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November 5, 2008

In other political news
Posted by Avram Grumer at 01:46 AM * 190 comments

Kevin Maroney reports that it looks like the Democrats will take control of the NY State Senate for the first time in 43 years. This will likely lead to same-sex marriage arriving here, as both the Governor and the State Assembly backed such a law last year; it was killed by the Republican-controlled Senate. (Update: Crain’s has more on the NY Senate race.)

CNN’s list of state ballot measures shows generally bad news on the gay rights front. Arizona seems to have passed a ban on same-sex marriage, and Arkansas a ban on the adoption of children by gay couples. California’s and Florida’s marriage bans are displaying as unresolved yet at the moment, but the Yes sides are leading.

California, South Dakota, and Colorado all had anti-abortion measures on their ballots, and they all seem to have been defeated.

Massachusetts and Michigan have both done their bits to ease up a bit on the drug war, the former by decriminalizing possession of marijuana possession, the latter by passing a medical marijuana law. Let’s see how an Obama Justice Dep’t deals with that. California’s Prop 5, which would have expanded programs to divert drug addicts from prison to rehab seems to have failed.

Comments on In other political news:
#1 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 01:52 AM:

Proof positive that, at least, has a -lot- of farm country to offset its urban centers.

#2 ::: pixelfish ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 01:53 AM:

The Death with Dignity initiative in Washington seems to have passed as well. (That makes Washington the second state to have passed such a law.)

#3 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 01:57 AM:

California seems to be voting against spending money more than anything else.

#4 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 02:05 AM:

I didn't register enough voters in Arizona. I take full responsibility. How we'll turn the gay marriage thing around here, I dunno, but we will.

#5 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 02:06 AM:

pixelfish: I wonder if the Feds will injunct that one, too? Or maybe they got it all out of their system with Oregon?

#6 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 02:07 AM:

They've only begun to count Alameda County, which includes Berkeley and Oakland, and LA County is not even a quarter counted yet. So there's still hope on Prop 8. On the other hand, Florida has passed their anti-gay marriage initiative and gay marriage is already legal in Massachussets, so the whole mess is heading for the Supreme Court.

#7 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 02:16 AM:

I was rather hoping I'd know about Prop. 8 this evening, but it looks like that's a definite "NO".

(Though I'll still take a too-close-to-call recounted defeat of it over a decisive passing. This is not to say otherwise!)

#8 ::: cgeye ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 02:23 AM:

I haven't felt free to smile about President-elect Obama (dear Lord, get him in the White House and inaugurated, first), but the news about the fucking NY State Senate made me *howl* with joy.

Just to see the defeated Republicans slink out of Albany would make my decade.

#9 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 02:26 AM:

It's probably an issue that needs to go to the Supreme Court. Or, given the way we handled voting rights, it may need a constitutional amendment.

Another reason to be angry that Clinton caved on gays in the military in '92. Sixteen years lost by a president who didn't have Truman's courage.

#10 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 02:26 AM:


The Feds will probably be happy that they've got all of us suicide nutters in one part of the country, and hope that if they ignore us, we'll all go away, one way or another. But wait: Hawaii is next.


I think their time is past; Randolph is right, the whole question of gay rights and the application of religious tests to civil matters has to end up in the Supreme Court, hopefully a few months after Scalia goes amok with an AK and takes out Thomas, Kennedy, and himself, giving Obama a chance to appoint some judges with a little judgement. Not vindictive, just looking for a little balance in the courts.

#11 ::: Nenya ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 02:34 AM:

Please please let Prop 8 fail.

(Now I have something to worry about again. :P It's odd, carrying that and the sheer glee over Obama at the same time.)

I do think it will end up at the Supreme Court. And I *know* we will win--someday. But I am also sick of the wait, y'know?

Loving the Senate seats the Dems are picking up, though, including NC and NH!

#12 ::: JKRichard ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 02:37 AM:

A note on the Arkansas Ban on Gay Couple Adoption: the measure passed bans adoption by ANY unmarried "sexual partners" :

This measure would prohibit unmarried "sexual partner[s]" from adopting children or from serving as foster parents. The measure specifies that the prohibition applies to both opposite-sex as well as same-sex couples.

I just went through this here in Oklahoma. Myself and fiance (we're a straight couple) filed for adoption as co-applicants (mother and father). We were denied on the basis of OK state law that states that co-applicants MUST be married to file jointly.

So I re-filed as sole applicant with Liz as "adult, over the age of 18, cohabitation."

She has to go through the same training, same background checks, and I can appoint her as legal guardian with the same rights as if she was going to be the legal mother. The only difference? Tax season.

Over 100,000 kids waiting to be adopted --- the majority of which are minority, most of the older children will 'age-out' in the system. And they want to limit an already stagnant applicant pool?

There was a big win tonight.
There were a lot of big losses with Prop 8, Arkansas' disgusting insertion of cleverly worded homophobic amendment, Florida Amendment 2, and Nebraska's 424---banning Affirmative Action.


#13 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 02:47 AM:

The candidates for Oregon's senate seat both thanked their people and told them to get some sleep. We won't know until tomorrow . . .

#14 ::: Kevin Y ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 03:31 AM:

Merkley and Smith are tied now, and it looks like most of the votes not yet counted are in very blue regions, notably Multnomah County. I can't imagine that Merkley wouldn't win.

What's more, Proposition 8's margin of victory seems to be shrinking. . . slowly. I still have a shred or two of hope.

#16 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 04:06 AM:

Bruce, I'll send Scalia a couple of bucks for bullets.

Brooks, the polls were accurate about Florida in 2000, and they've figured out what was wrong with the Bradley Effect theory, so you might as well get some sleep trusting them this time.

And if the vote doesn't match the exit poll, someone should demand a recount.

#17 ::: Larry Brennnan ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 04:27 AM:

It looks as if we're keeping Gregoire in the state house here in WA, and we may not know the result of the WA-08 seat (Burner/Reichert) until all of the ballots are counted, which may take days. It also looks like we're getting more rail, although getting the thing built is expected to take over a decade.

And Jim McDermott(D) is struggling to hold onto his WA-07 seat with a mere 85% of the vote! Go Jim!

What a day!

#18 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 05:31 AM:

The Senate can always refuse to seat Ted Stevens.

#19 ::: dichroic ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 05:38 AM:

I think maybe, as long as CNN's still showing "Processing votes" and not "Projected winner" on Prop 8, I'll wait to shed my tears. They'll still be there tomorrow if I need them. I'd like to hang on to hope even if it's a litle stupid at this point.

Or maybe someone in CNN's analysis department has a dog in this hunt and is hoping against hope too?

#20 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 06:50 AM:

Maryland, it appears, is going for slot machines. It's one thing that O'Malley has been raising taxes almost as soon as he got in office, but why does he have to pick all the regressive ones? (He raised the sales tax too.)

#21 ::: Matthew Daly ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 07:15 AM:

Sure, Stevens will have to step down almost immediately to avoid being evicted by the unanimous consent of his Senate colleagues. But if Mark Begich couldn't beat a convicted felon, I don't like his chances against Sarah Palin in the special election to fill his seat. If the Dems don't pick up the seat today, we're not going to get another chance at it for a long long time.

I'm very relieved about the NY Senate. The major news story on the western half of the state is that reform is powerless against the wall of the powers of legislative incumbency. We're glad that you downstate folks managed to get the deed done, although there is some local fear that the new three men in the room are now going to ignore everything north and west of Albany.

Still, this discussion is missing the real historical importance of the 2008 election which was undoubtedly the driving force behind the 83% turnout rate in the Rochester precinct where I was an inspector this year: the swan song for our beloved lever machines. Ka-chunk! *sniff*

#22 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 07:40 AM:

The AZ thing frustrates me to no end, as the same initiative was beaten two years ago. It seems that each time one fails, the supporters just throw more money at it to get it on the ballot again, and eventually, the folks opposing it tire out.

I was quite happy with the marijuana decriminalization here in MA, although the other two initiative results (killing the boneheaded income tax repeal, and stopping folks from torturing greyhounds) have more short-term appeal to me. Anything that reduces jail time for nonviolent "crimes" has my support, though.

#23 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 07:57 AM:

"possession of marijuana possession?"

I can't believe they put a fucking ban on adoption, those assholes. Gay parents are known for adopting the really hard-to-place kids...and hard-to-place or not, social workers have been studying this for ages, and kids thrive with gay parents.

The gay marriage thing pisses me off quite a bit, but at least there are lame-ass justifications like "they can still have a civil union." For adoption it's "the kids can stay in the foster system." Which typically leads to not-great outcomes and even in a good situation, they have nowhere to go once they age out. ARG, jerks.

#24 ::: Jennifer Pelland ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 08:00 AM:

I'm so happy for my state. I think we need a new tourist slogan. "Massachusetts: Come for the gay marriage, stay for the weed."

#25 ::: rea ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 08:23 AM:

Not likely to make much national news, I know, but Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Clifford Taylor got upset, changing the balance of power on a court that issued a lot of 4-3 crazy rightwingnut decisions over the last decade or so.

#26 ::: Anne ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 08:30 AM:

Re: #25. Of the state races I voted on, the State Supreme Court was the one I was watching with the most trepidation. Everyone I'd talked to thought Taylor would win due to being the incumbent. I was vastly relieved to see that he was losing by a healthy margin when I made my last check last night.

#27 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 09:05 AM:

As of nearly 6am, Prop 8 is still too close to call, with Santa Clara County (Silicon Valley) votes apparently going to tell the tale.

In local news, Gregoire, a Democrat I don't know very much about, has been relected to the governorship of Washington state against Rossi, a wingnut. It's a clear victory this time, so the wingnuts can go back their corners. Whew! Darcy Burner is going to win or lose by a few hundred votes. And our so-called local papers show how local they really are; I can't find any reporting of Seattle races on either paper's web site, though it does look like two of my preferred county propositions have made it.

#28 ::: BethN ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 09:24 AM:

In Connecticut, a ballot question calling for a constitutional convention, which would certainly have had rolling back gay marriage at the top of its agenda, has been soundly defeated. I put it down to small-c conservatism (civil liberties trump moral outrage).

#29 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 10:09 AM:

Oklahoma news not so good -- we still have Inhofe (though Rice made a decent showing) and Cole at the national level. Locally in Norman we kept our Democratic incumbents in the campus area, but that wasn't a surprise. And unfortunately there's now a Republican majority in the state house.

#30 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 10:12 AM:

Adam Lipkin @ 22

If it's any comfort to you, it's actually worked the other way here in Oregon in the last 10-15 years. We've had at least half-a-dozen attempts by religious rightists here to pass an initiative specifically restricting the rights of gays. Each time one has failed, they come back with another one, and each time they've failed. The general trend has been that they've fallen harder each time*, though I haven't time just now to check on my vague memory that the last one was up a tick form the one before. In any case, there hasn't been one on the ballot for several years; I think the money from the national sources has been focused on places deemed more likely to give them what they want.

* Which I attribute in part to the increase in concern and activity on the part of pro-GLBT organizations, and in part to more average people in Oregon realizing that gays really are people, not fire-breathing demons.

#31 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 10:18 AM:

One other point about The Gay Question: we need to treat the states that pass any such bigoted initiative that way everyone else treated Kansas when they institutionalized Creationism. "What a bunch of maroons! Why did they take off the wingnuts' leases?" The condemnation was a good part of why the board that did that was thrown out shortly after. I guess the more moderate citizens were terribly embarrassed by the uncomplimentary remarks.

#32 ::: Seth Breidbart ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 10:38 AM:

Bruce Cohen #31: Better to treat them the way states that didn't pass the ERA were treated.

#33 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 10:42 AM:

I also note that New England has voted out its last Republican member of the house - a solid swath of blue from Madawaska to Danbury. And New York has only three Republican House members left - incredible!h

#34 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 10:57 AM:

Adam, #22: It seems that each time one fails, the supporters just throw more money at it to get it on the ballot again, and eventually, the folks opposing it tire out.

That is exactly the strategy. Remember, this is coming from people with the same mindset as Palestinian suicide bombers: God is on their side, and they'll do whatever it takes to implement God's will. No defeat is anything but a temporary setback; the forces of Satan MUST be overcome, by any means necessary.

Against that, common decency is at a severe disadvantage.

#35 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 11:00 AM:

Echoing, as I recall, General Patton, I suppose we should always respect the wishes of those so certain in their cause that they are willing to die for it, and ensure that they do the dying.

#36 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 11:03 AM:

#15: You know, if you are so ashamed of your choice that you have to lie to the exit pollster, isn't that a sign?

#23: The lame-ass justifications are all lies, of course. Most of those anti-marriage measures also deny civil unions. (AZ's does not say anything about civil unions, perhaps because the one defeated in 2006 banned those too.)

Prop 8 is apparently still too close to call. I hope, when they've counted all the votes, it goes down. What terrible thing to explicit rescind rights...

#37 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 11:11 AM:

Prop 8 is still undecided. Two million ballots remain uncounted, so there is still hope that it might fail. I know many people from my parish voted for it and I am trying hard to deal with that. I am happy that Obama won, but if 8 wins my happiness will be tempered. And we keep going.

#38 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 11:13 AM:

The Secretary of State page with the mapped results for Proposition 8 is here.

When I crashed last night at oh-dark-hundred local time, the returns were at 75% counted and the margin of "victory" was wide enough to call the race for the wingnuts. Now, with 95% of the vote counted, the margin has not narrowed.

People— it's done. We fscked up. We let the knuckledraggers win this one. I'm deeply ashamed and I beg your forgiveness for not doing more to stop it. I did a lot. I wasn't alone in that.

It still wasn't enough. California is a sucky sucky state today.

#39 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 11:15 AM:

Matthew Daly @21:
But if Mark Begich couldn't beat a convicted felon, I don't like his chances against Sarah Palin in the special election to fill his seat.

Are you sure Palin wants to run in a special election now? Sure, it would be the next big step in her career, and she'd probably love to gush at herself in the role of the small town hockey mom telling all them bigshots in Washington what people at home think about them.

But, if I get it right, at the moment, she's in charge of the entire executive branch of the government of the state of Alaska- all of them have to follow her instructions! It's all hers! As a senator, while she would belong to a very powerful institution, she would only have one vote, and the only people under her command would be her personal staff workers.

Your point about Begich's chances against a Republican without convictions if he can't even beat Stevens still stands, though.

#40 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 11:16 AM:

There are several churches that ought to be told they're no longer entitled to call themselves 'Christians'.

Now we work to repeal it or get the courts to throw it back in the trash can it should have stayed in.

#41 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 11:34 AM:

Maryland's 1st congressional district is going into absentee overtime. There are just a thousand votes separating the two candidates. If the absentees break the same way the others did, however, the Democrat will win.

#42 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 11:37 AM:

If I were Palin I think I would take pause at putting my popularity up for a vote just now.

#43 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 11:55 AM:

OK, not an American - but does the Mormon church have tax-exempt status? If so, wouldn't their pouring of millions of dollars into supporting Prop 8 conflict with such status? If both of these are in fact the case, how could that tax-exempt status be challenged?

#44 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 11:57 AM:

Rob, no. Churches are not supposed to support candidates for office. They can and do support positions. But IANAL.

#45 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 12:03 PM:

We're going to have a recount here in Minnesota, it looks like, seeing as Franken and Coleman are a few hundred votes apart.

A few hundred.

Gaaaaaaaaaahhhh! Suspense!

We use paper ballots. Recounting them could take maybe a week.


Pardon me; I'm probably going to be this way until it's done.

#46 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 12:13 PM:

Lizzy, I think they might have crossed over the line by planning that piece-o-cr*p proposition, as well as organizing support for it. They started working on it ten years ago. My personal opinion is that they've forfeited the right to call themselves Christian, along with the other churches who supported 8.

Why I voted against 8: Herb, my former co-worker, and his husband, at their wedding in July. (Herb is on the right.)

#47 ::: Dave Trowbridge ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 12:15 PM:

Re: California Prop 8...

Is there anyway this can be overturned within the state as being incompatible with other clauses of the state constitution? Or do we now have to go the Federal route (full faith and credence and/or 14th amendment) even though Federal courts historically have refused to apply these to same-sex marriage issues?

#48 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 12:27 PM:

On the Prop 8 disappointment, I'm just waiting for the hidden logical booby-trap to spring. The California Supreme Court ruled (paraphrasing heavily) that the principle of equal protection means you can't treat opposite-sex and same-sex couples differently with respect to marriage. Prop 8 says only opposite-sex unions can be recognized as marriage. The only way to reconcile these two items logically is for no unions to be recognized as marriage. Prop 8 did not remove the principle of equal protection from the California constitution, therefore the consequences of that principle should still hold. Let's see how happy folks are about taking away people's right to marry when it applies equally to everyone.

Yes, I'm bitter.

#49 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 12:47 PM:

@jh 38, it's okay.

We all could have done more. My wife, who spent fourteen hours on her feet outside a polling place yesterday, smiling and waving No on 8 signs, acknowledges that she could have done more too -- everyone could have.

We all did what we could. It just wasn't enough.

And while I'm sad this morning, and while I know it's a false tradeoff, I'd rather have President Obama and see my marriage forcibly annulled (and go back to the domestic partnership we still have) than have President McCain and stay married. Back in April marriage wasn't even on the table, after all. It hurts like hell, but it is a survivable blow. I don't think the election of McCain would have been.

#50 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 12:54 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @48 --

That might, in the long run, be a good thing; can't think of anything else that's going to have a shot at de-sacralizing marriage as a civil institution.

Sucks rocks right at the moment, though.

#51 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 01:04 PM:

Heather Rose Jones - Well, I lived in a place (not at the time, obviously, but we learned about it in history class) where the county shut down all of its public schools rather than integrate.

I would love to see CA do the same with marriage. The howls of outrage! Perhaps one or two of them might even cause someone to reflect on the basic injustice of their position.

(Well, really what I'd love to see is for the damn thing to get fixed in such a way that it can't keep getting broken again, but I don't see that happening any time soon.)

#52 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 01:20 PM:

Rob Hansen, #43: yes, but those laws have not been enforced under this administration. The point also applies to the Roman Catholic Church. There are probably some technicalities as well; I'm not sure that church funds were actually used. The lying campaigns the churches were willing to undertake also concern me greatly. I think they've made deals with the devil, and are unlikely to like the long-term consequences.

#53 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 01:25 PM:

"As a senator, while she would belong to a very powerful institution, she would only have one vote, and the only people under her command would be her personal staff workers."

Ah, but in the Senate, she gets the major media limelight, something Alaskan politics will simply never offer her.

#54 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 01:49 PM:

#48: I'm hoping that Prop 8 gets overturned as being incompatible with the rest of the California constitution. However, in my less generous moments, I'd love to see the logical ramification be what you said. That is, California finds that it can't recognize anyone's marriage. See how the people who voted to remove the recognition of others' marriages like it. (Yes, I'm in one of my less generous moments right now.)

The chilling follow-on scenario though would be a ballot measure amending the CA constitution to remove the principle of equal protection. That wouldn't surprise me, but it would depress me even more.

#55 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 02:01 PM:

I'm heartbroken that California still has so many voters who want legal discrimination against homosexuals. That election should not have been close. Proposition 8 should not have been on the ballot in the first place. I wanted to think better of California.

At the same time, when I take a slightly longer view of things, it's kind of astonishing what it looks like from a historical perspective. Less than ten years ago, Howard Dean was regarded as a fairly extreme radical for authorizing civil unions in Vermont. (It wasn't even his idea. He was just deciding not to defy the Vermont Supreme Court.) Now civil unions and domestic partnerships have become a conservative position. It makes my head spin. The times, they are a'changing.

I'm reasonably confident that Californians will get their rights back, whether by referendum, or through the courts or legislature. The model of patriarchal marriage that Proposition 8 was meant to defend is already dying, or perhaps dead. Same-sex marriages aren't a threat to it, they're more like a tombstone over it. What killed patriarchal marriage was no-fault divorce, birth control, large numbers of women working for pay, and single parents raising children that aren't called "bastards." (Rolling this back won't save patriarchal marriage. I think the closest approximation would be zombie reanimation. But I digress.)

#56 ::: Tlönista ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 02:03 PM:

I woke up to a text message from my girlfriend with the results on Prop 8 and Prop K. Prop K I wasn't expecting to see pass; it's a hard sell. But Prop 8 -- what the fuck, California?

#57 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 02:15 PM:

Heather @48, what states do shouldn't be called marriage--marriage should be a church issue. But convincing states to change "marriage" to "civil union" would be tough, mostly because we don't have an established alternative for "marry." Well, "unite" is great, but a lot of conservative people who have had civil unions like to think they've had civil marriages.

elise @45, Minnesota (and all states) badly need Instant Runoff Voting or Approval Voting. I'm thinking now's a great time to try to improve voting in the USA.

Bruce @31, people often respond to hate with hate, but I wish someone would pick a "most gay-hateful state" (Utah?) and gay marriage supporters would vacation there one weekend, making a happy presence and showing their money was as green as anyone's.

#58 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 02:21 PM:

Rob Hansen@43: This question came up on the Dianne Rehm show on Monday, and a listener said that while 501(c)(3) groups are forbidden from participating in electoral politics (such as endorsing candidates), ballot initiatives are considered legislation. 501(c)(3)'s can lobby for legislation, within certain limits.

#59 ::: elfwreck ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 02:21 PM:

Would love to see some CA counties stop issuing marriage licenses altogether, insisting that they're forbidden by law to discriminate by sex, and they can't offer licenses to couples of some genders and not others.

#60 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 02:30 PM:

Georgia's going to a run-off in the Chambliss-Martin race. Obama should now throw the power of his organizers/GOTV team behind Jim Martin and send Saxby Chambliss home, giving the Democrats one more Senator. Do it for Max Cleland, guys. Yes we can!

#61 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 02:38 PM:

will shetterly @57: If you're going to change the langauge anyway, why do it that way? We've got a perfectly good church word for religious marriage: matrimony. Meanwhile, marriage has always been a social matter -- all the way back to the Pilgrims, who believed that on fervent religious grounds that the church should not be involved in marriages, and including the vast U.S. cultural tradition of people who have little religious leanings getting married, as well as the bunches and bunches of religious that agree with the Pilgrims' position on the matter.

I don't think it's appropriate to take marriage, and the symbolism of that word, away from all the people to whom it has significant social and emotional significance, but who do not want the church involved in their union or who belong to a religion that does not wish to be involved in it.

#62 ::: Matthew Daly ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 02:57 PM:

Raphael @39: Are you sure Palin wants to run in a special election now?

To be honest, I'm just parroting the pundits that I've heard who seem automatic in their assumption that she would seek the Senate seat. But it does seem like a reflexive rule that the Senate is a step-up for small-population state governors. Overly simplistic math supports it: having 1% influence over 305 million people is bigger than total influence over 680K, plus she will obviously have superior media access and the ability to gain experience in more than energy policy and perma-surplus budgeting.

Frankly, I'm not sure I'd be sad about it. An Alaska senator with aspirations for higher office who knows that she would be mocked back to the Stone Age if she requested an earmark -- that has a certain appeal even if it does mean having to hear her voice more often. Folks talk about the threat of Republican filibusters like an exclusively bad thing, but I almost want to give them some rope if they feel like casting themselves as the party that doesn't want government to do its part to get us back on our feet.

#63 ::: elfwreck ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 03:09 PM:

@57: Marriage has always been a civil issue; that's why ship's captains could perform them at sea, why mayors can perform them. Nations that have religious -based laws have marriage laws that match the dominant religion's preferences; nations that don't, have marriage laws that are broader than any one religion's. (The US will allow and acknowledge your marriage even if the Catholic Church won't.)

Am seriously considering getting divorced--husband & I don't want to take part in a discriminatory, religiously-biased institution. And domestic partnership comes with the same legal rights, anyway--isn't that what the anti-marriage crowd says?

#64 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 03:14 PM:

elfwreck @63: A couple of reasons I'd suggest holding off on that: (a) Domestic partnership doesn't come with the handy "other states and the Federal government all recognize it the same way" bits, and (b) you might as well wait to see what happens with court challenges; if Heather @48's prediction about the hidden booby trap comes through, it'll steal all your thunder.

But, yeah, I certainly can appreciate the impulse.

#65 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 03:21 PM:

According the the California Secretary of State's election results web page, with 96% of the precincts reporting:

Prop 02 - Standards for Confining Farm Animals
YES: 6,128,062

Prop 08 - Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry
NO: 4,800,656

I guess we humans still have some work to do.

#66 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 03:33 PM:

Re: the Florida gay marriage amendment. Here is the actual wording from the ballot:

"Florida Marriage Protection Amendment:
This amendment protects marriage as the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife and provides that no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.

The direct financial impact this amendment will have on state and local government revenues and expenditures cannot be determined, but is expected to be minor."

The emphasis is mine, but the clauses were in two separate paragraphs. That second clause seems very odd to me, and I'd be interested to hear what other Fluorospherians make of it. There were other propositions on the ballot, including legislation for things involving tax assessment for various types of land use, including ecologically protected zones; none of those, however, had any such interpretive statements.

I guess I'm sort of wondering/hoping if something like that would be grounds to contest the results.

#67 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 03:47 PM:

Debbie (66), I don't live in California, but I've seen a lot of ballot initiatives with bald-faced lies in the text printed on the ballot. (For instance, one of the ballot questions yesterday in MA said it would eliminate the income tax, and right there on the ballot it said, "your 'Yes' vote will not raise your property tax nor any other taxes," and also "your 'Yes' vote will not cut, nor require cuts, of any essential government services.") The vote was a resounding "NO!" but I was still surprised to see that text on the ballot.

#68 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 03:56 PM:

Brooks, religious (il)literalists seem to be too fixated on "marriage" to share that word, even if they keep "matrimony". I think all we can do now is fight them for "marriage" or sidestep the fight and say political institutions offer civil unions only. Or maybe we can just emphasize the "civil" part of civil marriages until the conservatives accept the distinction they should've noticed decades ago.

elfwreck, historically, civil marriage is fairly new. From Wikipedia: "In England and Wales, since 1837, civil marriages have been recognised as a legal alternative to church marriages under the Marriage Act 1836. In Germany, civil marriages were recognised in 1875."

#69 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 04:10 PM:

Adrian @ 67

I'm guessing that the text on the ballot would be absolutely true --if, instead of a sensible interpretation, you decided that only first-order effects count.

#70 ::: Kathy Li ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 04:11 PM:

Re: Prop. 8, the only small miniscule comfort I can gain is in thinking back to 2000. In 2000, Prop. 22 (same deal as 8, only a statute, not an amendment; the other wording is identical) passed 60-40. And you thought your election night 2000 was teh suck.

Eight points in eight years is what I keep telling myself. I really hope that means we've only got two more years to go.

#71 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 04:11 PM:

will @68: You're selectively quoting from Wikipedia's marriage article, though -- the paragraph directly above the one you quote notes that the English government didn't even require a formal ceremony of marriage until 1753. So that's really only about an 80-year span where legal marriage implied a church-and-priest ceremony, and it seems somewhat silly to only identify civil marriage with the period after that.

Also, in Puritan New England marriage was solely a civil thing, rather than a religious thing, before either 1837 or 1753. (I wonder what they thought of the regulations that required a formal church ceremony. My guess is that that was part of the religious prosecution they were escaping.)

Not to mention things outside the European tradition.

#73 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 04:22 PM:

Gawker reacts to Nader on Fox: Ralph Nader, Asshole.

#74 ::: Dw3t-Hthr ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 04:30 PM:

Puritans were pretty disgusted by the notion that their God might be interested in dealing with something as tawdry and worldly as marriage. It had to do with inheritance and property, after all, and more importantly they felt there was no Biblical precident justifying it.

Personally, I don't give two shakes about Biblical precedent, but I'm not dishonest enough to convert to a religion that does religious marriage so that I can participate in a universal human social ritual. I'm devout in my own religion, which treats marriage as a legal and social contract, and I will therefore continue to treat it as a legal and social contract and let those people whose gods demand bonus hoop-jumping be.

#75 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 04:31 PM:

Does Marriage come under "full faith and credit" or not?

#76 ::: Seth Breidbart ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 04:43 PM:

Dave Bell #75: Yes, it does, except when the government doesn't want it to. The new administration might have a better understanding of the Constitution.

#77 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 04:48 PM:

re 68: One has to go back to the Marriage Act 1753 to really understand the context of the 1836 act. The 1753 act actually pushed marriage into the domain of the church, but probably not for any particularly religious reasons. The real intent of the act was to get the chaos engendered by the previous state of affairs out of the courts; if you want to read about that chaos, see here. It doesn't seem to me that religion figured much in this, except as a convenient arm of the state. One should also point out that the 1753 act allowed Quakers and Jews to marry their own people, and that between 1753 and 1836 the rise of the Methodists had changed the ecclesiastical landscape considerably. Catholics, of course, were still potential enemies of the state in 1753 (see under "act of Settlement 1701", "Culloden", "Jenkins Ear"...). Marriage in England as the strict province of the church seems to have been a passing phase.

#78 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 04:50 PM:

Seth Breidbart: "better understanding of the Constitution" -- that is exactly what I'm expecting, and what we all deserve.

#79 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 04:59 PM:

The right thing to do (heh) is to dissolve all marriages in the United States.[1]

Those who wish to have their domestic partnership recognized automatically by the various and diverse machinery of the civil power must then apply to the IRS[2] for "family for tax purposes" status, which makes no assumptions about sexual relations and would indeed allow (say) siblings with individual spousal partners to keep, collectively, the family farm or the family business as a single tax-filing family unit. The point to family-for-tax-purposes is that you're mutually fully civilly responsible for each other; all debts and all civil judgments. The positive thing is the automatic power of attorney and the survivor's benefits.

[1] This is because the Pauline one-flesh marriage model supposes the inferiority of women. If women are people with equal standing under the law, it breaks. Since it is obvious to the meanest intelligence that women are in sober truth of fact people (however badly some of those mean intelligences deal with this awareness), of equal faculty and wit, some new understanding of marriage is required.

[2] You can have any ceremony you like, under the laws, but nothing at all has any legal meaning except going to the IRS[3] and filling out the forms.

[3]Substituting "CRA" for where I live works just fine so far as I am concerned.

#80 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 05:00 PM:

#68, 73
For a long time in England, you didn't really exist if you weren't christened in the Church of England, and your marriage wasn't real if you weren't married there - and people would get baptized in a parish as adults just so they could get married there. The reforms of 1837 were a big step forward.

#81 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 05:01 PM:

Will @ 68

I for one am not giving up the word marriage because a bunch of bigots want to reserve it for the unions they sanction and to hell with the rest of the world. You can if you want to. As to the historical antecedents of civil marriage, the standard Roman noble marriage* was pretty close and it predates Christianity.

As distinguished from the very religious version reserved for certain occasions between Patricians.

#82 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 05:21 PM:

Will Shetterley @68: in addition to what others have said above, it's worth mentioning that the history you cited relates specifically to England and Wales. The practice differed from one country to another. In Scotland there have always been alternatives to church marriage. Marriage by mutual consent - without any specific legal form at all -was permitted until 1939, when it was abolished and replaced by marriage by the registrar. Marriage 'by habit and repute' - i.e. by living together as husband and wife and being generally recognised as such - persisted until 2006.

#83 ::: Electric Landlady ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 05:23 PM:

Will @68, Brooks @71: it's significant that Wikipedia specifies England and Wales. Marriage ceased to be a sacrament in Scotland in 1560. That's getting on for 450 years of civil marriage. (Hence all those Gretna Green elopements, etc.)

#84 ::: Electric Landlady ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 05:25 PM:

Oops. Andrew M. beat me to it with much more information.

#85 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 05:40 PM:

re 83: Sorry, but civil marriage in Scotland didn't exist until 1939. What they had in the interim was what England had pre-1753. The difference came about perhaps due to the difference in church establishment-- or perhaps chaos was more tolerable if kept north of the border.

One should keep in mind that all through the period people agreed on what a marriage was. All of this legislation, etc. had solely to do with how it was performed. I'm highly dubious of the theory that taking marriage away from the churches in the USA is going to give sufficient traction to fiat declarations that homosexuals can marry.

#86 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 05:43 PM:

Electric Landlady: I think what you're referring to may actually be a separate point. My understanding is that civil marriages were recognised in Scotland even before the Reformation. What happened in 1560 was that the church's understanding of marriage, even those marriages which were celebrated in church, changed. That happened in England as well; the Articles of Religion of the Church of England (drawn up in the 16th Century) don't list marriage as a sacrament, although it was a church ceremony.

#87 ::: Electric Landlady ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 05:58 PM:

85, 86: thanks, my bad.

One should keep in mind that all through the period people agreed on what a marriage was.

The legal union of two people?

I'm highly dubious of the theory that taking marriage away from the churches in the USA is going to give sufficient traction to fiat declarations that homosexuals can marry.

I don't think taking marriage away from churches would ever fly politically, and I'm not suggesting it. That doesn't change my opinion that the word marriage should apply to the legal union, whether or not it has a religious aspect. If the state wants to allow religious leaders to marry people, I have no problem with it.

My view (speaking strictly as an unmarried irreligious straight Canadian) is that marriage is and should be a civil institution. I realize the word and concept of marriage have tremendous emotional and symbolic significance, and I totally understand and applaud that, and that's why I think the idea of "civil unions" is a shoddy second choice over equal marriage for everyone. I just don't see why "great emotional and symbolic significance" should necessarily translate to "and that's why it has to be religious".

#88 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 06:19 PM:

Adrian, #55: "I'm heartbroken that California still has so many voters who want legal discrimination against homosexuals." It doesn't; many lies were told (for instance, that churches would be required to marry same-sex couples) and the prop still almost lost. I think in a year or so there's going to be a lot of voter's remorse on this one, especially since more attempts to bind religious restrictions into civil marriage are probably on the way.

Will Shetterly, #57: what states do is called "civil marriage" and is matter of contract law. It already conflicts with various religious marriage practices; for instance the Roman Catholic church does not allow divorce.

#89 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 06:26 PM:

doesn't change my opinion that the word marriage should apply to the legal union, whether or not it has a religious aspect. If the state wants to allow religious leaders to marry people, I have no problem with it.

That's actually how it's done in California. You have to get a license from the state to get married; whether you get married in a church, in a park, in your own back yard, or in a courtroom is your choice.

#90 ::: Darkrose ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 07:05 PM:

lorax@49: No one's really sure what this means, but as long as I have that marriage certificate signed and sealed by the Sacramento County Clerk, I'm still married as far as I'm concerned.

That's an angle that I wish had been pushed harder: that the state's now going to have to spend money we don't have trying to sort out the legal status of the 12,000 couples who were married since June. Between that and the money that'll now be going to Massachusetts, the financial impact on the state is going to be felt.

#91 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 07:29 PM:

Dave @75, while it's usually implicitly recognized as such -- with the exception of same-sex marriages, marriages valid in one state are recognized in other states -- the Supreme Court has never actually ruled on the full faith & credit clause as it pertains to marriage. (The situation didn't come up in Loving v. Virginia because the Lovings were married in the District of Columbia.)

More generally on Prop 8, Equality California et al have filed suit to block it, on the grounds that it is a constitutional "revision" (changing the fundamentals of the document, which cannot legally be done by initiative in California) rather than a mere "amendment". A suit to keep the measure off the ballot on these grounds failed in August; at the time the court didn't rule on the merits of the issue, but just said "we'll deal with this when and if it passes". Full details here.

#92 ::: Glen Fisher ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 07:41 PM:

On Prop. 8, keep in mind that the anti-8 campaign was, shall we say, ill-conceived. The pro-8 campaign was heavily emotional: "protect marriage". (I've also seen "protect freedom of religion" and "protect mother nature".) The anti-8 group for some reason decided to fight emotion with philosophy: "it's not fair". I'm opposed to Prop. 8 (and voted against it), and *I* found the anti-8 ads unconvincing. With a *good* campaign, an overturn should be quite doable.

John Scalzi has the right idea here: attack the "it threatens marriage" claims directly. "We've been married for fifty years, and if gays can marry, well, we expect to stay married for fifty more."; "So, John and Marsha, if gays can marry, will you give up on getting married yourself?"/"No; we're more interested than ever!"; "How is *your* marriage threatened by two guys getting married, too?"; "How can gay marriage *threaten* marriage when it means even *more* marriages will be made?"; etc.

#93 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 08:24 PM:

If some religious group wants to mark their version of marriage as more specialer and uniquer than everyone else's, let them come up with a special name for it.

#94 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 08:39 PM:

As soon as we leave Massachusetts, they decriminalize.

There will now be one minute of profanity.

#95 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 08:44 PM:

Darkrose @90: I really doubt that argument would have made all that much difference, because I doubt that the financial impact on the state's taxpayers will be as much as the $38 million (or whatever it was) that got spent to support the bill. At the least, it won't be much higher.

#96 ::: Dave Trowbridge ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 09:13 PM:

I got the answer to my question posed in #47 above:

"The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights filed a writ petition before the California Supreme Court today urging the court to invalidate Proposition 8 if it passes. The petition charges that Proposition 8 is invalid because the initiative process was improperly used in an attempt to undo the constitution’s core commitment to equality for everyone by eliminating a fundamental right from just one group – lesbian and gay Californians. Proposition 8 also improperly attempts to prevent the courts from exercising their essential constitutional role of protecting the equal protection rights of minorities. According to the California Constitution, such radical changes to the organizing principles of state government cannot be made by simple majority vote through the initiative process, but instead must, at a minimum, go through the state legislature first.

"The California Constitution itself sets out two ways to alter the document that sets the most basic rules about how state government works. Through the initiative process, voters can make relatively small changes to the constitution. But any measure that would change the underlying principles of the constitution must first be approved by the legislature before being submitted to the voters. That didn’t happen with Proposition 8, and that’s why it’s invalid."

The fight goes on.

#97 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2008, 11:19 PM:

I expect Prop 102, the anti-gay-marriage measure that passed here in Arizona, to be likewise challenged in the courts.

For one thing, the pro-102 ads kept emphasizing how "simple and clear" the amendment's wording was, defining marriage as "between one man and one woman."

This irked me, because the wording was NOT, in any way, "clear".

Back a long time ago, I worked as a legal secretary for a while. While I wouldn't be presumptive enough to offer legal advice to anyone based on experience thirty years old, it did give me a bit of an ear for legal language and phrasing.

And one of the things I learned is that there's a reason a lot of legal language and writing is complex, verbose, and technical: Because sometimes it's necessary to use complex, verbose, and technical language to specify exactly what the legal language means and intends.

When I first saw that "between one man and one woman" phrasing in Prop 102, my immediate reaction was "Which man and which woman?"

Because, as it was written, it can be argued that Prop 102 only allows one marriage to exist in the state of Arizona at one time. Any other marriages, beyond one particular (but unspecified) marriage between one particular (but unspecified) man and one particular (but unspecified) woman, would be invalidated.

Does that sound absurd? Sure. But if the language of the measure allows that argument to be made, then the language is legally unclear and, IMHO, insupportable. (I was astonished that it was even allowed on the ballot; other measures in the past, even when submitted with sufficient signatures, have been kept off the ballot for legally insufficient language.)

#98 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 12:22 AM:

re 87: The legality of the matter was a consequence, not its core. That indeed was what prompted the various marriage acts. Marriage had legal consequences, and in that wise needed legal recognition when those consequences came into play. But up until the 1753 act, a wedding was not itself a legal rite; and it was only such an act at the time insofar as the Established Church acted as an agent of the state. The point of the act, indeed, was to eliminate "irregular" marriage; but the irregularity was not a problem in the state of the relationship between the husband and wife, but only in the way the marriage was recorded. Making the church the sole recorder of marriages made it easy for the courts to figure out what had and had not been done.

#99 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 12:36 AM:

So, does anyone know the date of the first nonreligious civil marriage in Britain or the colonies that became the US? I did find this for England: "In 1863 the demand that the ceremony take place in a religious forum was removed."

#100 ::: Dw3t-Hthr ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 01:02 AM:

No later than the first Puritan marriage, so sometime in the 1600s in the English-speaking colonies.

#101 ::: Dw3t-Hthr ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 01:02 AM:

No later than the first Puritan marriage, so sometime in the 1600s in the English-speaking colonies.

#102 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 02:30 AM:

Dave Trowbridge @96: That makes sense. I wondered if there was any check on "the tyranny of the majority" if you could put anything into the state's constitution with a ballot initiative which gets a majority vote.

It would have saved a lot of trouble if the initiative could have been screened for these concerns before getting placed on the ballot.

#103 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 03:53 AM:

The Puritans make an interesting footnote when discussing civil marriage, based on this: "Marriages ... were not usually performed by a clergyman, but by the magistrate."

But if this is right, Puritan marriage was extremely religious: "They permitted no divorce except for abandonment although they would allow an annulment because of infertility. ... Puritans arranged marriages for their children and no one could marry outside the church."

I liked this: "When a New England Puritan wife complained, first to her pastor then to her whole congregation that her husband was neglecting their sex life, the church excommunicated him!"

The Puritans do strike a blow against procreation as the purpose of marriage: William Perkins said, "They do err who hold that the secret coming together of man and wife cannot be without sin unless it be done for the procreation of children."

But I don't think any of the opponents of gay marriage insist on procreation. They just hate the idea of gay marriage.

#104 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 04:33 AM:

Will @103: How does any of that, except for "no marriages outside the church", have anything to do with the religion, much less qualify as "extremely religious"? Extremely strong on the social enforcement of morals, yes, but that by itself is not religion.

As for preventing marriages outside the church, it's important to note (from elsewhere in the page) that they considered anyone outside the church to also be outside polite society, and vice versa -- it seems pretty clear, for instance, that they considered Anglicans to be "within the church" despite their religious differences.

In any case, even though they certainly didn't believe in separation of church and state in the modern sense, and their religion had a lot of influence on how they set up their government, that doesn't mean that when their government performed marriages that they weren't civil marriages. And I think that they're civil marriages in a relevant sense for arguing that there is long-standing precedent for the idea that the church, as an organization, need not be the provider of marriages.

#105 ::: Lisa Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 04:50 AM:

will shetterly@

Civil union for non-aristocrats goes back to Sumerian tablets, wherein the exchange of salt and beer for a spouse established the contract.

Marriage as a Christian sacrament though is not even a thousand years old; it's marriage as something other than civil that's "new." In other words, you're asking the wrong question.

If we look at the language around marriage--spouse, wedding, etc.--it's very clear that marriage is at its heart a civil contract. And exchange of goods--my child and his/her offspring, for your goods/land.

#106 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 10:22 AM:

Marriage as an institution of the state is the novelty, including civil marriage. Heck, marriage as a ratification of sexual activity is pretty novel.

The striking statistic I saw peeking out from under the Prop 8 vote is the conspicuous racial pattern in the voting (at least, if you believe CNN's exit polling). Latinos voted for Prop 8; blacks voted for it overwhelmingly. Now, there are holes in the statistics. The size of the black sample in the poll was barely sufficient; they didn't have enough responses to split out male and female, for instance. All other reservations about exit polling can be taken as given. Nonetheless, there's a problem brewing there for the Democrats.

#107 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 10:31 AM:

Lisa Spangenberg @ 105... the exchange of salt and beer for a spouse established the contract

What? No pretzel?

As for comments by others that civil marriage is a recent idea... True, but that's not relevant. Women's right to vote is too, after all.

#108 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 10:51 AM:

C. Wingate @106, Nonetheless, there's a problem brewing there for the Democrats.

Why? The Democrats have apparently been a coalition of, among other groups, socially liberal whites and many socially more or less conservative minorities for a while now; pretty much since the dixiecrats switched and the old city machines declined. If that's a problem, it has been around for a while; it's not brewing now.

#109 ::: Juliet E McKenna ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 10:59 AM:

re Lisa @105,

If we look at the language around marriage--spouse, wedding, etc.--it's very clear that marriage is at its heart a civil contract. And exchange of goods--my child and his/her offspring, for your goods/land.

And this ties into the premium on untouched brides/grooms - to avoid illegitimate (in all senses) claimants - that has transmogrified into the obsession with 'purity' among those inclined to religiosity.

#110 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 11:26 AM:

The more people argue that marriage is religious, and only religious, the less I want to get married in my church.

The idea of getting married by a justice of the peace, with any and all religious language or even passing reference to God excised from the ceremony, looks better and better to me.

#111 ::: ls ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 11:34 AM:

Dave Bell @75:
Does Marriage come under "full faith and credit" or not?

Seth Breidbart @76: Yes, it does, except when the government doesn't want it to. The new administration might have a better understanding of the Constitution.

They'd need to do more than understand it--full faith and credit is explicity suspended by the Federal Defense of Marriage Act(DoMA)

While I would LOVE it see it repealed, I doubt it's on the agenda at the moment, especially since it also exempts the feds in a host of ways that were hypothetical at the time, but would now have immediate implications, i.e., all of us married MA folks who could suddenly file our taxes that way.

#112 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 11:52 AM:

re 108: Why should I assume that coalition is going to hold together? It's a lot easier to do so in opposition to a common enemy; now that Bush is on his way out, that unitive factor is on its way out too.

#113 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 11:52 AM:

The striking statistic I saw peeking out from under the Prop 8 vote is the conspicuous racial pattern in the voting (at least, if you believe CNN's exit polling). Latinos voted for Prop 8; blacks voted for it overwhelmingly. Now, there are holes in the statistics. The size of the black sample in the poll was barely sufficient; they didn't have enough responses to split out male and female, for instance. All other reservations about exit polling can be taken as given. Nonetheless, there's a problem brewing there for the Democrats.

I heard that claim too, but looking at the map of the counties for and against Prop 8, it doesn't seem to hold up. Rural counties were overwhelmingly for, the major urban areas overwhelmingly against. Isn't rural and small-town California still mostly "Caucasian", from what I've seen of it?

#114 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 11:59 AM:

C Wingate @ 112... I should point out that, while Bush is thankfully on his way out, the GOP is still around.

#115 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 12:39 PM:

C Wingate @112:

I don't think the coalition was all anti-Bush. I think a lot of it was pro-Obama; a lot of people I know voted for a candidate, rather than against a candidate, for the first time in a long while. Certainly all the people buying the T-shirts that were in the front window of the local African-American barbershop for months weren't just voting for him because they didn't like Bush. If I can go up to religiously-conservative black voters, with the common ground of both having supported Obama, and talk about civil marriage as a civil rights issue, that's a much better starting point than if they voted for the other guy, or didn't vote.

Clifton @113:

Prop 8 passed in LA County (by a narrow margin) -- if that's not a "major urban area" I don't know what is.

#116 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 01:15 PM:

Bruce Arthurs@97 writes:

"[A]s it was written, it can be argued that Prop 102 only allows one marriage to exist in the state of Arizona at one time. ... Does that sound absurd? Sure. But if the language of the measure allows that argument to be made, then the language is legally unclear and, IMHO, insupportable."

I'm not a lawyer, but I'm pretty sure this particular argument won't fly. The same type of argument is made, for instance, by folks who deny the validity of the income tax. I knew someone (whose training was in computer science) who thought that if he could show that it was possible to interpret the tax code absurdly, that it could be voided for vagueness, in more or less the same way that a computer program that fails to compile without error has no effect.

But legal interpretation works under different rules. In particular, I gather one of them is that laws are assumed to have an intended effect, and that alleged intentions that no reasonable drafter would have contemplated can be disregarded. (You can argue for *implications* that the original legislature would not have contemplated-- that's how we can apply to the Fourth Amendment to wiretapping when no phones existed in 1787, for instance. But an argument that the drafters or voters were intending to allow no more than one marriage to exist anywhere in the state would be considered frivolous, I'd think.)

(The fellow I knew with the unusual legal interpretations eventually went to jail on tax charges, for what it's worth.)

#117 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 01:21 PM:

Nancy, #110: Hear, hear! If/when my partner & I tie the knot, that's what we'll be doing.

#118 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 01:47 PM:

Brooks @103, if you're forcing people to marry within a religion and keep that religion's traditions (see the Puritan view on divorce), it seems awfully hard to argue that there's any separation of church and state at work. Did those magistrates marry anyone who wasn't Puritan?

Lisa @104, I've been expressing myself very badly in this thread, but I'll muddle on: Sure, people have married in many ways throughout history. But the people who oppose gay marriage in the US today seem to be conservative Christians with some allies among Jews and Mormons. There's a whole lot of British tradition in their expectations. So I'm wondering when the UK or the US allowed civil marriage in a way that was unambiguously civil rather than religious.

#119 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 01:58 PM:

Nancy @110, Emma and I got married in a bar, surrounded by family and friends. Cheap and fun! Pamela Dean did the service with a mail-order minister's license from the Universal Life Church. Marriages should be whatever you want them to be.

I think there's no shame in marrying in a church that will marry any adults who want to be married. But people who say they support gay rights and marry in homophobic churches have got a wee bit of hypocrisy going on.

#120 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 02:33 PM:

Will @118: Which is why I'm not arguing that they have such a separation in the modern sense.

They clearly did have such a separation in about the same way that we have a separation between the executive and judicial branches of U.S. government, or something along those lines -- the magistrates and the clergy were different people, and had clearly defined roles that didn't overlap.

I'm arguing that, in such an environment, a marriage performed by a magistrate is pretty unambiguously a civil marriage. Yes, those marriages were limited by some rather strict moral views -- but to call anything guided by those views part of the "religion" is begging the question. In particular, given that the Puritans held the view that there wasn't any biblical support for the Church performing marriage, I would be highly surprised if they considered there to be biblical support for most of the restrictions that they placed on marriages.

Thus, I am arguing that these marriages occupied the functional place in their society that a civil marriage occupies in ours, and that it's much more closely an ancestor of that than it is of religious marriage.

Yes, because their society was a separatist colony of Puritans, they had lots of that separatism in their civil governance. I am arguing that that doesn't make it "religious marriage" in any sense that's relevant to your argument. Marriage was only religious insofar as the government was religious, and when you split government and religion apart to talk about them separately, as you're doing when you argue that marriage is traditionally a religious thing, I think it's pretty unambiguously clear that marriage would go with the government part. How else would you define this "unambiguously civil rather than religious" marriage that you're looking for, in a way that makes any sense in the contexts of the times where you're looking for it?

#121 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 02:49 PM:

I mentioned somewhere back-along (waves vaguely at the pre-election political posts) my antipathy for the current Commissioner of Public Lands, one Doug Sutherland. I went to bed Tuesday night, or rather very early Wednesday morning, with the knowledge that he looked to have been reelected a sad blotch on my shining happiness.

This morning Peter Goldmark, a democrat conservationist cattleman, is ahead by almost two percent. Every time a new batch of votes comes in from Pierce County Sutherland's count goes down. It's probable that there are enough people there who have to drive past one of Sutherland's urban lands liquidation zones that they share my hatred for his policies on the immediate, personal, visceral level.

The first thing Doug Sutherland did upon taking office was declare surplus by fiat a whole bunch of DNR owned open space near cities and sell them for development, in a way that freed them from the requirements of the state's environmental planning and historic preservation laws. The one nearest me had been occupied by the old DNR Headquarters, a cluster of WPA and CCC constructed Park Style Craftsman buildings (set in one of the last pine prairies in public view, full of camas and Indian paintbrush and cous in the spring) and a park-and-ride lot. It was replaced by forty acres of Great American Nothing: Costco, Home Depot, Big Lots, Sportsman's Warehouse, Staples, and the standard strip mall runing from Panda Express through Panera, UPS, and the usual mix of nail places and payday loans to American Mattress.

He also signed off on the forest practices permit that allowed a 60% slope on the headwaters of the Chehalis to be clearcut; the eroded face of that hill and voices of people who were flooded out the first week of December last year may have been the best political advertisement of this election cycle.

#122 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 02:51 PM:

You can have a bit of fun with fundy wingnuts by arguing this line of reasoning with them:

1) Get them to agree that they believe in the first amendment, specifically freedom of religion.

2) Ask them to define why they don't believe in gay marriage. You may have to prod a bit, but with the right line of questioning (this is best done in a nonconfrontational way) get them to admit they are against gay marriage for religious reasons.

3) Ask them again if they believe in the first amendment, specifically freedom of religion.

4) Ask them if they believe freedom of religion applies to other religions -- I usually start out with some obvious choices like Judaism or Native American tribes. Should they be able to practice their religions without government interference?

5) Ask if they think that other religions should be able to impose their beliefs on them.

6) Ask if they think they should be able to force their religious views on others, or does the protection of the first amendment apply to everyone? (If they say no, give up and back slowly away. They're irrationally crazy.)

7) Ask if they think marriage is a religious institution or a secular one. They'll probably say religious.

8) Mention the example of a religion which permits gays to marry. Ask if they think that the gays in question should be able to freely practice their religion under first amendment.

Ahhh ... fun times. :-)

(Generally, somewhere around the end of this line of reasoning, the fundy throws a fit and stomps off. But it's entertaining to do -- I had a GREAT time amusing myself at the laundromat one day with the resident fundy wingnut, who thought I was a convenient captive audience whose soul needed saving.)

#123 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 02:57 PM:

Nancy #110

We were legally married in the chambers of the JOP, with two friends as witnesses in the morning.

Then that night we had our own ceremony that went on for hours, with friends and family coming and going as they felt like.

Love, C.

#124 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 03:01 PM:

Huh. I have a comment being held: no URLs at all, not an old thread, about a WA state race I'd discussed before. Oh, well, life's like that.

#125 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 03:20 PM:


Released, now at 121. You caught the spam filter with the mention of loans tied to the date of receipt of salary at the end of the third paragraph.

No comment number references were harmed in the performance of this action.

#126 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 03:26 PM:

Clifton@113: I live in Calaveras County, CA which is as rural and small-town as it gets, and we have a significant Hispanic population. I expect you'll find that to be true in any farming community in the state.

(That said, I checked the Census Bureau which tells me our 2006 population was 84.5% non-Hispanic white. So not as significant as I thought.)

#127 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 03:54 PM:

abi, that's funny, when you think of it- I was describing the standard commercial mix at a pretty typical bit of I-5 exit blight, which is like spam only in 3D.

#128 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 04:06 PM:

JESR: Reminds me of a Virginia Tech university administrator who sold a huge tract of ag-research apple orchards south of town to some developers who wanted to put up (among other things) a WalMart. His public justification for this was that it was a trade for equivalent lands elsewhere, that it raised a modicum of money for the university, and that one "could put an apple orchard anywhere". Nevermind that some of the trees were decades old, the "equivalent land" was nowhere near as convenient to get to, and there was considerable community goodwill from having the quite pretty farms be one of the first pieces of the university one saw upon nearing town. His private justification was shortly thereafter found to be that he was getting paid a bit of personal money for the deal as well, but at that point the deal had been closed and the trees bulldozed up.

My mother still bears a grudge against WalMart for this, and refuses to shop there.

#129 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 04:34 PM:

Leva, #122: Ooh, I like that line of argument!

abi, #125: I suggest that the substitution of "paycheck pawnshops" for "pydy lns" might be a good way to get around the spam filter.

#130 ::: Seth Breidbart ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 04:35 PM:

Leva (#122), I wonder if the people who oppose gay marriage because of what (they think) the Bible says would also like to see marriages invalidated if they served shrimp at the wedding, or if the bride or groom wore clothing of mixed fibers.

#131 ::: Dw3t-Hthr ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 04:41 PM:

Under English law, marriage belonged to the people as an arrangement for contracting between families until about 1200, at which point the church started trying to take it over. This began with demanding a posting of the banns and vows exchanged in front of a priest. In 1753, the church was given control of marriages; in 1837, the registrar was established.

Citation of summary I'm paraphrasing. The reference is to 1215 - The Year of Magna Carta by Danziger & Gillingham if anyone wants to look it up themselves rather than take his word for it.

#132 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 04:47 PM:

Brooks Moses @128, that story pings some memory bells- I think there's been several pieces of research and plant propagation land around Puget Sound declared surplus and turned to sprawl. Long ago, there was also a family member who sold ten acres of subdividable land to an acquaintance who turned around and sold it to the school board for about five times the price he paid, and allegedly split the profit with another developer who was (a) on the school board and (b) building houses in that grade school subdistrict, and didn't want to give up any of his development land for the new school.

The intersection of real estate and government is ripe for selling one's virtue, in short. I don't mean to imply the incumbant Commissioner of Public Lands was thus purchased; I suspect, on the contrary, he was mostly ignorant and unwilling to be educated.

#133 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 04:47 PM:

Brooks @120, what you're calling the Puritans' "strict moral views" of marriage, I would call strict religious views, because they're firmly based on their interpretation of, if I remember correctly, the Geneva Bible. But I'll happily agree that there's some precedent for purely civil marriage in the Puritan example.

Still, I'm after the early examples of institutional, nonreligious, civil marriage, marriage in which the state provides the service and keeps the record, and while a god or gods might be mentioned, there are no religious expectations of the people who marry--pretty much what happens if you get married by a judge today.

#134 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 04:49 PM:

re 113: I'm looking directly at the numbers from CNN's exit polling. Anyway, of the sixteen counties that came out against the prop, the black pop percentage over the whole group (using 2000 data except for SF, where I used 2006) was 6.1%. 90% of that was contributed by five counties, and 44% came from Alameda County alone, where 15% of the population was black in 2000. The overall percentage in the group, BTW, is about the same as that of the whole state.

re 114/115: All I'm really saying is that I see some signs that a radically liberal Obama administration isn't going to be able to muster sufficient political oomph on some issues. The voting wasn't all anti-Bush, but exit polling shows that anti-Bush was a very large component. And I don't think the GOP is going to be as easy a target when it is (a) out of power, and (b) going to have to thrash through its own identity problems. Certainly the kind of demonizing rhetoric that is commonplace here has no effect on me other than to make me roll my eyes in the same way that I do when I go to the conservative forums.

re 120/121: The major hole in this kind of rhetoric is that pre-modern people didn't think marriage was either secular or religious. They thought it was natural. If one is religious, then what is natural arises out of religion; if not, then not. But in spite of ecclesiastical and governmental attempts to lay claim to being the source of marriage, the prevailing theory was that marriage was something that arises out of human nature. The increasing import of civil marriage is a side effect of various changes that have made the state of being married or not more immediately fraught; for example, we have its import in the paying of income taxes.

#135 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 05:09 PM:

re 131: Banns and such made a marriage "regular"; irregular marriages continued alongside until 1753(England)/1939(Scotland). Irregular marriages were just as valid; the difficulty was solely in the documentation, which made for a lot of annoying adjudication in probate. In retrospect, the 1753 act was a triumph of bureaucratic thinking; someone's "solution" to the problem of record keeping was to dump everything on the church, which was already keeping good records. I suspect that the church was to some degree happy to be able to better supervise matters, but it wasn't they who instigated the change. (One should also remember that in Georgian England the church was not a tower of political power or for that matter moral authority.) Basically Parliament's approach to marriage was a long series of hacks. There are a lot of "marriage acts" in the 1800s, if only because they for some reason treated each national division and colony separately. The only purpose of the banns themselves was again administrative: it helped prevent secret marriages and other situations where the courts would have to thrash things out later. And note this from the linked page: "It appears from both these links that the pressure for the reforms was as much about creating clear records of marriages and protecting property rights of the wealthy as it was about religious issues."

#136 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 05:21 PM:

C Wingate @ 134... the kind of demonizing rhetoric that is commonplace here has no effect on me other than to make me roll my eyes in the same way that I do when I go to the conservative forums

Oh, puh-lease. And that's all I'll say as I retire from this thread, due to a promise I made to someone else regarding you.

#137 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 05:45 PM:

someone's "solution" to the problem of record keeping was to dump everything on the church, which was already keeping good records

Relatively good records. Those of us who can't find the records we're looking for wonder just how good that recordkeeping really was.

#138 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 05:49 PM:

Brooks #128, JESR #132:

The current nuttiness here in Austin, likely to spend a *long* time playing out, is the re-disposition of the Brackenridge Tract, a very large hunk of land in West Austin, some of it lakefront property, owned by the University of Texas. Up to now, most of it has been home to the Municipal Golf Course, reasonably low-density married grad student apartments, and the Biological Field Research Lab (or some such title). The university's board of regents has decided that this asset must be monetized in a more efficient fashion, and I don't think there's a group in town who isn't pissed off by the idea of some part (parts differ depending on who you're talking to--I'm agin it on all three counts) of this massive mostly-green space getting converted to shops, hotels, luxury condos and ghu-knows-what-all with hefty ground rents.

It has just been discovered that the golf course is the first golf course to be desegregated.

#139 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 06:18 PM:

But people who say they support gay rights and marry in homophobic churches have got a wee bit of hypocrisy going on.

Will, I don't think "hypocrisy"is the right word. It's definitely a conflict/contradiction, but life is filled with those, and sometimes reconciling them is simply impossible. I am a member of a church whose formal statements about gay people and gay marriage I don't support or believe. It's painful. Some other members of the church would no doubt think I have no business calling myself a member, and believe that I should leave. I choose not to. Am I hypocritical? I don't think so -- I think I am just living a contradiction that I cannot resolve. Luckily, my church is a very Big Tent sort of place...

#140 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 06:38 PM:

I've just been snarling at some Mormon Prop-8 proponents over at Scalzi's blog, and I'm really building up a good hate on the CJCLDS. Worse, I'm starting to hate Mormons generally. I feel bad about that.

Still worse than that, last night I saw some Mormon missionaries on the street here in Hoboken (pairs of young white men in matching jackets stand out here). I wanted to go and hit them, or at least yell at them. I didn't, of course, but I felt bad about wanting to.

I'm really seriously tempted to tell them "Hoboken is trying to be a hate-free zone; people who preach hate aren't really welcome here. Why don't you take your skinny little 'Elder' asses up to Weehawken?" I would anticipate them staring at me open-mouthed, because of course THEY don't realize that by being Mormon missionaries they're recruiting for a hate group.

Which of course means they really don't deserve to be spoken to that way, poor kids. They don't know any better. But in the aftermath of Prop 8 it's really hard to keep my temper in check.

#141 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 06:42 PM:

Lizzy L, I completely agree that we all have to live with some compromises. Right after I clicked "post," I realized that by my standards, I'm guilty of that hypocrisy: I got married in a state where gay people couldn't. In my defense, there was less activism in 1981 and I wasn't terribly interested in civil marriage for anyone, but still, I got to do something that someone else couldn't. If Emma and I were going to formalize our relationship today, I would not get a state marriage; I would do the things gay couples have to do to create shared lives.

Great. Now I have to go ask Emma if she thinks we should get divorced.

#142 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 06:47 PM:

Xopher @140, are you familiar with stoney321 at Livejournal? She comes from a Mormon family, although she herself is an atheist, and she's written about what the missionaries go through. One of her suggestions for dealing with them is, "Even if you have NO interest in being preached to, ask them if they're hungry, or if they'd like a granola bar... the allowance they have to feed themselves on is practically nonexistent."

It's a lot easier to feel compassionate to a brainwashed kid who needs a good meal than it is if you think of them as recruiters for a hate group, even if both are true.

I confess, I did not manage this when a pair of (young female) missionaries came to my door, but I did keep it to a civil "no thank you."

#143 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 06:51 PM:

This may be the single most-unintentionally-funny thing I've read this whole election cycle:

the GOP can earn back some good will simply by improving Democratic health care and other initiatives with our cost-benefit know-how.

Douglas W. Kmiec, from Salon's "whither Repubicanism?" roundtable.

It's not funny enough to distract me from my anger about Prop 8, though. I'm another one who should have done more.

#144 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 06:59 PM:

Rikibeth, two things about that:

1) You know, I always wondered why all the missionaries I saw were skinny. Never thought it might be because they're drastically underfed.

2) That is really going to help me. Seriously. The "poor hungry kids" thing makes it impossible for me to want to hit them or even yell at them. Maybe I'll feed them a hot meal as a way of countering what they've been told about gay Pagan socialists...if anything.

Of course, the fact that the CJCLDS sends these boys (I've heard of female missionaries in the LDS, but I understand it's still rare, and I've never seen any) out without making sure they have enough to EAT makes me hate THEM (the CJCLDS as an organization) even more. But that's still better IMO.

#145 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 07:08 PM:

In other political news, incumbent Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) will be facing Jim Martin in a runoff on Dec. 2. Thanks are due to Libertarian candidate Allen Buckley for siphoning off just enough votes from Chambliss.

Martin, BTW, is called a "prominent gay rights ally" by Southern Voice Atlanta. Wish us luck, y'all.

#146 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 07:38 PM:

joann, there's a lot of institutions- some governmental, some private- that look at big chunks of undeveloped land and see a way to plug holes in their budgets; what galls me about the DNR situation is the way the surplus declarations and sales put some historically and environmentally significant sites out of reach of the EIS process. Can UT do that with its lands, or is it going to run up against the activism and general cantankerousness of Austin residents? The memory of the Ranger's stadium taking, though, fills me with trepidation.

#147 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 07:40 PM:

will shetterly (#141): I can't claim to speak for any same-sex couples (or even half of one), but I think there's a distinction between unexamined privilege and examined privilege.

You're treating your marriage as the latter, and actively speaking out against the injustice that keeps others from sharing it.

I'm proud to live in a state that has an inclusive marriage law and no sign of any plausible attempt at retrogression; I'd still been married over ten years when the law changed.

(Then again, I'd been arguing for equal rights ten years before Massachusetts made that change.)

If you choose to deny yourselves those privileges in solidarity, I salute you and respect your decision; that doesn't mean that I think it's a failure if you don't do so.

#148 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 08:02 PM:

lc @ 111:

Suspending full faith and credit makes the DOMA unconstitutional. Full faith and credit is part of the U.S. Constitution. Putting it aside would require a constitutional amendment, which is a much more complicated process than having the House and Senate pass a bill and the president sign it.

I know, not much chance of convincing the Supreme Court. But my figuring is either full faith and credit doesn't apply, in which case that clause is unnecessary, or it does, and the clause is unconstitutional. Either way, it can't be used to suspend full faith and credit.

#149 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 08:07 PM:

JESR: Looks like they probably can; the tenor of everyone's remarks so far is "they're not listening to us and they're going to go ahead and do X," although things are still in the study stage. I don't know whether the Council has much input/control on this one; I'll have to do some reading. The biggest development weapon we have (the 1992 Save Our Springs ordinance) is not applicable because the land is outside the Barton recharge zone. Should note that UT is just about the largest employer in town, and therefore has a monster economic footprint.

#150 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 08:24 PM:

i am quite religious, but my husband happens to be a different religion, so we got married by a justice of the peace (or marriage commissioner, as they're called up here). we read off & signed her basic legal document, then had our own made-up wedding ceremony with no presiding authorities at all.

given the fact that this was canada in 2007, & our commissioner seems to be the most popular in the area*, she had probably married gay couples before us. which i had nothing to do with, but it makes me happy anyhow.

*she performed the weddings of my brother-in-law & a friend of my husband's, not on our recommendation, but because she's first on the list alphabetically.

#151 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 08:31 PM:

Xopher @140, for some reason I'm finding myself madder at the people who bought the lies than the people who spread them.

I don't expect better of the Mormons. I do expect better from the voters who thought "Well, I guess it's okay with me if they get married, but I don't want kids being taught it in schools, or priests getting fined for not marrying gay couples (to name the most prominent and persuasive lies being spread by the Yes on 8 crowd)", and didn't actually bother to find out the truth of those claims before voting Yes. I've had years to get used to the fact that Mormons hate me -- finding out that thousands of people who don't hate me just didn't care enough to get the facts before voting away my civil rights hurts. A lot.

#152 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 08:32 PM:

Christopher, thanks. I asked Emma, and she said she'd like to think about it for at least as long as she considered my proposal. Getting married when we did doesn't bother me--it was easy to think the right would include every adult soon. But now I'm in Arizona, and it's hard to pretend ignorance.

I think the opposition here was overconfident because we defeated the same proposal in the last election.

#153 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 08:39 PM:

Xopher @144, I'm glad it helps. You've always struck me as a remarkably compassionate person, and I could see you didn't LIKE having the violent impulses towards the missionaries.

It's a lot easier to feel compassionate towards a hungry kid, even if they have a really screwy belief system.

And yeah. It just enhances the dislike for the institution and its policies. But it helps direct the dislike more effectively.

#154 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 09:47 PM:

lorax @151: Well, if it's any consolation, a lot of us on the other side believed that Prop. 8 would nullify the existing marriages of same-sex couples. Turns out the State Attorney General says it won't, and IIUC he had been saying that before the election.

I don't think that was believing a lie, so much as a case of my interpreting the language of the amendment differently from how the Attorney General did (which, given that he's the lawyer and knows the legal context, and I'm a layman and don't, is a reasonably clear case of me being wrong) -- a lot of which interpretation I based on what I thought were reasonably reputable interpretations of the proposition rather than its actual text; they were, in fact, pretty much correct, but I didn't actually check them all that thoroughly. And there's some relevance to the point that it's not entirely clear to me whether his opinion is likely to be challenged and if so how likely the challenge is to succeed.

But, in any case, I don't think it's entirely fair to say that none of the things we'd like to think of as "lies" on the Prop. 8 side were similar sorts of things. Nor that it's fair to assume that all the people who voted for it were swayed by believing the ones that are demonstrably lies.

#155 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 09:58 PM:

Brooks @154:

I hope the AG is right, but it's pretty clear that he was against Prop. 8, and may be looking for the most favorable-to-same-sex-couples interpretation possible.

#156 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 10:12 PM:

will shetterly, by the power vested in me by the vast international homosexual conspiracy, I hereby grant you permission to stay married without guilt. No more getting married though. You don't get to be a bigamist until I get to be a monogamist. As Shakespeare said,

I say we shall have no mo* marriages. Those that are married already, all but one shall live.
Let me add that that one is not you.

Brooks, it does SAY that only marriages between a man and a woman will be "recognized" in the state of California. So the marriages may exist, but the state won't recognize them (say, on income tax forms). I'm not sure the state AG is correct; certainly the fucking...the Prop 8 proponents intended that it should nullify the existing marriages, and will probably sue to establish that meaning.

*Not, as the pro-Prop 8 crowd had it, "I say we shall have no 'mo marriages," which would bring Shakespeare's authority to their position.

#157 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 10:28 PM:

Xopher, there are a couple of female missionaries (or 'Mormonaries') living in my apt building. There used to be a couple of guys, in a different wing, but they moved out earlier this year.

It's hard for me to get mad at Mormons as individuals, but as a church, they have a lot to answer for. It helps that the ones I know are pretty much non-conforming. (Also, all the really good genealogy software comes from Utah.)

#158 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 10:30 PM:

joann @148- I live in the opposite kind of capital city: big state government, tiny state college. The tiny college is on a thousand acres of prime forest land, protected by, first, being in natural area preserve* status, and second, having a faculty, staff, students and alumni as rabid about keeping the land in natural status as any group anywhere. People frequently try to shut Evergreen down, and while the crazy lefty slant of the college is always the stated purpose, the existance of great big hugely valuable doug fir trees is not irrelevant. If the land was under DNR (this state's equivalent of the NFS and BLM on a national level) it's likely that most of the campus would have been surplussed or at least logged in the past four years.

It really matters what the state constitution or university charter say the college lands are for; the DNR manages state property "for the benefit of the state school system," and up until this last Commissioner it was assumed that urban and suburban open spaces had intrinsic educational purposes. If the UT charter gives it the lands for "the benefit of the college" then the administration has a much freer hand in disposing of them for development than if they're granted (as is the case in land grant universities) "for use in the furtherance of agriculture, forestry, engineering, and mining."

*this is a term of art with a specific legal definition that I am abusing because I can't remember right now if it's an NAP or an RNA or possibly something else.

#159 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2008, 11:54 PM:

Xopher, tell the vast international homosexual conspiracy that I'm grateful--it is much kinder than we deserve.

I've just started looking into what Arizonans can do. I did see that the ACLU is working on California. This setback may only be what's needed to rally good people to win.

#160 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2008, 01:31 AM:

Xopher @156, on "The Prop 8 proponents intended that it should nullify the existing marriages, and will probably sue to establish that meaning.": This is one of the places where I suspect the Attorney General may have important understanding that I don't. In particular, whether there are legal precedents that say that the state can't retract its own things like that, and also who would have standing to produce such a lawsuit. My naive guess is that for things like claiming income-tax status, his office would be the only one with standing to make that suit.

Still, yeah, it's a worrying thing.

(Also, as a random query/worry: If California doesn't recognize them as married -- which does not per se annul the marriage -- does that affect whether or not Massachusetts (say) recognizes it? And, assuming Massachusetts would recognize the marriage, will California still provide them with copies of their marriage certificate to prove it? This could get deeply legally strange.)

#161 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2008, 03:38 AM:

Ugh. This gay marriage is tearing me up inside. I'm so angry all the time. I should be happy but this stupid Fcksing ignornance is getting me angry all the people who keep bringing up the same stupid fcksing arguments.

Here's a really serious problem with it: two people who I... mostly respect? Used to respect? Keep making arguments against gay marriage. Arg! They both say civil unions are ok, blah blah blah, but no gay marriage. And so I just fume here, angry, wishing there was some way I could explain it to them, some way they would finally SEE. I don't want to end our friendship.

Here's a serious question: if someone argues that there should be separate institutions for different groups, is it Ok to bring up Jim Crow? Because that's what I think of first, but some people feel it's needlessly incendiary.

I haven't gotten to sleep at a decent time in weeks. I never IMAGINED that this would happen with an Obama victory. I didn't prepare myself.

#162 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2008, 06:37 AM:

Serge, I'm sorry. In the future I'm keeping my judgments as to the appropriateness of some of the anger to myself. Nonetheless, I'm going to vote for the Republican in the next Maryland gubernatorial race, assuming we don't manage to unseat O'Malley in the primary, because what this state doesn't need is someone who is going to keep pushing regressive tax increases. I had several weeks of people telling me that I had to vote against Obama because of his abortion stance, regardless of any other issue. I voted for him anyway. Political life requires a lot of casuistry in this conflicted era.

And here's another curious poll, taken in a bunch of swing districts.

#163 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2008, 06:58 AM:

On second thought, abi, you can just delete my last post.

#165 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2008, 10:44 AM:

Leah 161: Here's a serious question: if someone argues that there should be separate institutions for different groups, is it Ok to bring up Jim Crow? Because that's what I think of first, but some people feel it's needlessly incendiary.

I'd say it's needfully incendiary. But if you're worried about it you can bring it up obliquely by saying "Separate is never equal. That was settled by Brown v. Board of Education."

And these friends of they make any arguments that don't amount to "keep the n*****s out" or "I want the government to establish my religion as definer of marriage"? If so, what? (I'm curious, because I've never heard any.) If not...why exactly do you want to be friends with these people?

#166 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2008, 10:47 AM:

What's I hear that the Democratic Caucus is considering stripping Joe Lieberman from his Homeland Security chair? Those mean, spiteful Dems!

#167 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2008, 10:54 AM:

Xopher @ 156
I suspect the California AG has a pretty good understanding of how things work, seeing as he was governor for eight years, and mayor of Oakland after that. (This is, I have to say, not the usual political career. But he isn't the usual politician, either.)

#168 ::: Seth Breidbart ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2008, 10:59 AM:

If existing marriages are nullified, who pays alimony, child support, etc.?

I nominate the Mormon Church and other Prop Hate supporters.

#169 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2008, 11:05 AM:

P J 167: I hope you're right, and he is. But I guess I'm still hoping for the whole thing to be killed in the courts, and maybe if it WOULD nullify existing marriages that would be a helpful argument to kill the whole thing.

IANAL, NBALS. I'm just speculating.

#170 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2008, 11:21 AM:

I like Patrick's Particle about Obama being a giant nerd, what with the latter saying that, contrary to rumors, he wasn't born in a manger, but was sent to Earth by his father, Jor-El.

Live as one of them, Kal-El, to discover where your strength and your power are needed. Always hold in your heart the pride of your special heritage. They can be a great people, Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you... my only son.
#171 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2008, 12:44 PM:

JESR #158:

UT is a land-grant school, but this particular slice of land was a later donation from a private individual. Which makes its status ... i don't know.

#172 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2008, 12:57 PM:

Leah, what Xopher said @165, except for the part about friends with unfortunate opinions--we contain multitudes, and some very good people have some very odd notions, and if you exclude them, they're less likely to change their minds.

You could ask what they thought of the state offering civil unions exclusively--if it's good enough for gay people, it should be good enough for the non-gay too, right?

#173 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2008, 02:32 PM:

Xopher @ 165 and Will Shetterly @ 172

Someone else raised the premise that the state no longer issue anything but civil unions and then respective churches choose whether or not to "marry" someone. He agreed that that would be ideal.

As for the rest of his argument... I'll try to present a summary. I'm not sure if I'm getting his gist 100% here,

I think for him it's rather like what happened in France to Muslim children in school - the whole "you can't wear hats, so you'll have to remove your head coverings" scandal they had there. He sees his freedom of culture and religion being legislated away, which is, to him, "totalitarian" (his word). He feels that it is someone trying to make him change an aspect of his culture and religion by force.

He isn't arguing back and forth, really, so I can't get much out of him. I tried back with the "but you are forcing me to change an aspect of my religion," and church and state and separate but equal things, but he doesn't like conflict... so I don't know if he'll be back to continue the argument/discussion.

It's frustrating when people support the "get the government out of marriage altogether, have everything be civil unions" bit. Because I know that'll never happen, and they'll never actually campaign for it. And yet they'll still stand in the way of real equality. It just makes me sad and tired.

This whole debate is getting to me. I'm actually worried that politics is going to damage my health... I went to bed angry last night and couldn't sleep, and slept through my alarm this morning. I spend hours every day arguing it on the internet. I may need to do something about that before I make myself sick.

#174 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2008, 03:00 PM:

Xopher @169:

IANAL, either. However, the people filing to kill it in the courts (who are lawyers, of course) are very carefully separating the issues of "what happens to existing marriages" and "is this a constitutional revision, which cannot be enacted by initiative?". There's a faint whiff of Proof by Blatant Assertion in the statement in the petition of the latter that existing marriages are unaffected, but I think separating the two issues is a wise move -- no point in ending up aiding the cause of invalidating existing marriages just because the argument that all of Prop 8 is invalid doesn't pan out. This is where part of the original state Supreme Court ruling that didn't initially get a lot of attention -- the statement that laws discriminating against gays and lesbians are subject to strict scrutiny, the highest standard -- may become highly relevant, since it gives greater weight to the analogies made in the petition to distinctions based on race or gender not being enactable by initiative.

#175 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2008, 03:24 PM:

Leah, take an internet break. I used to think the net was a place for reason. Now I think it's only a place for research and for finding likeminded people. The second can be great when you need validation—but too often, what's being validated are fears and prejudices.

#176 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2008, 11:16 PM:

Leah, I actually agree with will. If not a total break from the 'net, a break from those areas where you're having stress. Get some sleep, some calm days, and then see if you still want to argue it.

#177 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2008, 01:13 AM:

Dave Reichert has won the congressional election in WA8, beating Darcy Burner 51-49%.


#178 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2008, 01:13 AM:

Dave Reichert has won the congressional election in WA8, beating Darcy Burner 51-49%.


#179 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2008, 07:08 PM:

will shetterly @ 152

I think the opposition here was overconfident because we defeated the same proposal in the last election.

That could be; bet if an initiative to rescind Prop 8 were on the ballot in the next election no-one would be overconfident, and activism would be strong enough it might pass. Here in Oregon we got used to seeing an anti-gay initiative in every election, and there were enough votes for the first one that we all got frightened that it would pass eventually; the organized political effort in favor of gay rights became vocal and active enough to overcome the money that was being brought in from out of state to sponsor the initiatives.

Which brings up an important point: the anti-gay agenda is not coming up from the grassroots; it's a carefully-planned and well-funded national movement that targets individual states, especially those with a ballot initiative system, because it's easier to change a state constition than to change the US Constitution. I think one thing that helped win a lot of voters away from the initiatives here was the question, "Do you really want a bunch of rich politicians coming into your state and telling you how to run it?"

No offense to anyone here intended, but the actual argument inserted "California" between "rich" and "politicians". It's always a good idea to make your bete noir concrete, and the migration of real-estate-rich Californians into Oregon has ticked a lot of people up here off. Oregonians feel like they're the poor step-sister who never gets to the ball.

#180 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2008, 07:29 PM:

Bruce (StM): The question, and I've seen it argued both ways, is does removing an amendment count as a revision?

If so, the process gets a lot harder, because to keep the status quo only means holding onto 34 percent of the voting public.

That's a tough row to hoe.

#181 ::: Lisa Padol ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2008, 02:46 PM:

Unsurprisingly, I think Harold Feld is spot on his analysis here. (That is, he may or may not be spot on, but my biases are such that it is hardly surprising that I think he is.)

#182 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2008, 05:53 PM:

Sigh. I've heard it argued that No On 8 should have spent more time showing pictures of happy gay and lesbian couples, and I've also heard it argued that No On 8 should have spend less time showing pictures of happy gay and lesbian couples. I'm not a Californian, so I don't have a sense of what the media market was like in the months leading up to the election, but from doing a bit of phone-banking for Prop 8, it seemed to me like they were strongly focusing on the rights argument and they really didn't want the focus to be on couples. Either way, though, I'm uncomfortable hearing people beat themselves and each other up over this loss, a lot of which arguments, even from nominal supporters, seem to boil down to assertions of the form, "What You People Don't Understand Is..." It's hurtful and divisive and I want it to stop.

(I wish I could have done more phone-banking. It turned out to interact poorly with my depression. :/ I donated what I could, but it wasn't enough.)

I think I agree with Harold Feld's contention that we shouldn't take our rights for granted, but I read him as implicitly saying that it's wrong for us to take our rights for granted. It may be misguided of us, and understanding those who oppose us better would no doubt help us make our case to them, but I don't think we're wrong to think that these rights should be self-evident. That they're not self evident to everyone is not somehow our fault, though changing their opinion is our problem.

If we stop pointing fingers at each other, how do we persuade people against gay marriage that it's not... well, icky?

#183 ::: Spam deleted ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 08:49 AM:

[Spam from]

#184 ::: Serge sees more pharmaceutical spam ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 09:05 AM:

The sweet pill that makes life bitter...

#185 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 09:19 AM:

That would be dark chocolate M&M's.

D'oh, I thought you said "better". heh.

#186 ::: Spammer ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 06:14 PM:

[Spam from]

#187 ::: P J Evans sees another piece of spam ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 06:22 PM:

Extremely persistent little #$^&*s, aren't they?

#188 ::: David Goldfarb notes some spam that slipped through the net ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 05:38 AM:

#183 above remains, when later spams have been zapped.

#189 ::: SpeakerToManagers sees 12-step spam ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2009, 11:21 AM:

#190 and #192 are spam, and they didn't even have the decency to apologize for the double post.

#190 ::: johnofjack ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 11:14 PM:

Nothing witty is occurring to me, but maybe I can exorcise this spam ghost by posting after it.

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