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Maine becomes 5th state to allow same-sex marriage

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States in the northeast have experimented with disavowing civil marriage in favor of civil unions, for only gay and lesbian people. That experiment failed.

There is no practical alternative to civil marriage.

Call it what you want, but I'm for it. However, most people I know who are apathetic to the issue consider the solution to be called "civil union" versus the more traditional word "marriage" - no matter what the meaning may actually be for the former. The word marriage evokes religion, and anything concerning religion and government turns my stomach.

Get rid of the word "marriage" in all forms of government and go to "civil union". That way all religious aspects are removed. Then if someone wants to get "married" they can go to their church (whatever religion that might be) and get "married".

Sorry for all the quotations, but they seemed needed.

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Call it what you want, but I'm for it. However, most people I know who are apathetic to the issue consider the solution to be called "civil union" versus the more traditional word "marriage" - no matter what the meaning may actually be for the former. The word marriage evokes religion, and anything concerning religion and government turns my stomach.

Get rid of the word "marriage" in all forms of government and go to "civil union". That way all religious aspects are removed. Then if someone wants to get "married" they can go to their church (whatever religion that might be) and get "married".

Sorry for all the quotations, but they seemed needed.

Your thinking on this issue is 10 years old. Vermont tried this. It failed. Vermont now has granted access to the civil marriage system up there. They've "upgraded." New Jersey still has civil unions. They are among the worst failures (because a lot of people who live in NJ, work in NY... their unions evaporate every time they cross state lines into NY - and there's a lot complications beyond just this).

The closest I can get... for people who think like you is the following scenario:

Gay and lesbian couples could first be granted access to civil marriage... like everybody else... and then change the entire system to civil unions, for everybody.

And then everybody, not just one group of people... would see just how bad civil unions suck. How do you think voters would vote on something like that?

That seems like a lot of unnecessary work to please a bunch of apathetic people when there never was, or is, any religious component whatsoever to state-sanctioned "marriage." It is horrible that people are barred from the contractual arrangement of civil marriage because people think it "sounds religious" - when, after examining the issue just a little deeper - it isn't.

All that is needed is a simple update to a marriage certificate. Line 1: husband/wife/spouse. Line 2: husband/wife/spouse. That's it. Those who want "tradition" circle husband and wife. Those who don't circle spouse. Now hard is that?

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Your thinking on this issue is 10 years old. Vermont tried this. It failed. Vermont now has granted access to the civil marriage system up there. They've "upgraded." New Jersey still has civil unions. They are among the worst failures (because a lot of people who live in NJ, work in NY... their unions evaporate every time they cross state lines into NY - and there's a lot complications beyond just this).

The closest I can get... for people who think like you is the following scenario:

Gay and lesbian couples could first be granted access to civil marriage... like everybody else... and then change the entire system to civil unions, for everybody.

And then everybody, not just one group of people... would see just how bad civil unions suck. How do you think voters would vote on something like that?

That seems like a lot of unnecessary work to please a bunch of apathetic people when there never was, or is, any religious component whatsoever to state-sanctioned "marriage." It is horrible that people are barred from the contractual arrangement of civil marriage because people think it "sounds religious" - when, after examining the issue just a little deeper - it isn't.

All that is needed is a simple update to a marriage certificate. Line 1: husband/wife/spouse. Line 2: husband/wife/spouse. That's it. Those who want "tradition" circle husband and wife. Those who don't circle spouse. Now hard is that?

Ok, but I still don't get the difference between a civil union and a civil marriage. Are the other states forced to recognize it if it's called marriage? Does this whole thing really just boil down to semantic differences?

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Ok, but I still don't get the difference between a civil union and a civil marriage. Are the other states forced to recognize it if it's called marriage? Does this whole thing really just boil down to semantic differences?

Civil Unions are theoretically all the rights and benefits of civil marriage, at a state level only. They are non-transferable to other states that do not also have civil unions. The states must give full faith and credit to the records and judicial proceedings of other states. If a state does not have a similar civil union set up, the union/contract, cannot be transferred. It evaporates as soon as you cross state lines. The same is also true of same-sex civil marriages (that are banned in states that do not have them). All this is tied up in courts due to real Constitutional problems with denying marriage rights, denying the transfer of those rights, etc, etc.

Civil unions are supposed to have all the benefits of civil marriage - but they don't. Because even if you live in a state that has them... insurance companies, and other entities can be multi-state enterprises. They are accustomed to doing business a certain way. For example, if you're filling out an insurance policy, you may find only these choices: Single or Married. There is no "civil unioned" box. People who are "civil unioned" cannot check the married box - even though they are supposed to have all the benefits of married people. That is what many people have found in states that have unions vs. marriage. And that is just one reason, among several others, why they are failures.

New York state will honor, and give full faith and credit, to same-sex marriages performed outside of its borders, but it will not grant same-sex marriage certificates within the state. NY also has no civil union set ups. NJ has civil unions, but not same-sex marriage. So people "married" under a different name/system in NJ, have nothing when they go to work in NY. That problem can be solved by NJ "upgrading" to marriage. Just one very small example in the country.

This is not a superficial semantics problem. It is a problem of irrationally excluding one group of people from a legal framework of rights and responsibilities that all others are entitled to. It is also not a "states rights" issue either (the mantra of "letting states decide" is garbage). It is a human rights issue. No person, in any county, in any state in the entire United States of America should be denied the fundamental right to marry. Hopefully, the Supreme Court will find this true of same-sex couples and will swiftly and permanently bring to an end this insanely cruel practice of voting away people's rights at the ballot box or requiring people to move from their homes to other parts of the country to secure their freedoms. That is un-American to me.

Edited by BryanS
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All that is needed is a simple update to a marriage certificate. Line 1: husband/wife/spouse. Line 2: husband/wife/spouse. That's it. Those who want "tradition" circle husband and wife. Those who don't circle spouse. Now hard is that?

Agree, but..

I'm only advising to drop the word marriage from any government sanctioned form of union because there are those who are religious that first associate marriage with the church, and not state. Those are the ones protesting all the time. But if gays want to call it civil marriage and continue to climb the mountain, be my guest. Like I said, I don't really care either way - it doesn't affect me. I just know that term Civil Union is far more disarming and in a perfect secular world, my government would only issue those to any two consenting adults.

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Agree, but..

I'm only advising to drop the word marriage from any government sanctioned form of union because there are those who are religious that first associate marriage with the church, and not state. Those are the ones protesting all the time. But if gays want to call it civil marriage and continue to climb the mountain, be my guest. Like I said, I don't really care either way - it doesn't affect me. I just know that term Civil Union is far more disarming and in a perfect secular world, my government would only issue those to any two consenting adults.

We should not have to change the name of anything to please people who are protesting. They aren't the ones being harmed.

Gays aren't calling it civil marriage. It is civil marriage.

And we don't live in a perfect world. As such the "civil union" approach to this whole problem won't and doesn't work.

Edited by BryanS

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Agree, but..

I'm only advising to drop the word marriage from any government sanctioned form of union because there are those who are religious that first associate marriage with the church, and not state. Those are the ones protesting all the time. But if gays want to call it civil marriage and continue to climb the mountain, be my guest. Like I said, I don't really care either way - it doesn't affect me. I just know that term Civil Union is far more disarming and in a perfect secular world, my government would only issue those to any two consenting adults.

We should not have to change the name of anything to please people who are protesting. They aren't the ones being harmed.

But they're the ones getting it voted down again and again. Gays are going to have to find a compromise before the Christians will. Its the nature of the beast. You'd think it would be 50/50 seeing as Christianity is supposedly based on living a life of tolerance and acceptance of all - but human will always seems to counter that.

Honestly, I hope all this gay marriage stuff happens just so we can finally move on. Gays deserve it, it won't hurt anyone, lets just pass it and move forward.

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But they're the ones getting it voted down again and again. Gays are going to have to find a compromise before the Christians will. Its the nature of the beast. You'd think it would be 50/50 seeing as Christianity is supposedly based on living a life of tolerance and acceptance of all - but human will always seems to counter that.

Honestly, I hope all this gay marriage stuff happens just so we can finally move on. Gays deserve it, it won't hurt anyone, lets just pass it and move forward.

You don't compromise anything on civil rights.

You bring up a good point about being voted down again and again...

Regarding all that voting... In reading other blogs and news sources... In Maine, ~50% of registered voters showed up. Roughly half of that number voted on a measure that affected 100% of all the population of that state.

So you have ~25% of a voting population, affecting what everbody else does. Same story pretty much everywhere on this issue. And while having that minority voting group accept or reject standards for livestock may be appropriate (as was the case in CA - chickens got more space in their pens), it is never appropriate to accept/reject/alter fundamental human rights in this matter (as was done in CA; humans lost rights, animals gained them). Because in effect, what you really have is the tyranny of a minority group raping another minority group of its rights. And that's just not right.

That is why these matters are much more appropriately addressed by legislatures and the court system. Those two branches of government deal with the whole (you have a 100% representation of a population in a legislature; courts look for equal protections for all people) vs. parts of a whole (i.e. popular voting whereby a minority governs the whole).

Also... I am less inclined to think this is all about religion as it is more about urban v. rural - more than anything. Religion is proving to be more of a red herring/diversion on this topic... And that's why Nate Silver is wrong.

Edited by BryanS
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You don't compromise anything on civil rights.

You bring up a good point about being voted down again and again...

Regarding all that voting... In reading other blogs and news sources... In Maine, ~50% of registered voters showed up. Roughly half of that number voted on a measure that affected 100% of all the population of that state.

So you have ~25% of a voting population, affecting what everbody else does. Same story pretty much everywhere on this issue. And while having that minority voting group accept or reject standards for livestock may be appropriate (as was the case in CA - chickens got more space in their pens), it is never appropriate to accept/reject/alter fundamental human rights in this matter (as was done in CA; humans lost rights, animals gained them). Because in effect, what you really have is the tyranny of a minority group raping another minority group of its rights. And that's just not right.

That is why these matters are much more appropriately addressed by legislatures and the court system. Those two branches of government deal with the whole (you have a 100% representation of a population in a legislature; courts look for equal protections for all people) vs. parts of a whole (i.e. popular voting whereby a minority governs the whole).

Also... I am less inclined to think this is all about religion as it is more about urban v. rural - more than anything. Religion is proving to be more of a red herring/diversion on this topic... And that's why Nate Silver is wrong.

In other words, what you're saying is that if it doesn't hurt anyone, it shouldn't be illegal, right?

I don't disagree with you on that one bit, but the religious right will argue that it does hurt society at large. I don't agree, but that's the platform they attack the concept of gay marriage from. Their logic is circular at best. They argue that legalizing gay marriage will ultimately cause the downfall of society. They say legalizing it is essentially an explicit approval of homosexuality, and that all traditional social mores will tumble like dominoes thereafter. First, like Rick Santorum once so thoughtfully pointed out, the next step is NAMBLA moves into the mainstream, and as well, people will start marrying their pets. Then, the idea of being gay will become so cool to all the young impressionable minds, every kid in the country will become gay. Oh noes, the children!

You and I recognize this as hyperbole and specious logic, but there's a substantial portion of the population that'll believe anything they see on TV. I'm of the opinion that people don't choose to be gay anymore than people choose to be straight. Unfortunately, there is not yet any definitive proof to substantiate my opinion. I think it will be uncovered one day though, and when it does, all the Chicken Little fundies will have run out of arguments. But, even if the case can be proven definitively that no amount of legalization or public acceptance will cause the world to end, I bet they'll still oppose it. Some people are so obsessed with the idea of conformity that they refuse to acknowledge that it's just fine to have other people live their lives in a manner different than their own. It's stupid, but I doubt people are yet ready to get along with each other unequivocally.

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In other words, what you're saying is that if it doesn't hurt anyone, it shouldn't be illegal, right?

I don't disagree with you on that one bit, but the religious right will argue that it does hurt society at large. I don't agree, but that's the platform they attack the concept of gay marriage from. Their logic is circular at best. They argue that legalizing gay marriage will ultimately cause the downfall of society. They say legalizing it is essentially an explicit approval of homosexuality, and that all traditional social mores will tumble like dominoes thereafter. First, like Rick Santorum once so thoughtfully pointed out, the next step is NAMBLA moves into the mainstream, and as well, people will start marrying their pets. Then, the idea of being gay will become so cool to all the young impressionable minds, every kid in the country will become gay. Oh noes, the children!

You and I recognize this as hyperbole and specious logic, but there's a substantial portion of the population that'll believe anything they see on TV. I'm of the opinion that people don't choose to be gay anymore than people choose to be straight. Unfortunately, there is not yet any definitive proof to substantiate my opinion. I think it will be uncovered one day though, and when it does, all the Chicken Little fundies will have run out of arguments. But, even if the case can be proven definitively that no amount of legalization or public acceptance will cause the world to end, I bet they'll still oppose it. Some people are so obsessed with the idea of conformity that they refuse to acknowledge that it's just fine to have other people live their lives in a manner different than their own. It's stupid, but I doubt people are yet ready to get along with each other unequivocally.

Yes. And what happened in Maine? 50% saw no harm in marriage equality. They stayed home and did not vote. Had they felt otherwise, they would have voted to repeal. They didn't. ~25% believe in marriage equality. They voted. So ~75% of the population of Maine saw no harm in equal marriage rights or positively endorsed that "no harm" position on election night by voting... Yet a slim ~25% (plus some change) minority group got their way, and set the law for all others to follow. Such horse crap. Sorry to repeat this point.

People cannot say that gay marriage will lead to the downfall of society... because it is already legal in several states and several nations and the sky didn't fall. There is already a proven track record, to the contrary (in fact Massachusetts now has the lowest divorce rate in the country; gay marriage actually helped, right?). People tend to forget that. And people tend to forget that voting down gay marriage will not make gay couples - and their children - go away. The other side proclaims: we don't want this in our schools or near our children. Guess what? It's already there! Do you honestly think by robbing a child's parents of the right to marry will stop that child from referring to their two moms or two dads questions/taunts/threats by other school children? I don't think so. Same-sex couples already live in martial arrangements, at great risk with no legal protections, and have been for decades, if not centuries.

The "root cause" of homosexual orientation does not matter. No substantive proof is required, nor should ever be required. People stamp their feet like little children claiming: "I was born this way! I was! It's like being black!" Yawn.

Because at the end of the day... the Constitution also protects those who make choices to freely associate with others in groups, as affirmed by Supreme Court rulings in the 1950's (first amendment).

People who are Jewish... chose to remain Jewish. And they can get married. Yet, by population, there are more gays and lesbians in this country than there are Jews. So why can't gay and lesbian people get married - even if homosexuality is a chosen association, like all religions? (the size of a minority group doesn't matter - I just put it there as reference). There is no need to prove homosexuality as an immutable characteristic as a basis to extend marriage equality rights, or the protections of any laws in this country; it is completely irrelevant.

EDIT: Those who oppose marriage equality have already run out of chicken little arguments.

Edited by BryanS

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Despite setbacks like Maine, gay marriage will eventually become legal throughout the U.S. Those voting against gay marriage are just delaying the inevitable, and they are hurting people's lives in the process.

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