wrong — Nimocks mentioned the Biblical master (man) first.

    Prepare for your 2nd sentence to be quotemined.

    Prepare to get the same treatment for the 4th sentence of your main ¶ in your 1st comment.

  • «bønez_brigade»

    d’oh, AnonyMouse, make that the 5th sentence of your main ¶ in your 1st comment.
    [I blame the trimethylxanthine I had.]

  • Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.”

    I see three future cases coming:

    Two men apply for a civil marriage license. They are not homosexual, but are brothers. They have no intention of incestuous or other immoral living, but they want to get married for the purpose of reaping the benefits of a married couple: insurance, legal guardianship for children, etc. They have been living together all their lives (domestic partnership). Can a case be made made for same-sex union because they have already regarded each other as spouses? Yet no state will grant them a license, which is discrimination . . .

    Two males and two females apply for a marriage license. They are bi-sexual couples (Mary, Tom, Sue, Bob) who love each other and want to get married–to each other:

    Mary wants to marry Tom. But she also wants to marry Bob and Sue.
    Tom loves Mary, but he also loves Bob and Sue too . . .
    Sue loves Mary and Tom and wants to marry Bob . . . (You see where this goes, right?)

    Why won’t they get a license again?

    Or what about the guy who wants to marry himself? Impossible you say? Remember Robert Lee Brock who decided to sue himself for $5 million for getting arrested for breaking and entering and grand larceny. The suit was thrown out. The point is–he tried!

  • BruceH

    Regrettably, several states including my own state of Texas have enshrined bigotry in our constitutions, making said bigotry – ipso facto – constitutional. Short of yet another constitutional amendment, or a U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning the current amendment, Texas will never have legalized gay marriage.

    However, it does seem that Texas will have to recognize marriages performed in other states. Please correct me if I am mistaken.

  • Vystrix Nexoth

    James: In your first case, they would be judged the same as if a brother-sister pair were trying to get married (surely it’s been tested by now?). In your second case, it’s a question of polygamy. In your third case, it’s a question of pointlessness and/or of “splitting” one person into two for legal purposes.

    None of them are questions of same-sex marriage per se. So I’m not all that certain what your point is.

    Back to the topic:

    * Props to Vermont, of course.

    * The significance of this being a legislative, rather than judicial, decision is that it is closer to reflecting the will of the people. As such, it is evidence that if a referendum (in the manner of Proposition 8) were to be put to the people, they might be more likely to come down on the side of same-sex marriage.

    * Marriage is not an intrinsically religious institution. Also, each religion has its own form of marriage: there is Christian marriage, Jewish marriage, Islamic marriage, Wiccan marriage, and so on. The religions (probably) don’t recognize each others’ marriages, yet they are still called “marriage”. Why is that acceptable, but it’s not acceptable for government to have its own form?

    * Religions have no more claim to marriage than they do to morality or to [a sense of] community. Just because those things are often found in (or gotten through) religion doesn’t mean they are intrinsically religious.

    * Getting government out of the institution of marriage and implementing a system of civil unions (or other legal marriage equivalent) is basically a roundabout way of renaming the legal institution in question. What’s the point? If Christians can tolerate Muslims getting “married” in a framework that Christians do not recognize, and Muslims can tolerate it of Wiccans, and Jews can tolerate it of Christians, and so on, then they can damn well tolerate it when people get “married” in a legal framework that religions don’t recognize (for religious purposes) either.

    * Getting government out of the institution of marriage and implementing a system of civil unions (or other legal marriage equivalent) would affect all the existing opposite-sex couples and their legal marriages just to accomodate a relatively small group. It would be far easier just to add the small group to the large group, than to go to the trouble to get everyone in the large group out of that group and enrolled into the small group.

  • Vystrix Nexoth

    I’ll add (for lack of an ability to edit my own posts that I’ve been able to find):

    * “Civil unions” aren’t necessarily as portable across state or national boundaries. Will Texas be required to recognize a “civil union” from New Jersey? If you’re in a “civil union” and move to Canada, can you get citizenship for your partner the way you could if you were “married”?

    * I imagine many religions claim that all governments derive their legitimacy from the will of their god(s)— the Divine Right of Kings. If you would preclude secular government from sanctioning its own marriages (on the argument that marriage is a religious institution), then— by that logic— shouldn’t secular government also be precluded from sanctioning its own leaders (because leadership is a religious institution)… and thus, precluded from governing at all?

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