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Jun 07 2013

The inevitability of same sex marriage

A new Pew survey confirms what observers have long intuited, that most people (72%) now see the legalization of same sex marriage a inevitable, up from 59% in 2004. What is significant is that 59% of opponents see it as inevitable too. Even though they seem resigned to it, it is still a divisive issue with just 51% favoring same-sex marriage and older, religious, Republicans, blacks, and those with less education showing the most opposition.

Meanwhile, in the wake of the House of Lords approving the bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the UK by a surprisingly large margin of 390-148 three days ago, the Church of England, that country’s official church, has dropped its opposition to the bill, signaling that it too sees this as inevitable even though they oppose it. There are still some procedural hurdles to overcome which means that the first such marriages will only occur next summer. Here is a useful Q&A on the issue.

NPR’s Nina Totenberg had an interesting interview with Margaret Marshall, the former chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court who in 2003 authored the first judicial ruling in the US declaring that bans of same-sex marriage were unconstitutional. She too feels that national acceptance is inevitable, even if the Supreme Court declines to act in the cases currently before it.

In the interview, Marshall addresses a question that Antonin Scalia, who clearly opposes same-sex marriage, raised in oral arguments back in March.

During this spring’s oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court over same-sex marriage, Justice Antonin Scalia asked when it became unconstitutional to bar people of the same sex from being married.

“I’m curious, when did it become unconstitutional to exclude homosexual couples from marriage? 1791? 1868, when the 14th Amendment was adopted?” Scalia asked. “When did the law become this?”

Marshall says for her, the answer was clear: “When the states started giving huge benefits and privileges to one section of the population.

“If you’re married, you have just enormous benefits, and if you’re in the same committed lengthy relationship, but you happen to be within the same gender, you have none of those benefits and protections,” she observes. Her 2003 opinion listed many of the hundreds of laws that give preferences and benefits to married couples.

The principle involved really is that simple: The state should not grant and deny privileges based on sexual orientation.

8 comments

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  1. 1
    wtfwhatever

    I am certainly glad to see same-sex marriage widely adopted and become inevitable.

    But aren’t there tax advantages to being married? If so, shouldn’t those be removed (and/or given to the unmarried)?

    And take the mortgage deduction away too.

  2. 2
    Mano Singham

    The use of the tax code to promote certain policies that the state deems desirable (in this case providing incentives for people to marry because it thinks marriage is a good thing) is a different, though important debate, from whether a benefit is denied to certain groups based on gender or sexual orientation, race, and the like.

    Over time, if marriage is seen as not providing any worthwhile social benefits, the tax breaks for it may go away. The same is true for the home mortgage deduction.

  3. 3
    dano

    Makes a Christian wonder about moving to Nigeria where common sense is still in charge.

  4. 4
    Rike

    Go right ahead. Do you need help packing?

  5. 5
    Mano Singham

    Ah yes, the kind of common sense that results in Christians and Muslims murdering each other.

  6. 6
    Jesse Powell

    The principle involved is that the state has every right to promote social norms that are beneficial to society such as marriage; marriage necessarily being heterosexual, between one man and one woman. Two homosexual adults living with each other does not provide any benefit to society and pretending as if the homosexual union has equal merit to the heterosexual union is actively harmful to society. Very specific and clear harm is caused by homosexual couples acting in a parental role towards children; harm to the child in the form of being deprived of either their mother or their father and harm based on the child being denied its right to witness a heterosexual dynamic in its household among its parents to model how a heterosexual dynamic works; information the child needs to have to be able to act effectively as a man or woman once the child grows up.

    I am an opponent of so called same-sex marriage but I would agree that “same-sex marriage” is inevitable in the United States. Rush Limbaugh famously proclaimed not too long ago that “homosexual marriage” is inevitable as a political matter. Society is not doomed however because the artificial construct of “homosexual marriage” can be repealed once people come to their senses. The victories of moral degeneracy are not permanent; they are merely a transitional stage before the resurrection of social order takes place.

    Taubira’s Law legalizing “homosexual marriage” in France took effect on May 29, 2013 after being approved by the National Assembly on April 23, 2013 by a 331 to 225 vote. What is interesting however is that Taubira’s law has ignited a huge popular protest movement in France against “same-sex marriage” that goes by the name Manif Pour Tous or “March for All.”

    Manif Pour Tous: Don’t Lie to Children
    http://upstreampolitics.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/manif-pour-tous-dont-lie-to-children/

    Also France shows that support for “gay marriage” can move into reverse: In June 2011 according to surveys 63% in France supported “gay marriage” while 58% supported gay adoption rights. By January 2013 however support for “gay marriage” was down to 60% and support for gay adoption rights was down to 46%. Among supporters of the UMP party in France support for “gay marriage” declined from 46% in August 2012 to 33% in January 2013 and support for gay adoption rights declined from 38% to 22%. The UMP is the main conservative party in France; roughly equivalent to American Republicans. The major demonstrations in France against “gay marriage” got started on November 17, 2012 when Taubira’s law was first introduced in the French parliament.

    Lessons from France on Defending Marriage
    http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/01/7601/

    This popular uprising of socially conservative sentiment making itself heard on the streets of Paris is very inspiring! I am not aware of anything like it happening before in the Western World! It’s about time! The social indicators in France are very bad; the out-of-wedlock birth ratio among the French (both parents born in France) is 61% and the divorce rate in France is 56% (year 2011). It is good that finally the people of France are starting to fight back against the social decay wracking their society.

    For a short Youtube video promoting the Manif Pour Tous demonstrations in France:

    Le Manif Pour Tous – Teaser 26 mai (The March for All – Teaser May 26)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JanvcRMWBuc
    This was to advertise a planned massive march for May 26, 2013. May 26th was Mother’s Day in France. The May 26th march was after Taubira’s law passed in Parliament (April 23, 2013) and after it was approved by the Constitutional Council (May 17, 2013) but immediately before Taubira’s law went into effect (May 29, 2013). Some dubbed this day May 26, 2013 as “the last Mother’s Day.”

  7. 7
    wtfwhatever

    not sure you’ll ever see this since this was days ago, but a) I appreciate your answer, but b) many people can’t get married (age, disability, …) similar to the mortgage deduction.

    Tax advantages to the married is mostly wrong. (Perhaps not as wrong as mortgage deductions)

    Regardless, I hope to attend just as many gay weddings as straight weddings. Mazel Tov to all!

  8. 8
    Mano Singham

    I agree with you. Whether people choose to marry or stay single should have nothing to do with their taxes. I don’t like the idea of the state using the tax code to manipulate people’s life choices, whether it be marriage, home ownership, charitable contributions and the like.

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