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A little less than a happy high
Aren't liberals supposed to be the irrational ones?
The dissenting opinion of this week's SJC ruling about the civil marriage/civil union debacle argued that since civil unions provided identical benefits and rights as civil marriages, any debate over whether they were appropriate was one solely of semantics. The obvious question in response is, if the argument really is just one of semantics, why is there a need to create new terminology to describe an arrangement that already exists?

The trouble is, there is no answer that doesn't ultimately lead back to the idea that marriage is somehow a special provenance reserved for heterosexual couples, which of course brings us to the ruling and its discussion about how separate is almost invariably not equal. The 'rose by any other name' argument truly does miss the point.

Romney's big push for the Constitutional Ammendment rests on the idea that marriage is for the purpose of having children... I'm assuming that if that gem gets rammed down our throats, it will mean that heterosexual couples either unable or unwilling push out babies will similarly be prohibited from marrying?

And you thought that we weren't viewed as cattle.
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(Deleted comment)
From: uruz Date: February 5th, 2004 04:23 pm (UTC) (Link)


Polygamy *is* possible. After all, Romney is a Mormon.
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komos From: komos Date: February 5th, 2004 05:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah... he was considered a "moderate" republican in Utah. Think about that for a moment. Moderate in Utah.

We're so effin' doomed.

So far as I know, the Mormons allow multiple wives only. Anything else is probably immoral, or at least not as sexy.
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komos From: komos Date: February 6th, 2004 06:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah... then I stand corrected. My knowledge of the sect really doesn't extend past Joseph Smith (the con man) and Brigham Young (the zealot).

I think all manner of things are sexy, but I'm told I'm not supposed to.
shelbyg From: shelbyg Date: February 6th, 2004 06:42 am (UTC) (Link)


There is a clause in the religion that orders its followers to obey local laws. The religion itself allows multiple wives, but good Mormons won't exercise the clause unless the law changes. So if Romney changed the laws of MA...

It’s funny, I was just talking about this with Wanda and her sister a couple of weeks ago. They are both ex-Mormons and they have quite a bit of literature by the church as they were both quite religious until they dropped out.

komos From: komos Date: February 5th, 2004 05:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Full disclosure: I'm not really Christian any longer, but I've long been an apologist amongst groups that make sweeping statements based on incorrect assumptions about the Christianity.

I think another of the arguments, thankfully not cited in the dissenting opinion, is one of the "Nazis and Nuclear Winter" cataclysm arguments where the country goes to hell because we won't be able to deny extended marriages or even marriages to children and goats.

I don't buy it.

What I do see is an increasing idealogical divide between those who believe that the government should act as a kind of Church 2.0 and those who think this is a really bad idea.

From: uruz Date: February 5th, 2004 04:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
komos From: komos Date: February 5th, 2004 05:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
It really is.
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_meej_ From: _meej_ Date: February 5th, 2004 11:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I actually have a fair amount of agreement with that first statement. If the opponents of same-sex marriage want to make a claim that marriage has some special, sacred meaning, and that there is a "higher purpose" to it than could be achieved in a homosexual pairing, then they're talking religion. And that brings up a huge issue with separation of church and state.

I wonder if the SJC responding to those arguments with "Oh. You're right; the state shouldn't be in the marriage business at all. Your marriages won't be legally recognizable as anything more than a civil union either." would point out the hypocrisies inherent in the argument.
komos From: komos Date: February 6th, 2004 06:30 am (UTC) (Link)
You know, it might not be the most popular view, but I really couldn't agree more. Once you shove aside the knee-jerk moral posturing, civil marriage is nothing more than a contract allowing two individuals sufficient rights and priviledges to muck around in each other's lives. Where this has gotten tangled is in the assumed meaning that both camps have carried to the table. Why you would enter into such a contract is entirely your own business. The government's only role here should be to make such an arrangement possible for all parties concerned and without making distinctions based on gender, pairing, or moral qualms.
shelbyg From: shelbyg Date: February 6th, 2004 07:07 am (UTC) (Link)

Lawyers' Boon

I have been preaching since the “Defense of Marriage Act” in 96 that the Government should get out of the marriage business (of course, then they need to replace it with some way of making unrelated people legally related). The concept of a secular legal recognition of the religious union in Anglican society is relatively new.

It was very interesting going to a Jewish ceremony where they sign a contract as part of the union. So the answer is contract law.

The term marriage can be reserved for religious unions in the eyes of the various churches that do them. The government should only recognize people who have signed contract with each other stating that they are now to be considered related. These contracts can be set up however the parties want: open for more participants, closed, defining the sharing of wealth. They would need to follow the rules of contracts today: defining dissolution, having a set length (there can be a review clause that makes it easy to renew, but this in perpetuity thing is ridiculous).

As for taxation, they should get rid of “joint filing.” Unemployed or underemployed spouses should be redefined as dependents. This would eliminate the “Marriage Tax” and the “Singles Tax” (an argument was made in the 70’s by the singles lobby that joint filing created a “singles tax” where two people could save money by being married. They argued that this lead to marriages of convenience to avoid paying taxes. The tax laws were changed but this created a “marriage tax”. Apparently with the structure of our tax system, either singles or married people or both get taxed unfairly.)

Children and goats would be left out because people under age and animals can’t legally sign contracts. Polygamy would be allowed as long as long at it is okay with all the signers of the contracts.

The government would still be involved; mostly the court system. However, instead of family law, it would be contract law, which is ancient, and well understood. Lawyers would get a big boon, as they would draw up the contracts.

Okay, that might be a bad thing. : )

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komos From: komos Date: February 6th, 2004 08:03 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm guessing that at some point there will be picketing for fair wages.

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komos From: komos Date: February 6th, 2004 08:46 am (UTC) (Link)
That's the best thing ever.
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