Archive for the ‘proposition 8’ tag
Continuing with this series (Initiated by this post by a fellow blogger), I will now take on the subject of gay marriage and attempt to look at this issue from a constitutional, or in the absence of that, legal process. (My previous two discussions on the topic are here and here.)
Four states, Vermont, Massachusetts, Iowa (not exactly a bastion of progressive thought) and Connecticut, have legalized gay sex marriage. Washington, D.C., and New York recognize the civil union, but marriages are not performed there. The issue will go up for vote in Maine in November. Such marriages were legal in California in a period in 2008, but the infamous Proposition 8 was defeated by voters in November of that same year.
For a fairly detailed review of the issue in recent years, this page might be useful.
Gay marriage supporters — I probably shouldn’t use the nebulous word “supporters” because that could also mean straight people who support gay rights — rather, gays themselves, cite the Fourteenth Amendment to the constitution and, specifically, Loving v. Virginia. This U.S. Supreme Court case essentially said that Virginia’s anti-miscegenation law was unconstitutional and that, indeed, whites and blacks had the right to have interracial sex. The case stemmed from the arrest of Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving, who were apparently married in Washington, D.C., but then returned to their home in Virginia. Police busted into their home, you guessed it, midway through the miscegenation. Gays and supporters cite these words from the highest court in the land: Marriage is one of the
basic civil rights of man, fundamental to our very existence and survival …
The Fourteenth Amendment Section 1 often cited by supporters is as follows:
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
The key bit here would be: “nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
As it stands, and as we’ve seen, the federal government has left the decision up the voters of individual states as to whether to allow gay marriage or not. Of course, tax and other benefits exist for straight couples that are often not afforded gay couples because the latter groups reside in states that have yet to adopt laws about gay marriage. And I get the hint that, for gay couples, this issue is about more than just tax benefits. I get the sense that it’s about recognition of their — I will not say “lifestyles” — their sexuality and humanness. I’ve implied (here and here) that if gayness is innate (and it is), the religious crowd, anti-gayness’ staunchest opponents, have a lot of explaining to do about their religious texts. I say “texts” because I’m not just talking about the Hebrew Bible. For, religious reasons are probably the predominant snag keeping gay marriage from being legalized across the country, despite the fact that marriage is a civil union.
As a side note, arguments asserting that gay marriage erodes the concept of “family”or further sends America into a moral spiral downward, as was claimed by Pat Robertson in May, are not discussed here because they are conjecture and have nothing to do with the legality of said civil unions.