Still

one of the best pictures of our times.

Del Martin & Phyllis Lyon, 2-12-04

Congratulations (again)!

(South Africa, Netherlands, Canada, Spain, Belgium (not found), Norway & Sweden?)

68 Responses to “Still”


  • Plover, you clearly hate freedom by endorsing the freedom of all people to be free.

    For reasons even I don’t know, I dipped my toe into the comments about this on Hot Air’s Web site (which Tbogg linked to). Amid the usual OMG THEY’LL START MARRYING THEIR DOGS idiocy, there was something more disturbing: that “the will of the people” had been overturned by a bunch of fancy schmancy judges. As if you can put anything, no matter how wrong, up for a vote and make it stick if you get enough people to lift their knuckles off the ground and vote. They miss the whole point of a judicial branch in the first place.

    That is a great picture and I hope this ruling sticks.

  • States’ rights, b!tches!

  • I LOVE MAKING GAY PEOPLE HAPPY

  • Massachusetts and California are the real swing states. Welcome to the club, CA.

  • I am gonna send in a turd if they get the anti Prop on the ballot. Huzzah to us! I wish the vote were 7-0 and not 4-3. Has anyone read the dissent?

    I’ll see your BUBBLE TEA and raise you :{ MUSTACHE

  • They tried that in MA, Pinko. The people sent that idea away on a big ol’ failboat.

    I see your mustache and raise you a =|;) TOP HAT

  • I wish I could remember who came up with the great line about the radical gay agenda of marriage, kids, and a house in the suburbs.

  • That is a wonderful picture! Hip Hip Horay for California!

    I have to say, even though it will upset PP, marriage is a religious institution and shouldn’t be recognized by the State. Civil unions should be the only government recognized unions for both same sex and opposite sex couples. New Zealand recognizes Civil Unions (but not gay marriage) and has an otherwise progressive stance on adoption, immigration, etc. Many other countries have similar rules (although suprisingly this type of legislation failed in Aussie recently). I can only guess that these types of distinctions are made to avoid conflicting with people’s individual religious beliefs (ie throw the wingers a bone). I can’t understand why the State should recognize the religious beliefs of some faiths (that don’t allow same-sex marriage) and not others (that do permit same-sex marriage). Therefore, State recognition of marriage seems unfair. I appreciate that it’s a bigger battle, and perhaps one left unfought for the time being.

  • It’s not about marriage, it’s about equality and respect.

    From Glenn Greenwald:

    The crux of the Court’s ruling is grounded in what it called “the right of two adults who share a loving relationship to join together to establish an officially recognized family of their own — and, if the couple chooses, to raise children within that family.” That right “constitutes a vitally important attribute of the fundamental interest in liberty and personal autonomy that the California Constitution secures to all persons.” The Court rejected a “separate-but-equal” arrangement for same-sex and opposite-sex couples — where only the latter can enter into “marriage” — because:

    affording same-sex couples only a separate and differently named family relationship will, as a realistic matter, impose appreciable harm on same-sex couples and their children, because denying such couples access to the familiar and highly favored designation of marriage is likely to cast doubt on whether the official family relationship of same sex couples enjoys dignity equal to that of of opposite-sex couples, [. . . and] assigning a different designation for the family relationship of same sex couples . . . poses at least a serious risk of denying the family relationship of same-sex couples such equal dignity and respect.

    He goes on to describe the effect of the ruling:

    The Court did not rule that California must allow same-sex couples the right to enter into “marriage.” It merely ruled that if the state allows opposite-sex couples to do so, then same-sex couples must be treated equally. The Court explicitly left open the possibility that the state could distinguish between “marriage” (as a religious institution) and “civil unions” (as a secular institution) — i.e., that California law could leave the definition of “marriage” to religious institutions and only offer and recognize “civil unions” for legal purposes — provided that it treated opposite-sex and same-sex couples equally. The key legal issue is equal treatment by the State as a secular matter, not defining “marriage” for religious purposes.

    It’s not really anything intrinsic to marriage as such that makes this important. There are any number of criticisms one can make of marriage as an institution as practiced in our (and most likely every other) society. The point is that we live in a society that structures certain aspects of life around certain institutions and thus what dignity and legitimacy derives from those institutions on a legal and public level should be available to all. If that goal can be accomplished by “getting the state out of the marriage business” and declaring everything a civil union then great, if it can’t, then we’re stuck with marriage. The point is social justice, not the particular formalism under which it is realized.

    A secular state, of course, could never force any religion to recognize same-sex marriages in a spiritual sense without destroying religious freedom. The question is whether “marriage” as a practical and linguistic reality functions as or can be treated effectively as a solely religious concept. That the distinction is possible to make between what the state does and what religion does as regards formal social acknowledgment of relationships does not mean that reserving the word “marriage” for religious use will not create a meaningful stigma and “cast doubt on whether the official family relationship of same sex couples enjoys dignity equal to that of of opposite-sex couples”.

    I don’t have an answer for which path should be pursued as I expect it to be different in different places. Ironically, the heavily religious nature of America probably makes it harder to destigmatize the semantic distinction you are apparently arguing for.

  • Pinko:

    This post has some info on the dissents.

  • “It’s not about marriage, it’s about equality and respect.”

    I agree totally.

    What is the difference between marriage and a civil union? The only thing that I can think of is tradition and sanctioning by a religious authority……

  • Plus, if the anti-gay marriage initiative makes the ballot (it probably will) and passes (less certain but probable) isn’t the logical argument that marriage is unconstitutional based on the Court’s ruling?

  • I’d love to see those campaign commercials:

    The backers of Prop 123 want to ban marriage for all Californians! Vote No on Prop 123 and keep the institution of marriage safe for everyone!

  • What you’ve done is define a “civil union” to be marriage without the trappings of tradition and the sanction of a religious authority. It’s a meaningful distinction to make, and for an abstract conversation, the terminology is fine.

    However, under your definitions a same sex-couple who get “married” at a Quaker meeting or a coven or a Reform Synagogue or a UCC parish is “married” in some sense that an opposite-sex atheist couple who get “civil unioned” by a judge is not — but without knowledge of that context, which relationship will be socially referred to as a “marriage” and which as a “civil union”?

    People have been getting married at the courthouse without religious sanction for a long time. Doesn’t mean that they and everyone they knew didn’t think they were “married”. The question is not about the definitions, it’s about how things function on a societal level.

    As I implied before, I’m not necessarily saying that the approach you suggest is wrong, I’m just saying whatever approach is chosen needs to be justified on the basis of lived experience, not on abstract distinctions.

  • Pdoggy, I’m not even sure what we’re arguing about here because everything that you’re writing rings true to me. We both want gay couple to have exactly the same rights as straight couples. We both agree that this whole parallel system of civil unions and marriages is just the same old separate-but-equal baloney. The subtleties are lost on me….

    If this is true I’m extremely happy with the ruling:

    “The Court explicitly left open the possibility that the state could distinguish between “marriage” (as a religious institution) and “civil unions” (as a secular institution) — i.e., that California law could leave the definition of “marriage” to religious institutions and only offer and recognize “civil unions” for legal purposes — provided that it treated opposite-sex and same-sex couples equally. The key legal issue is equal treatment by the State as a secular matter, not defining “marriage” for religious purposes.

    The delicious irony is that the ballot initiative states that: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” Therefore, if it passes, I don’t see how you can come to any other conclusion other than the State cannot recognize marriage at all……leaving Civil Unions as the only option.

    This is an outcome that I actually support (again because I see marriage [especially when it's used to deny others rights] as a religious institution). Not that I would vote for it because its intent is rooted in infinite cobagiosity….

  • marriage is a religious institution and shouldn’t be recognized by the State. Civil unions should be the only government recognized unions for both same sex and opposite sex couples.

    Gregor is at 100% there. Had MA chosen a ‘civil union’ instead, my gf and I were going to demand a civil union instead of a marriage…. But the Commonwealth of MA chose to go the full equality route…. and so I’m still not married.

  • We both want gay couple to have exactly the same rights as straight couples. We both agree that this whole parallel system of civil unions and marriages is just the same old separate-but-equal baloney.

    I agree.

    My impression is that what you want to do is to call what the state does a “civil union” and what the church does a “marriage”. I agree that this terminology solves certain semantic problems. I don’t agree that it deals with the issue of the sociocultural importance of the word “marriage”.

    Why do you see “marriage” as a religious institution? I can point to any number of complete atheists (and at least one theist) who consider the relationship they are in to be a “marriage” despite having had a ceremony at a courthouse and never having received any religious sanction (not that they would want it). Are you going to tell them they’re wrong? How is treating “marriage” as a religious institution not conceding the argument to the anti-secularists?

    The most prevalent current term (in English) for a conjugal relationship fully recognized by a secular state is “marriage”. For historical reasons, it happens to be the same as and derive from the term for a conjugal relationship fully recognized by a religious body. That doesn’t mean the term has a religious meaning when applied by the state. It means that we have stupid arguments when traditionalists (whether religious or not) refuse to distinguish between the two meanings. And it means that there are legacy restrictions on who the state will allow to marry which are incompatible with secular ideals of equality and human dignity.

    We seem to agree that getting rid of those restrictions is the primary issue. Your position appears to be that changing the term for a conjugal relationship fully recognized by a secular state is also important. My response is that changing terminology like that is easier said than done, and even if successful, might serve to reinforce some types of social stigma.

    You appear to be pushing for the change of terminology as if it is a necessity. I’m saying it could be useful if it’s possible, but it may not be practical. The word “marriage” carries a lot of emotional punch for most people, religious or no. Linguistic change is nearly impossible to enforce on people who don’t want it.

    Anyway, that’s what appears to me to be going on. Have I understood your position correctly? I’m sorry if I’ve been obscure or seemed pugnacious. (As opposed to Pinko, who is pugacious. Or perhaps pugose.)

  • Gregor, it is one word for different things. Being “married” in the Catholic Church is different than being “married” in the Mormon church. They use the same word. All “marriages” recognized by the state are both marriages in whatever form they exist religiously AND a union that is recognized as such by the civil authority. A civil union, if you will. Marriage already means a giant list of things. I don’t think it is confusing to have civil marriage and religious marriage. Our tiny brains and the definition of the word can handle multiple meanings, as the word and our brains already do.

    I apologize for being pugose. I believe I entirely agree with plover, but haven’t read the entire thread, I only saw that Gregor was calling me out, and I had to smack that antipodean stuff DOWN.

  • P, this is going to be quick. Late to work…. I’m not worried about your tone and hope that you’re not worried about mine either….

    The distinction between marriage and civil unions has been made by others. My arguments are based on my understanding (rationalization) of the distinction. It would have been a different court case in California if this distinction had not been made. Once that distinction is made by necessity you have to define both terms. If marriage = civil unions why do we have two systems? Personally, I’m happy if you call it marriage or civil unions provided that both straight and gay couples have equal access.

    I appreciate your arguments about atheist couples etc stating that they’re married. But turning it around would you be more likely to say that couples ‘joined’ in a church or temple were married or civil unionized? Would you be more likely to say that a couple joined in a civil ceremony in the 50s were married than a couple joined in 2008? Would you be more or less likely to say that an atheist couple joined in a civil union was married or civil unionized?

    To my mind there are distinct religious and traditional implications to the word “marriage.” It’s silly but part of the dilemma is there’s no snappy way of saying civil unionized (‘partner’ is commonly used in NZ for both married and civil unionized couples) otherwise I suspect it might be more widely used.

    What do you see as the distinction between civil unions and marriage?

    As I stated at the outset: “I appreciate that it’s a bigger battle, and perhaps one left unfought for the time being.”

  • 1) A long time ago religious communities started blessing conjugal relationships regarded as official by the religious community. Call this process A.

    2) A shorter time ago, the secular state showed up and started certifying conjugal relationships regarded as official by the state. Call this process B.

    3) While most people living in those secular states would go through processes A and B simultaneously, at some point, the secular state made process B available without reference to whether the couple cared about process A.

    4) Most recently, some people have been saying, “Hey, there are these weird restrictions on process B that are holdovers from certain forms of process A, let’s get rid of them!”

    5) Process A has always been called “marriage”. Process B — whether or not accompanied by process A — has, since its inception, been called “marriage”.

    6) Process B with archaic restriction removed is still process B, just with archaic restrictions removed. Why do we necessarily need a different term for process B with archaic restrictions removed than we had for process B without archaic restrictions removed?

    7) Maybe it would be useful to have different words for process A and process B, but it is a separate issue from removing the archaic restrictions.

    8) It is possible that promulgating different words for process A and process B might facilitate removing the archaic restrictions. It is also possible that it would hinder removing those restrictions.

  • We don’t except that the law in California (and other States/Countries) makes a distinction between the two.

    Like it or not this is a distinction that already has been made not only by me but also by society and the law. You can quibble about the difference between the two terms but cannot pretend that the distinction doesn’t exist. My point isn’t that I’m upset by the traditional/religious origins of the word “marriage.” As I said earlier if marriage is available to EVERYONE then I’m happy. The point is that a distinction has been made and continues to be made BASED on the religious/moral/traditional origins of “marriage.” So what to do? 1) make marriage available to all – I’m happy; 2) acknowledge that marriage is a concept rooted in religious and traditional biases and as such the State has no business recognizing marriage and instead should only recognize civil unions – I’m happy; or 3) make both marriages and civil unions equally available to all – I don’t see the point of having two different kinds of partnership unless they carry different obligations and rights under the law – nevertheless I’m happy.

    California Supreme Court ruled in favour of Option 3 but if the ballot initiative passes you’ll end up in the Option 2 situation.

  • Like it or not this is a distinction that already has been made not only by me but also by society and the law. You can quibble about the difference between the two terms but cannot pretend that the distinction doesn’t exist.

    Where have I pretended the distinction doesn’t exist? I’ve been making the argument that the distinction, in effect, long predates attempts to legalize same-sex marriages.

    The terminological distinction, when established as a legal distinction, has, for the most part, existed to support the separate-but-equal nonsense you yourself complained about.

    What your choices 1, 2, and 3 seem to say is that the terminological distinction, if it is perpetuated, must be legally meaningless to the institutions of the secular state — that is all partnerships must be treated equally.

    The California Supreme Court did not make choice 3. The Greenwald quote that you took from one of my earlier comments indicates they said that choosing 1, 2, or 3 is a political question, but the result must treat all partnerships equally.

    And from an abstract standpoint, I agree that any of 1, 2, or 3 is fine, though I don’t see the point of 3 either. As far as I can tell at this point, we agree on the strictly legal issue.

    The thing is that there is an issue of how the legal formulation effects equality on a social level. That is alluded to in the quote Greenwald took from the decision:

    affording same-sex couples only a separate and differently named family relationship will, as a realistic matter, impose appreciable harm on same-sex couples and their children, because denying such couples access to the familiar and highly favored designation of marriage is likely to cast doubt on whether the official family relationship of same sex couples enjoys dignity equal to that of of opposite-sex couples, [. . . and] assigning a different designation for the family relationship of same sex couples . . . poses at least a serious risk of denying the family relationship of same-sex couples such equal dignity and respect.

    There is a possibility that calling what the state does “civil unions” may have social effects by creating an artificial distinction between that and the “familiar and highly favored designation of marriage”.

    Equality under the law isn’t just a matter of the law declaring people to have equal standing, it must also be implemented in such a way as to minimize the creation of distinctions that have nothing to do with the law.

    As I’ve said a few times, I don’t know whether the designation “civil union” will have a bad effect, and I suspect it will be different in different countries and probably in different US states. It’s just something to be careful of.

    That’s been my main point all along. That a demand to call the resulting civil partnerships “civil unions” rather than “marriages” may have unintended consequences and needs to be examined carefully.

    This is probably more true in America than in most other Western-style secular states due to the heavier prominence of religion here.

    The ballot initiative in California is a constitutional initiative not a statutory initiative. That is, it would amend the California state constitution. This court decision does not effect it, and would need to be reinterpreted in light of it.

  • Where have I pretended the distinction doesn’t exist? I’ve been making the argument the distinction in effect long predates attempts to legalize same-sex marriages.

    Maybe I misinterpreted your use of examples indicating that the distinction was sufficiently muddied or not well established/accepted.

    What your choices 1, 2, and 3 seem to say is that terminological distinction, if it is perpetuated, must be legally meaningless to the institutions of the secular state — that is all partnerships must be treated equally.

    This is what in essence the California Supreme Court found.

    The California Supreme Court did not make choice 3. The Greenwald quote that you took from one of my earlier comments indicates they said that choosing 1, 2, or 3 is a political question, but the result must treat all partnerships equally.
    In effect it did by not invalidating the civil union laws. In 30 days both civil unions and marriage will be available to all.

    As I’ve said a few times, I don’t know whether the designation “civil union” will have a bad effect, and I suspect it will be different in different countries and probably in different US states. It’s just something to be careful of.
    That’s been my main point all along. That a demand to call the resulting civil partnerships “civil unions” rather than “marriages” may have unintended consequences and needs to be examined carefully.

    I don’t disagree with you. I believe that civil unions were established by people whose hearts were in the right place….most likely as a stop-gap measure until society caught up. Now they’re being used as an excuse to discriminate. But it is not the State recognition of civil unions that is causing the problem it is State recognition of marriage. You don’t hear people clamouring on about how allowing homosexual civil unions degrade their heterosexual civil union do you? It’s because the concept of “marriage” is rooted in religion and tradition and is being exploited as a venue for discrimination. If we want to use the word “marriage” as secular euphemism for civil unions that’s fine but the State’s use of that word also has to be secular. This of course wouldn’t stop the use of the word marriage in the secular or non-secular sense outside of the law.

    If you agree that there is a distinction between “marriage” and “civil unions”, and in the abstract at least you agree with my interpretation of the distinction, then it seems difficult to support recognition of marriage (a religious rite recognized as a legally binding union) by the State.

    The terminological distinction, when established as a legal distinction, has, for the most part, existed to support the separate-but-equal nonsense you yourself complained about.

    Agreed so let’s get rid of it by stating that civil unions = marriage in the eyes of the Law. Or by replacing civil unions with marriage or vice versa.

    This is probably more true in America than in most other Western-style secular states due to the heavier prominence of religion here.

    Ironically, I think that religion plays a larger role in the State in most other countries. It’s just that religion plays a smaller role in society in those countries.

    The ballot initiative in California is a constitutional initiative not a statutory initiative. That is, it would amend the California state constitution. This court decision does not effect it, and would need to be reinterpreted in light of it.

    Granted I’m not a lawyer but it seems that the ruling states that the State cannot grant/recognise rights to straight couples that it doesn’t grant to same-sex couples. Therefore, if the definition of marriage is changed constitutionally to be only between opposite sex couples then it seems that the State cannot recognize marriage. I don’t see how the initiative, whether it be a Constitutional amendment or not, would invalidate this ruling because it doesn’t address the basis of the ruling. The initiative would have to be re-written to also specifically allow discrimination based on sexual preference. Otherwise to my mind, State recognition of marriage becomes illegal.

    Equality under the law isn’t just a matter of the law declaring people to have equal standing, it must also be implemented in such a way as to minimize the creation of distinctions that have nothing to do with the law.

    So how do you do this? It seems the only way to do this is by eliminating the dual paths of marriage and civil unions. Retain one and make it secular. If people want to impart an additional non-secular aspect to their union then that’s their business.

  • The Constitutional change would override the courts decision. I’m not clear how the court can deal with possibly contradictory amendments. It is likely that if the state constitution is changed the court need not address the laws via the equal protection clause. The courts ruling had to allow both civil unions and marriage, even though there should be no difference between the two. The court ruled that gays could not be excluded by the one law, also suggesting that others couldn’t be excluded from the civil union law, so the remedy for one created dual partnership recognition machinery by the state, when in reality civil unions were only created as a remedy for the marriage situation. The Court couldn’t take the civil unions statute off the books, they merely applied the same remedy they applied to the unconstitutional marriage statute. The civil union law needs to be taken off the books as redundant. The term marriage as recognized by the state need not have any religious significance whatsoever, therefore it is not irrevocably tied to religion.

    Essentially all marriages already have a secular component, the fact that they have to register to be married in whatever way they choose, should they wish their union to be recognized by the state. I’m not sure what is missing here, G. If one does not wish to have their union recognized by the state, they don’t apply for a marriage license. If you want, I can make them add the word “civil” to the license, except it’s basically implied as you are registered with your local government. There is not need to play word games I think.

  • The Constitutional change would override the courts decision.

    The basis of the proposed ammendment has no relationship to the Court’s ruling. The ammendment states that“Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” The court found that the State had to offer the right to marriage and civil unions equally to everyone. It did not state that the State had to offer recognition of marriage or civil unions. Therefore, if the Constitution is ammended as proposed what happens? If the State recognizes gay marriage then it’s violating the constitution. If the State offers marriage only to heterosexual couples the court has already found that’s against the law (and the proposed ammendment does nothing to change this). So what’s the solution?
    ………Civil Unions become the only viable way for the State to recognise partnerships.

    If the ammendment stated that “The State of California shall recognise marriage. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” Then this ammendment would do exactly what the author’s intend it to do….allow the State to discriminate against gay couples.

  • Regarding “word games” I think that this is an important and necesarry consideration because these “word games” are already in play. It’s these “word games” that allow people to say that homosexual couples have the same rights as heterosexual couples because we allow homosexual couples civil unions. As Plover has pointed out it’s these “word games” that allow the prefferable term marriage to be used (in a legal sense) by straight couples and not gay couples, without consideration of the importance or weight that society puts on “marriage” versus “civil union.”

    It’s exactly this that pisses me off about current concept of “marriage” and makes me think that the State has no business in recognising “marriage.” Marriage has become a vehicle for discrimination/intolerance and civil unions have become a vehicle for inclusion/tolerance. So yes I think that it’s important to understand and think about the difference in these terms. I think that it’s important to undersand how these differences arose. And when we’re finally smart enough to stop playing games with these words I’ll be happy if you call it marriage or civil unions.

  • I think the way to combat the word games is to not play them. I think thew way to combat it is that marriage already has a million, trillion meanings. It just drives me crazy. Capt. Joblonsky marries you down at the beach by dumping a pitcher of margs on your head and doing some sort of crazy dance is still a “marriage.” Civil marriage and religious marriage are already different. I do not cede the field to the intolerant assholes. I do not let them create this fallacious argument. They don’t own the term. And they haven’t since you could get married down at city hall by a servant of the city.

  • I’m not sure what to say at this point as I can’t tell what you think my position is. You seem to be saying things I agree with as if they were arguments against what I’ve been saying.

    I don’t know for sure if Pinko’s position and mine are the same (though AFAICT he hasn’t said anything incompatible with mine yet), but I have no recollection of anything from your apparent previous argument with Pinko on this (or even any recollection of knowing about it), so nothing I’ve said refers to any of that.

    My comment for May 18 @ 2:27pm is a restatement of my position from scratch, not a response to the question “What do you see as the distinction between civil unions and marriage?” from your previous comment. I didn’t make that clear at the time.

    In effect it did by not invalidating the civil union laws. In 30 days both civil unions and marriage will be available to all.

    Yes, this is practical effect of the court decision. However it is not what the court did. My impression is that this is a meaningful distinction to insist on when talking about a legal decision.

    Also, California has “domestic partnerships” rather than “civil unions”, a term which doesn’t usually even pretend to be separate-but-equal. Though in CA, IIRC, I think it ends up more or less functioning that way.

    You don’t hear people clamouring on about how allowing homosexual civil unions degrade their heterosexual civil union do you? It’s because the concept of “marriage” is rooted in religion and tradition and is being exploited as a venue for discrimination.

    The fundies won’t be happy as long as an LGBT person can hold up their head in public without getting stoned. It won’t matter what you call it, they’ll complain.

    (And “clamouring”? Any minute now you’ll start in on “honour” and “colour”, then it’ll be “tyres”, “kerbs”, “chequers”, and (shudder) “aluminium”. It’s a slippery slope.)

    Ironically, I think that religion plays a larger role in the State in most other countries. It’s just that religion plays a smaller role in society in those countries.

    My impression is that this is true. And I was referring to the role religion plays in society, if that was unclear.

    So how do you do this? It seems the only way to do this is by eliminating the dual paths of marriage and civil unions. Retain one and make it secular. If people want to impart an additional non-secular aspect to their union then that’s their business.

    This is what I’ve been saying all along.

    My (and I think Pinko’s) point is that until people started proposing separate-but-equal second-class-citizen solutions to deal with same-sex relationships, there was one path, and it was secular, and if people wanted to impart an additional non-secular aspect to their union then that was their business. This became true the moment you could get married by a judge.

    * And it was always called marriage. *

    Just get rid of the archaic restrictions on marriage.

    Is a new designation for the secular component of marriage helpful for that? I don’t know. My guess is “probably not” (at least in America). Yours is apparently “yes”. One thing I’m pretty sure of is that basing the answer on fundie yammering is a bad idea.

    Our society is already full of marriages that the fundies don’t think are “real”. Heck, some women don’t even obey their husbands. Fighting the fundies is hard enough without our side giving their arguments more credence than necessary.

    Do we need designations other than marriage to deal with the myriad relationships human beings come up with? Quite likely. The whole system is archaic. But that’s a separate question as to whether same-sex couples can be married.

    The secular vs religious partnership issue was solved long ago.

  • As I said at the outset… I think that we’re in agreement on just about everything. It’s just that you and Pinko are to dense to realise it!

    The spelling is difficult. I’ve just about got the hang of NZ spelling and going back is getting harder by the day….realise, minimise, recognise, furore (my personal favourite!)kerb (blew my mind for a while – during my first weeks on the job I edited several drawings that were replete with “kerbs” thinking to myself this draughter doesn’t know how to spell) but the spelling pales in comparison to the usage.

  • Kerb is the worst- it is like- that’s not even a werd.

  • O ye of little snorkel:

    “Kerb is the wurst”

    There. Fixed.

    *

    Kerbwurst — Made from the finest grade marmot intestines and dry-aged concrete. Available at your local Snagporium International and other unlicensed importers.

  • Late to the prom on this one, or should I say civil school dance?

    Plover said:
    My (and I think Pinko’s) point is that until people started proposing separate-but-equal second-class-citizen solutions to deal with same-sex relationships, there was one path, and it was secular, and if people wanted to impart an additional non-secular aspect to their union then that was their business. This became true the moment you could get married by a judge.

    This is the heart of it. GS recognized the problem too, but I think resolves it is a less satisfactory way (to me). Marriage has mostly positive associations in a culture, the word is rich in both emotion and significance. To strip that value away from any group by allowing another group to say “yeah, but they are not this” has the effect of disenfranchising. Put me down on the side of saying all must be marriages, discard the use of the term civil union (or whatever). People will always try to exclude or invalidate, why give them an (artificial) semantic tool to do it with?

  • Fish for the fishwin!

  • It’s nice to think that marriage will be secular one day but it’s not right now. Think about the remedy that the State has offered (Civil Unions) and the rhetoric of the anti-gay marriage wankers. These are based on the non-secular elements of marriage.

    As I’ve stated over and over again if marriage is offered to everyone equally I’m happy. But that’s not the case now.

  • I wish comments were longer over here. No one ever opens up and says what’s on his/her/its mind.

  • the comments over here are so long that this thread’s barber is out on the street.

  • The comments are so long, Gregor is going to change his name to Gregor Samson.

    Kathleen- I’m thinking… wouldn’t a thread merit a tailor instead of a barber?

  • the comments are so long, Dimitri’s Jim the Tailor because Joaquin’s Dimitri’s Jim the Tailor.

    (this is a little insider San Diego humor).

  • The Barber of Civil?

  • the comments are so long, Dimitri’s Jim the Tailor became Joaquin’s Dimitri’s Jim the Tailor.

  • The comments in this thread are so long that even Chuckles is impressed!

  • If this thread were Chuckles it would have one comment for pr0n and two more spams for load volume and that’s it. This thread rocks, Chuckles socks. Socks is a verb

    Hey, Gregor, I’m going to need to add a category for Gregor shenanigans.

    Our society discriminates. A false definition of marriage as being religious is only a symptom of the discrimination. The argument that marriage is solely religious is false.

    We shouldn’t give the assholes the word or the werd. We should give gay people the rights. To declare what we give them to be civil unions even if we gave that to everyone, with no civil marriage whatsoever, we’d just be creating a falsely second class civil institution that would be identical to the currently restricted one performed by our civil authorities. We should also give the haters the finger.

  • The argument that marriage is solely religious is false.

    And I would say the opposite is true too, even under the eyes of the law.

    To declare what we give them to be civil unions even if we gave that to everyone, with no civil marriage whatsoever, we’d just be creating a falsely second class civil institution that would be identical to the currently restricted one performed by our civil authorities.

    It’s hard to understand how it can be a second-class civil institution if that’s all that’s available to everyone. Is it second class because of difference in words used to name the institution? Isn’t that just playing word games?

    Or is it second class because of other meanings that society impart to the word marriage? If so why should that matter under the law? Society and individuals can use whatever word they want to describe their unions.

    We should also give the haters the finger.

    Give them the finger with both hands. On one hand fight to make marriage available to all. On the other hand, if marriage is not available to all, take away State recognition of marriage and substitute civil unions.

  • This comment thread is so long, all the gay couples are renewing their vows.

  • You could call in Union of the Cucumber Soda if you want, but I don’t like lending credence to the argument of the chunermuffins that they can change the definitions of the word marriage to solely mean what they want it to mean. A gay couple can still have a private ceremony on a beach presided by a cool looking rock and call it a marriage, but allowing the logbloglogs to claim that is not a real “marriage” is a bit silly. The adjective “civil” in front of the word marriage is enough to distinguish it. The concept and usage are clear.

    I could forever with this because I want to keep Kathleen going.

  • This comment thread is so long, Peter Jackson bought the movie rights.

  • Huzzah!

  • I don’t like lending credence to the argument of the chunermuffins that they can change the definitions of the word marriage to solely mean what they want it to mean.

    It’s not the chunderhosen that want to change the “definition” of marriage it is us. Historically, marriage has been available to straight couples only. Now we want to include gay couples.

  • but Gregor, when interracial marraige became legal, it didn’t change the definition of marriage. What’s the difference?

  • Of course it changed the definition. Why wasn’t there interracial marriage before? Marriage carries a lot of historical/religious/traditional baggage both in society and under the law. If it didn’t marriage would currently be accessible to everyone.

    It’s quite clear to me and to everyone else on this thread that marriage should be equally accessible to all. It’s also clear that marriage should be a civil institution under the law. The problem is that it isn’t. We should all fight for it to be everything that it should be. Or we should fight to eliminate state recognition of marriage and replace it with some other form of union that doesn’t carry all the baggage that marriage does.

  • I guess it depends on what your definition of “definition” is.

    OH YEAH

  • Yep, the words may have remained the same but the definition/interpretation has changed.

    One approach is a clean slate approach. The other is an evolutionary approach. I’m OK with either approach as long as the objectives are met. I wonder though, in the end, if it wouldn’t be easier to start with a clean slate. It takes away the ability to criticise the law based on non-secular aspects.

  • I guess it depends on what your definition of “definition” is.

    :)

    “The argument that marriage is solely religious is false.”

    And I would say the opposite is true too, even under the eyes of the law.

    Weddings have religious baggage as a ceremony, but how much baggage you bring is your business, and how much baggage you bring has nothing to do with the end result from a legal standpoint, nor, constitutionally, could it.

    It’s not the chunderhosen that want to change the “definition” of marriage it is us. Historically, marriage has been available to straight couples only. Now we want to include gay couples.

    Historically marriage was about patriarchy and/or property. The definition has changed already. Sure, there is a religious definition, but there are non-religious definitions too. In a secular state, the religious don’t get to enforce their definition.

    Once marriage is redefined from a way of getting heirs and controlling women to an expression of love and sharing lives (and property, that doesn’t go away), and once same-sex couples live openly in society, the demand isn’t to change the definition of marriage, it’s to make the law conform to marriage as it’s practiced.

    The chunderhosen want to live in a world where “same-sex marriage” is as nonsensical a phrase as “platypus-photon marriage” is to the rest of us. As a paradigm, their definition lost.

  • I guess it depends on what your definition of “definition” is.
    &
    Once marriage is redefined from a way of getting heirs and controlling women to an expression of love and sharing lives (and property, that doesn’t go away), and once same-sex couples live openly in society, the demand isn’t to change the definition of marriage, it’s to make the law conform to marriage as it’s practiced.

    We can effect the change we want without changing a word in the law. Isn’t this what essentially happened in California? So what does change? It is the scope/definition/interpretation of marriage that has changed.

    … how much baggage you bring has nothing to do with the end result from a legal standpoint, nor, constitutionally, could it.
    &
    In a secular state, the religious don’t get to enforce their definition.

    This is the way it should be but it ain’t. We wouldn’t even be having this debate if it was that way. Unfortunately, civil marriage is a myth. Marriage, even under the law, is wrapped in sink lettucey nastiness of religiously, historically and traditionally inspired bigotry. We should work to change that or find some other way of recognising unions. It’s either the clean slate or the evolution.

  • Civil marriage isn’t really a myth, Gregor. Having witnessed a few myself. The fact that the unions were both of love and of let’s make the visa status a little easier.

    I find that plover’s statement how much baggage you bring has nothing to do with the end result from a legal standpoint, nor, constitutionally, could it.
    &
    In a secular state, the religious don’t get to enforce their definition.
    is true as it relates to legally defining such. This is a minimal definition of marriage and exclusive to how the state would view it. Society in general has several hundreds of differing views about what marriage can mean.

    This statement from Gregor: Unfortunately, civil marriage is a myth. Marriage, even under the law, is wrapped in sink lettucey nastiness of religiously, historically and traditionally inspired bigotry.- this is true with almost every single aspect of our society. I see no reason to single out marriage.

    It really seems in this argument that GS wants to argue against marriage as possibly ever being an acceptable turm for describing how he views unions while at the same time saying he would find the tirm acceptable if allowed to represent an equal status for the unions of all. I think this might explain why we are still arguing.

    My point is if you call it something different it still means marriage in the way people that have come to define marriage for themselves, so allowing the two terms to co-exist would probably cause some people to think of their union as a lesser one as defined by the choads.

  • Oh PP, I wrote a comment so long and engaging that it would have caused multiple peefessionals. However, I’ll spare the rubbish bins of the 3B! empire.

    This whole argument is about practice not theory….the way it is and not the way it should be. We agree on theory and the way it should be. From my perspective your arguments muddle the two and I suspect that the opposite is true too.

  • What Pinko said.

    I admit to not making sufficient distinction between legal definitions and societal definitions in my previous comment.

    We can effect the change we want without changing a word in the law. Isn’t this what essentially happened in California? So what does change? It is the scope/definition/interpretation of marriage that has changed.

    It can be done that way for those who aren’t originalist Scaliamuffins, at least for sufficiently vaguely worded laws.

    And isn’t that what I said? That the legal definition/interpretation/grokking needs to be put in accord with an already functionally existing societal definition?

    “how much baggage you bring has nothing to do with the end result from a legal standpoint, nor, constitutionally, could it.”
    &
    “In a secular state, the religious don’t get to enforce their definition.”

    This is the way it should be but it ain’t.

    The first one is actually true. You don’t end up with a different legal status depending on whether your wedding includes a religious element or not.

    The second one should probably read, “In a secular state, in theory, the majority religion doesn’t get to enforce its definition.” As you and Pinko noted, reality is a bit messier.

  • this comment thread is so long, thanks for all the fish!

  • That the legal definition/interpretation/grokking needs to be put in accord with an already functionally existing societal definition?

    As you’ve noted before society’s definition or marriage is all over the board – from a strict secular/civil interpretation to a full-blown FSM interpretation. In California, for instance, the legal definition is leading the prevailing societal definition. I’m afraid that in most states, probably even in California, the prevailing societal definition of marriage is much more conservative than we’d like it to be.

  • The thing is I think I am arguing about practice and Gregor is arguing about theory, and he thinks the opposite and that both are true. I will just continue to assert that Gregor is somehow wrong and that I am somehow right because I want to milk Kathleen for all she is worth. She is dominating the 3B message boards. You can’t control her. You can only hope to contain her.

  • The thing is I think I am arguing about practice and Gregor is arguing about theory, and he thinks the opposite and that both are true. I will just continue to assert that Gregor is somehow wrong and that I am somehow right because I want to milk Kathleen for all she is worth. She is dominating the 3B message boards. You can’t control her. You can only hope to contain her.

    Also, it does seem that the civil rights movements focused on minority rights do move forward via the courts, so I don’t think it even matters that the majority of people have a religious view of marriage. We already have secular marriage for non-gays, regardless of the majority religious view. We can have secular marriage for gays too.

  • I think that Kathleen is afraid to post in this thread any longer.

  • I think Kathleen took her victory lap about 3 comments ago.

  • I second the above assertions. This thread will die a sad, lonely oblivion of constant restating of positions.

  • As you’ve noted before society’s definition or marriage is all over the board – from a strict secular/civil interpretation to a full-blown FSM interpretation. In California, for instance, the legal definition is leading the prevailing societal definition. I’m afraid that in most states, probably even in California, the prevailing societal definition of marriage is much more conservative than we’d like it to be.

    Apparently, I still haven’t said this right. I think I get how you read my comment, and under that reading, I agree with your response.

    Here’s my original formulation:

    Once marriage is redefined from a way of getting heirs and controlling women to an expression of love and sharing lives (and property, that doesn’t go away), and once same-sex couples live openly in society, the demand isn’t to change the definition of marriage, it’s to make the law conform to marriage as it’s practiced.

    Note that I didn’t say that the legal definition was catching up with the societal definition, I said it was catching up with actual practice.

    To make this a little more explicit:

    Given:

    1. a legal context based on ideals of civil liberties and church/state separation
    2. a legal context in which marriage is the chief (only?) way “next of kin” type rights may be bestowed by one adult on another
    3. a societal context in which marriage is viewed, in its general sense, as the choice of two people to share their lives and publicly proclaim their devotion
    4. a societal context in which same-sex couples are able to openly express devotion and share their lives

    then it makes sense to accord same sex couples the right to participate in the institution of marriage as constituted under the secular state.

    We are used to hearing the phrase “define marriage to be between a man and a woman”, but that is, in effect, not the point. When I say that the fundies’ paradigm has lost, I mean that the most general and prevalent purpose of marriage as it is practiced does not appear to be procreation or “protecting” and controlling women. Under those paradigms, “same-sex marriage” is not just undesirable or distasteful, it is indeed nonsense. This is where idiocy about marrying a box-turtle and so forth comes from.

    What most certainly does still exist on a wide scale is heterosexism and bigotry, but that shouldn’t be confused with the functional definition of marriage. It is, obviously, quite possible to both accept the generalized idea of marriage and be a bigot. To such a person, the idea of same-sex marriage isn’t nonsense, it’s just yucky. But the ideals of civil liberties don’t take account of what people find yucky. Indeed, they explicitly demand tolerance for things that other people do or say that we find yucky. This is true even on issues where people are prepared to kill in the name of what they find yucky. At one point, people thought black kids and white kids in the same school was so yucky that we sent out soldiers to enforce it.

    To the degree the four premises I noted above are true, same-sex marriage is a natural outgrowth of our legal system. The court in California is leading social sentiments and prejudices, but, in the sense I mean, is trailing the functional definition of marriage. It could not really be otherwise: the court is not ruling in a vacuum, however much the bigots scream about “activist judges”. The court did not invent same-sex marriage, it responded to an adversarial process in which the different sides were presented, and it made a ruling as to which of those presentations best reflected the letter and spirit of the law.

    The fundies, of course, don’t want to stop there, they want to find a way to restore their idea of marriage as the societal standard, and will push as hard as they can on the more widespread yuck factor as their opening. Given how open young people — in America at least, though I assume elsewhere too — are to LGBT folk and same-sex marriage, it seems unlikely the fundies’ successes will last all that long.

    If they do have successes, such as codifying a public fear of yuckiness into the letter of the California constitution, then pursuing the strategy of civil unions that you talk about may make sense. But then I never denied that it might. I’ve said all along that the strategy depends on the particulars of the situation. In California, just now, I don’t think that approach is necessary; that doesn’t mean it may not become so in November.

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