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Opening Arguments

Over the top

Indianapolis blog Advance Indiana manages to equate the banning of same-sex marriage both with the Klan's early stranglehold on Indiana politics and the Nazis ugly march through the middle of the 20th century. It reserves its special scorn for David Long:

The Senate's newly-elected President Pro Tempore David Long (R-Fort Wayne), an attorney, cast his lot with political expediency and voted in favor of it as did all of his Republican colleagues. Only 10 lonely Democratic Senators braved a vote in defense of liberty. It is a legacy which will forever stain Long's tenure in the Indiana Senate. Did he compromise fundamental rights of some Hoosiers months earlier to win a coveted leadership position?

As one commenter noted, this is rhetoric not exactly designed to win over moderates who might be sitting on the fence. Keeping the definition of something the same as it has been for all of human history is like the Klan? Keeping one thing from gays is like the Nazis?

But that's one viewpoint, forcefully presented. And Kenn Gividen has an interesting libertarian take:

It's not a matter of gay rights.

It's a question of excessive government intrusion. And it's wrong.

Marriage licensing has become ingrained in our culture and our minds. We are conditioned to believe that unlicensed marriages are tantamount to living in sin.

Where did we get this idea?

It never occurred to our nation's Christian founders to secure state marriage licenses. Rather, betrothal occurred when a man and woman entered into a legally binding oral contract. Typically this was in the presence of witnesses, at a formal ceremony and took the form of oaths, including, “until death do us part.”

The oral contract was binding in most cases. But there were exceptions. Many states forbade inter-racial marriages. Such marriages could only transpire with government permission — or license. It eventually became the norm in the early 20th century when all states agreed to recognize each others' licenses.

I still think what the state does or does not do about replacing the law against same-sex marriage with a constitutional amendment is irrelevant. Because of the full-faith-and-credit clause alluded to by Gividen, this is headed for the Supreme Court.

My question about gay marriage: If we remove the traditional definition of one man and one woman, does that open the door for marriage to be defined as just about anything? Where do we draw the line, and if we don't know where to draw it, is that important to our society or not? I have heard it argued that this is a red herring -- we draw the line at two consenting adults who may or may not be of the same sex. But don't bisexuals deserve the same rights as heterosexuals and homosexuals? Unless we ask them to deny half of their sexuality, that would seem to require a marriage of three people. Wouldn't it?

Posted in: Hoosier lore


Wed, 02/14/2007 - 6:51am

It's not about keeping things the same. Subsection (b) of the provision prohibits extending any of the incidents of marriage to unmarried people.

"This Constitution or any other Indiana law may not be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents of marriage be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups."

So, if the General Assembly passes a law extending an incident of marriage to an unmarried couple, a court is powerless to enforce that law.

That's new.

Wed, 02/14/2007 - 8:06am

Where this draws a comparison with the Klan -- a fair one, I think -- is that these laws are being drafted for no other reason than to exploit the animus of the many for the few. It's purely political and has nothing to do with any compelling need. I've heard people making the slippery slope argument that if gay marriage is allowed it will open the door to bestial marriage and all kinds of improbable pairings that I'm sure no one's going to seek a license for anyhow. Same sex couples, on the other hand, do exist and shoulld be entitled to power of attorney and inheritence rights, just a few among the many rights they don't presently enjoy. Families of dying or decedent gays have been known to prevail against the intent of the person in such matters.

As for bisexuals, those who commit to marriage and then can't stop playing around are no different than the multitude of heteros who do exactly the same thing with the state's blessing.

brian stouder
Wed, 02/14/2007 - 9:23am

"the multitude of heteros who do exactly the same thing with the state's blessing."

I was in agreement all the way to here, and then you lost me at the bakery

Wed, 02/14/2007 - 10:04am

Brian, just responding to Leo's red herring argument that bisexuals will start demanding 3-way licenses.

It's kind of funny watching all the Anna Nicole hoopla and thinking about politicians' over-the-top sanctimony about marriage. A gold-digging hooker is entitled to share the estate of a senile billionaire all because she has a real marriage as far as the law is concerned. Two people of the same sex, no matter how devoted they are to each other, no matter how hard they've worked to build wealth of their own together, aren't entitled to any part of the other's share.

Yeah, that's American justice for ya.

tim zank
Wed, 02/14/2007 - 12:00pm

You know, it's pretty hard to find a correct side of this issue to be on. If you're against gay marriage you're a homophobe, if you're for gay marriage you may well find yourself at odds with your religion and belief system.
I've always felt that what ever you do in your own bedroom is your business, just don't ask me to watch. That "live and let live" policy worked very well until the "we're here and we're queer get used to it" mantra took over. Suddenly we all had to become not only enlightened and accepting (which most people were already) of same sex couples, we had to emulate them and create an entire new "protected class" of people.

I have an especially hard time with those that equate "gay rights" with "civil rights". Being gay is a behavioral difference which can be modified or controlled, while being an African-American is a racial difference which cannot be altered. There is no comparison.

What I want to know is, how did such a relatively miniscule percentage of the population, already protected by the same rights all Americans enjoy, become such an
enormous social and political powerhouse?

Wed, 02/14/2007 - 12:59pm

"Being gay is a behavioral difference which can be modified or controlled, while being an African-American is a racial difference which cannot be altered."

Being stupid is also frequently misunderstood to be a behavioral difference, Tim, but it too is an inborn condition for which there really isn't much hope.

tim zank
Wed, 02/14/2007 - 3:44pm

Alex, let me re-phrase.

You can make a conscious decision as to where you want to stick your wanker. A decision is involved. You can alter or modify your behavior, as to when, how and where you want use/place/or put said wanker.

If you're born black, you will always be visually interpreted the same way, no matter what your behavior or where you stick your wanker.

Ask an African-American if they feel the struggle of their race is similar in ANY way to that of those "struggling" to be free of the tyranny of not marrying their homosexual partner. Oh the humanity.....

Thu, 02/15/2007 - 5:57am

"Same sex couples, on the other hand, do exist and shoulld be entitled to power of attorney and inheritence rights, just a few among the many rights they don't presently enjoy."

I follow no religion, so I have no religious objections to gay marriage. I do have qualms about discarding centuries or millenia of customary practice.

Polygamous and polyandrous relationships also exist. By what principle would you deny polygamous & polyandrous relationships the same legal rights you wish to entend to gay relationships?

Thu, 02/15/2007 - 6:32am

Personally, Barry, I wouldn't deny rights to polygamists. It should be none of the government's or anyone else's business.

Thu, 02/15/2007 - 7:15am

I tend to agree with you in this area, Alex, but it's going to be a tough sell in most state legislatures.