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On the Marriage Amendment

A lot of people are worried about a proposed Constitutional amendment that would outlaw gay marriage.

My thinking: it will never pass.

The process for passing an amendment is simple and clear. First, the House and Senate must each pass it with a two-thirds vote; second, three-quarters of the state legislatures must pass it.

The Republicans control just over half of the Senate, and a similar ratio in the House. There is no way enough Democrats will defect to get it through Congress.

Even if they somehow do, the states are a much larger hurdle. Right now, states are split roughly 50/50. The likelihood that half of the Democratic legislatures will defect approaches epsilon.

So get pissed about it if you want, but keep this in mind: it won't matter, because it won't happen.


( Read 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 12th, 2004 10:38 am (UTC)
Not to mention the fact that Constitutional amendments to deny people their civil rights would look really screwy after all that stuff protecting people's rights.
Feb. 12th, 2004 12:13 pm (UTC)
The people in charge over here are working on a law that will *let* gay people marry legally, do their taxes together and so on.

Small chance of it passing in a 90% Catholic country, but the thought is nice...
Feb. 12th, 2004 01:01 pm (UTC)
Sometimes I wonder about the whole "land of the free" thing.
Feb. 12th, 2004 12:22 pm (UTC)
The problem with the whole issue is how people are defining marriage. In the past, marriage was a union between a man and a women, for the sake of raising a family. Nowadays, marriage is just a convenient legal term to get a few benefits at work. People are simply far too greedy. What someone does in their private life is their own business, but there's no need to flaunt sexual exploits of any nature in the public. Giving that sort of thing legal rights (and I'm including such ideas as polygamy and incest in this statement, too) is absurd, because it's very much a private deal. Marriage rights are there for the sake of a family- when a women is pregnant and nursing a child, for example, she's simply not physically able to do the same work as before, thus the support is there. Marriage rights aren't for married couples, they're for the family, especially the children.

And before someone brings up the point about other cultures and other customs, I will point out that any and all civilizations that lasted for any amount of time, whatever marriage costums they had were infact geared towards the idea of having and raising children. In ploygamous cultures, as many children as possible, but it was still about the children, not the couple's convenience.
Feb. 12th, 2004 12:40 pm (UTC)
So should we outlaw marriages in which one of the partners is sterile? After all, it's obviously not a marriage for the children. There won't be any children. What about marriages involving women who are too old to have kids? How about two people who both have a deadly recessive gene and could pass it on to their kids? Or even marriages between people who don't want kids?

Marriage should not be an issue of government policy. It should be an agreement between two people who (hopefully) love each other. I could care less if those two people can have kids together, are the same sex, or even if they're related or the marriage isn't exclusive, as long as they both know what they're getting into. It's none of my business. And it's not the government's business, either.
Feb. 12th, 2004 12:44 pm (UTC)
It's not the government's business to condone anything, either. Yes, now we have technology that lets us know things we didn't before, but there's no point in nit-picking things from that. Tradition stands as a stable, good option, no need to screw with it. I'm quite certain that if every culture in all of history (or at least the ones that lasted for any length of time) had the same basic idea, there's a very good reason for it.
Feb. 12th, 2004 12:59 pm (UTC)
It's not the government's business to condone anything, either.
In a free society, government does not have to explicitly allow something for it to be legal. Things are legal unless declared illegal. By involving itself in marriage and defining the term, the government may have declared same-sex marriage illegal; this is an attempt to further define same-sex marriage as illegal.

Furthermore, just because something is traditional doesn't mean it's right. If we had followed tradition from the inception of this country onward, a bunch of rich white male plantation owners and bankers would be deciding this issue, not the entire country. If we'd followed tradition even farther back, it'd be Queen Elizabeth II and the House of Lords.
Feb. 12th, 2004 02:21 pm (UTC)
If I'm reading AC correctly, I get the sense that you guys are arguing two aspects of the same side here.

What I see AC saying, at least at the beginning, is that people are getting married for the wrong reasons. Marriage law offers married couples certain advantages which are denied to individuals who are not married. These include certain financial advantages and alternative taxation schemes some of which provide substantial advantages to a married couple.

There is also a certain sense in which marriage can be looked at as a vehicle for women to make financial gain off their spouse as divorce law tends to default to helping the woman and giving the man whatever is left. This rant is tangential so I'll not go into it here, but marriage law and divorce law are vehicles for financial gain.

That's where children come in because some of the benefits do make more sense with children.

What I see you both saying is that the government should keep its hands off marriage. That's what AC seems to be saying when she says that the government shouldn't condone marriage. Marriage is condoned by default, so the government doesn't need to step in and say marriage is good. Similarly, what Brent seems to be saying is that as long as people love each other, it doesn't matter if they're same sex, opposite sex, monogamous, polygamous, etc.

What I say to all this is that I like the idea of common law marriage. People love each other, act as if they're married, stay togeather because it's what their feelings tell them is the right thing to do; that's what I think marriage should be. Sure, there may be need for documentation in the modern world, but marriage should not be a legally binding contract with conditions imposed on which types of marriage get which benefits or even recognized at all. Just a sheet or paper (database entry?) that says Person X is married to Person(s) Y. Names can be added to or removed from Y at will.

Of course, if there are children, things change a bit. But that's got less to do with marriage and more to do with children. But that's a rant for another time.
Feb. 12th, 2004 05:23 pm (UTC)
I suppose I got married for the first time to "take advantage of a few benefits at work". Actually, no, when I got married (though I will admit, since I'm divorced now, that was obviously a mistake), I actually LOST a lot a benefits. I had no health insurance until after I got divorced. I was at the mercy of a man who thought a little piece of paper meant he owned me. THat's TRADITION. That's the way things are "supposed" to be, right? A man has control of a woman simply because he has a dick, right? Well, if you want to bring tradition into it, that's what tradition is. What benefits did I get out of being married, I'll ask you? Abso-fucking-lutely none.

Let me explain to you TRADITION. I should know, I was steeped in A LOT of it. Got married because I got pregnant. Miscarried. Whee. I don't know what's more traditional than that. I did the "right thing". Supposedly. But this is not about my right to have a consenting, heterosexual marriage. This is about rights in general. Let me "FLAUNT" my "sexual exploits". If that's what marriage is, then I'm going to have to gouge my eyes out, because that means my parents got married to flaunt things I really don't care to know about.

If the world agreed with your view on marriage, the world would be a sad place indeed. Marriage is supposed to be a commitment between two people who love each other. I don't recall anything that says these people have to be oppsite sex. That's something that's come into play lately because people are waking up and realizing that, hey, tradition isn't ALWAYS right.

If we still lived by the old traditions, I'd be walking around with a giant scarlet A on my chest, or worse, burned into me. THat's tradition with adulteresses, right? Let the world know they are a cheat. I'm not condoning what I did, but you know, wake up. The world is a bigger place now, and small-minded homophobes need to grow the fuck up.

Oh, yeah, I'd also probably be kiled for having sex with a woman, right? My opinion doesn't count because I'm bi. I forgot. Mea culpa. God hates me, right? God hates fags and queers, and those people who stand by them.

People like you disgust me.

Feb. 12th, 2004 05:26 pm (UTC)
One other thing.
Oh, and one other thing:
I suppose I shouldn't ever get married again, even if I do find someone I love and wish to, because getting married is for the sole purpose of procreation...

...and I'm not able to carry a child to term. Because my reproductive organs don't work 100% correctly. So, I should just die an old maid, and not even worry about marriage, because the likelihood of my having children is slim to none.

I'll remember that.
Feb. 12th, 2004 05:34 pm (UTC)
One more thing: I can totally destroy your "raising kids" argument with two words.

Reproductive medicine.

A gay couple can raise a kid with a sperm donor or egg donor and surrogate mother (as appropriate)--same as a sterile couple. Don't bother telling me otherwise, because I have (well, had) family in that line of work.

Game. Set. Match.
Feb. 12th, 2004 12:53 pm (UTC)
2 Points:
1. 37 states have out-lawed gay marriage. 38 are required to pass an amendment.

2. The Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage for federal terms as between only a man and woman, was passed in 1996, I believe by a large majority. Clinton signed it into law (IIRC, it was passed by more than a 2/3rds majority, so that there would have been no point in vetoing it).

Course, there are differences between outlawing gay marriage and making it part of the constitution, but I don't think it's as impossible as you're saying it is, unfortunatly. (I think these numbers are all correct, but I'm recalling them from a class discussion and articles for my Critical Issues class at school, so they could be wrong. Also, I am firmly in favor of gay marriage, I'm just pointing out some disturbing facts.)
Feb. 12th, 2004 01:12 pm (UTC)
Especially this year, but really in any year when the Democrats aren't in power, I suspect they'll turn it into a campaign issue to fight the Republicans on. In '96, they were in control--now they're trying to show people why they shouldn't vote Republican. This is one possible reason.
( Read 13 comments — Leave a comment )