Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.

Freedom's Fidelity

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Angry Gays and Marriage

Arthur Sibler has some scathing comments for John Kerry's stance on gay marriage, the offending remarks:
Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, the front-runner for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, said last week: "I believe and have fought for the principle that we should protect the fundamental rights of gay and lesbian couples - from inheritance to health benefits. I believe the right answer is civil unions. I oppose gay marriage and disagree with the Massachusetts court's decision."
and Sibler's scathing response:
If Kerry believes in "the fundamental rights of gay and lesbian couples," then exactly why does he "oppose gay marriage"? Because of the name? Because of the label? Because it might make him appear to be too friendly with all those queers and faggots? Because it might cost him some votes?

I will be blunt: I'm sick of this shit. The answer to Mr. Kerry, and to any other Democrat who uses this evasive ploy, was contained in the Massachusetts decision that Kerry disagrees with (which I first excerpted here):

Go read the whole thing, the answer is quite devastating for those that seek this half position of a non-ban ban.

In a poll that Sibler links to the legalization of gay marriage is opposed by a 2-1 margin in the U.S. Interestingly enough, though 49% also opposed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Sibler thinks that will make this a tricky election issue. I disagree. Assuming Bush doesn't come out for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage (and he won't) both candidates will continue to play the middle ground. Neither will outright support a constitutional ban, but both will qualify their stance with something along the lines of "Marriage, by definition, is between a man and woman" and then go on to talk about how they believe in equal rights for all people.

Don't look for a courageous stand by either candidate as both risk alienating a not insignificant core of their base. For the Republicans it is the religious right, and for the Democrats it is blacks and organized labor that are traditionally unsympathetic to gay issues.

All that said, the outlook for legalized gay marriage is bright. A constitutional amendment specifically supporting gay marriage is not necessary, or appropriate, as it is likely will be found already there. Which, incidentally, is probably why those that oppose gay marriage feel they need an amendment banning it. But the decision should be left to the states, that's what's nice about living in a federal system. If one state offers something more appealing you are free to go there. This has the nice effect of keeping states honest. That is, if one state's moral or tax laws become overbearing or offensive, one can simply relocate to one that is more congenial. Not everyone who likes life in Chicago would feel the same about Utah. And as much as some in Utah would like to impose their values on Illinois there is absolutely no reason to do so when both can be had.

With so many states forbidding gay marriage it is healthy to have a few in the union that don't. That is why the Massachusetts decision should be seen as a good thing. However, it would be wrong to allow a decision made by a few justices in Massachusetts to be imposed upon the other 49 members of the union. States should maintain the right to decide for themselves whether or not they want to recognize gay marriage, whether that be through legislative or judiciary channels. Without major public support for the effort though, trying to impose legalized same sex marriage on the country wholesale would risk the backlash of a constitutional amendment specifically outlawing it. Given that support for gay marriage among young people is high, the Massachusetts experiment could go a long way towards showing the rest of the country that the fabric of society won't tatter because gays can now be formally recognized for being in a committed monogamous relationship. If within 20 years gay marriage is not a widely accepted practice in the United States I would be awfully surprised.

Now, as to why homosexuals would want to become part of a failing heterosexual institution and allow a bunch of divorce lawyers into their collective pockets is quite another thing, but hey, that's their decision.


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