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March 08, 2005

Gay Marriage in Washington

The state Supreme Court is hearing arguments starting today about same-sex marriage. I hope my state is decent enough to allow it without backing out later. The whole thing is ridiculous. Haven't we learned anything yet?? We went through all this already with interracial marriage!

From Colbert I. King:
The Georgia Supreme Court in 1869 based its interracial marriage ban on natural law, observing that "the God of nature made it otherwise, and no human law can produce it, and no human tribunal can enforce it."

Hear the 1871 Indiana Supreme Court quoting an 1867 Pennsylvania decision: Racial separation is enacted not because of "prejudice, nor caste, nor injustice of any kind, but simply to suffer men to follow the law of races established by the Creator himself, and not to compel them to intermix contrary to their instincts."

The North Carolina Supreme Court in 1869 upheld the state's anti-race mixing law, stating that "the policy of prohibiting the intermarriage of the two races is so well established, and the wishes of both races so well known."

A host of state anti-miscegenation laws -- strongly backed by white public sentiment -- were upheld in state courts well into the 20th century. The reasoning was simple and absolute: Marriage between the races defied the natural order; intermarriage bans had legitimate historical roots and were based on a "divinely ordained" scheme. Conclusion: Government had the right to define marriage as a union of two persons of the same race.
An article in the Philadelphia Inquirer says it well...
Here are some arguments against miscegenation:
  1. Would change America's social order - interracial unions foretold “race suicide”.
    “Shall America remain white?” one worried physician asked a medical conference in 1924. Interracial unions foretold “race suicide,” the eugenic nightmare that haunted white America well into the 1960s.
  2. Religion is against it.
    “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red,” wrote a Virginia judge in 1965, upholding the state’s so-called Racial Integrity Act. “The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”
And some arguments against gay marriage:
  1. Would change America's social order, but of the "family" instead of "race".
    If we abandon our taboos on gay sex, [Rick Santorum] claims, our prohibitions against other perversions—including incest and polygamy—will fall by the wayside.

    But why? Incest clearly injures children, while polygamy would raise a host of serious problems surrounding property rights, child custody, and more. Gay sex—between consenting adults, remember—wouldn’t change any of that.
  2. Most religions consider homosexuality a sin.

    Turn on so-called Christian radio, and you’ll hear the same thing about gay sex: It violates the will of the Lord. In a less sectarian vein, Santorum simply deemed them unnatural: “In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality,” he said. “It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be.”

    Man on dog?

Those are the two main arguments - the slippery slope, and the religious one.

Andrew Sullivan makes a great point in Slate:
The precise challenge for morally serious people is to make rational distinctions between what is arbitrary and what is essential in important social institutions. ... If you want to argue that a lifetime of loving, faithful commitment between two women is equivalent to incest or child abuse, then please argue it. It would make for fascinating reading. But spare us this bizarre point that no new line can be drawn in access to marriage—or else everything is up for grabs and, before we know where we are, men will be marrying their dogs.
If interracial marriage didn't end up with us marrying our children and raping our dogs, then why would gay marriages? The best objection to the slippery slope argument is said by Dahlia Lithwick:
These are projections into an unknowable future. Asking proponents of gay marriage to prove that these marriages won't be bad for kids or families is asking that they prove a negative. The law cannot know the long-term future social effects of legalizing gay marriage ... We can only determine whether it is fundamentally unfair to bar one whole class of citizens from a privilege constitutionally afforded the rest of us.
Our constitution says we shall all be treated equal, thus, it is not fair at all.

The whole excuse that the Bible or God tells us it's wrong is just stupid. The Bible tells us a LOT of things are ok or not ok and our laws don't reflect this. I have no problem if your church does not allow someone to marry, but if the government does it, it's clearly discrimination. What has brought this case to the Supreme Court here in Washington, is this passage of the constitution:
No law shall be passed granting to any citizen ... privileges or immunities which upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens.
From the Seattle Times:
"The privilege of civil marriage and the various privileges legally conferred by that status are not being made equally available to all citizens," King County Superior Court Judge William Downing said last August as he ruled in favor of same-sex marriage rights.

"The text is quite clear," said University of Washington constitutional law professor Hugh Spitzer, who filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting gay marriage rights.
The Bible has little to do with any of this.

Why must history always repeat itself?

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