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White House Cheat Sheet: Is Gay Marriage Still An Issue?



Gay rights advocates celebrate yesterday's decision in Vermont. AP Photo/Toby Talbot

Twin decisions in Iowa and Vermont legalizing gay marriage over the past five days have reinvigorated the debate over same sex unions and raised questions about whether the issue continues to have the same political potency for Republicans as it did as recently as four years ago.

Four states now allow gay couples to marry with three more -- New Hampshire, Maine and New Jersey -- currently debating the possibility of legalizing same-sex marriage.

Gay rights advocates painted the decision in Vermont -- coming so soon after the Iowa state Supreme Court rejected as unconstitutional a ban on same sex marriage as a critical turning point in how the nation views these unions. "I think we're going to look back at this week as a moment when our entire country turned a corner," Jennifer C. Pizer, the national marriage project director for the advocacy group Lambda Legal, told the Post's Keith Richburg.

By and large, however, Republican national leaders -- particularly those running for president -- have condemned the recent decisions. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney said the "definition of marriage should be left to the people and not to activist courts" while former House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) called the decision "outrageously wrong" and said it revealed "judicial arrogance."

Conversations with a handful of high level Republican party strategists, however, produced a far more mixed view of gay marriage as a campaign issue.

There were some who insisted that gay marriage -- particularly when it is adopted by a court ruling -- remained a potent issue not just for the party's conservative base but also for independent voters.

"You've got an electorate already [angry] about the economy, and even though some indicators are turning around, there seems to be universal agreement that unemployment will continue to rise for three to five quarters, so people will continue to have angst over the economy," said Carl Forti, a Republican consultant with the Blackrock Group. "Add on top of that liberal courts who are legalizing gay marriage, and Democrats, are doing the GOP's job for them."

But, there are significant dissenting elements within the Republican professional class when it comes to using gay marriage as an effective wedge issue in campaigns. "The world is changing and I don't think people, particularly swing voters, care as much either way," said one high level Republican strategist granted anonymity to speak candidly on the topic.

Another Republican consultant said that the issue is a complicated one for GOP candidates in the context of a political campaign. "It's sort of a no-win," said the source. "You often need to be on one side of the issue to win the primary, then you're in trouble for the general."

Polling suggests that voters have become increasingly comfortable with the idea of gay marriage and civil unions in recent years. A Newsweek poll conducted in February 2004 showed 23 percent supportive of full legal marriage rights for gay couples while 24 percent backed civil unions and 45 percent preferred no legal recognition at all. Compare that to a December 2008 Newsweek survey in which 31 percent favored full marriage rights, 32 percent preferred civil unions and 30 percent opted for no sort of legal recognition of gay couples.

Running counter to those data points, however, is the passage of Prop 8 last November in California -- not exactly a conservative bastion -- that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. (As the Los Angeles Times noted just after the vote, the Prop 8 vote became a proxy war for much, much more.)

What seems clear is that as gay marriage becomes more prevalent in the country, the issue will almost certainly continue to animate the bases of the two parties -- Democrats in support, Republicans in opposition. What's unknown is the effect a series of states legalizing gay marriage will have on the always-crucial independent voters. Do they bristle at judicial intervention into the moral sphere? Or do they shrug and move on?

What To Watch For:

Wednesday's Must Reads: The dove-tailing of the NCAA basketball tournament and the beginning of baseball season makes us smile.

1. Iraq, Afghanistan and President Obama by the Post's Dan Balz.
2. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) will not challenge Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) in 2010.
3. Al Franken: +312.
4. Kal Penn, he of "Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle," is headed for a job at the White House. Not kidding.
5. Did anyone even buy the Segway?

McCain, Weaver Make Peace: Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) and longtime adviser John Weaver met recently, the first time the two men had spoken at any length since Weaver departed McCain's presidential campaign in the summer of 2007 as part of a broad staff shakeup. "John McCain always looks forward, always to the next opportunity to help his nation," Weaver said. "This is something all of us should learn." Weaver, who is now working as a political consultant, also brought by former Missouri state treasurer -- and potential Senate candidate -- Sarah Steelman to meet with McCain.

Welcome Quigley: To the surprise of absolutely no one, Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley (D) romped his way to victory in last night's special general election in Illinois' heavily Democratic 5th district. Who is the newest member of Congress? Quigley was elected to 10th district on the Cook County (Chicago) Commission in 1998. He beat back two state senators in the Democratic primary by casting himself as the outsider candidate best positioned to bring change to Washington. (Sound familiar?) Quigley now joins a fascinating lineage of the 5th district from powerful Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski (D) to one-term wonder Mike Flanagan (R) to Rod Blagojevich (D), a man who needs no introduction, to, most recently, Rahm Emanuel (D) who left the seat in late 2008 to take the job as Obama's chief of staff.

A Primary To Remember: In what promises to be one of the most interesting gubernatorial primaries in the country, South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster struck an early blow -- reporting more than $1 million in the bank at the end of March after raising $287,000 in the first three months of 2009. McMaster was an early endorser of and major advocate for Sen. John McCain during the 2000 and 2008 presidential primaries and a number of people who worked with McCain (including lead consultant Richard Quinn) are behind McMaster's candidacy. McMaster's fundraising numbers brought an immediate statement from Rep. Gresham Barrett's gubernatorial campaign in the form of senior adviser Jim Dyke. "Given the current economic conditions, this is a very tough environment for fundraising," said Dyke. "But, we feel confident that we will have the financial resources necessary to compete and win the Republican nomination for Governor." In addition to Dyke, Warren Tomkins and Terry Sullivan -- consultants who worked for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in South Carolina in 2008 -- are working with Barrett. The third candidate in the race is Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, the best known but most lightly regarded (in Palmetto State political circles) of the trio. Bauer, of course, has his own consultant guru in the form of Rod Shealy, the subject of a profile in Harper's back in 2007. (Yes, political consultants do rule the GOP world in South Carolina.) It's impossible not to see the governor's primary next year as a proxy fight between the various warring factions of political consultants in South Carolina and as a warmup to that state's critical presidential primary in 2012. (For a full list of the best primaries in 2010, check out our Friday Line on the topic.)

Click It!: Sick of Twitter and all the long, overly verbose tweets it produces? Slate brings you Flutter.

(More) Clinton Alumni Network: Thanks to a tipster who reminded us that the gubernatorial campaign of Terry McAuliffe in Virginia is filled with former Clinton campaign aides. The race is being managed by Mike Henry who served as deputy campaign manager for Clinton. Henry's deputy on McAuliffe's campaign is field operative Jackie Bray who helped run the field operation for Clinton in several primary states. And, Mo Elleithee, traveling spokesman for Clinton, is serving as a senior adviser to the McAuliffe effort. McAuliffe himself was Clinton's campaign chair and chief cheerleader.

Say What?: "I don't think he is out of line, but he is dead wrong." -- Vice President Joe Biden to CNN's Gloria Borger in response to former veep Dick Cheney's comment that the Obama administration had made the country less safe.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 8, 2009; 5:05 AM ET
Categories:  Cheat Sheet Share This:  E-Mail | Technorati | Del.icio.us | Digg | Stumble Previous: Ill-Sen: Giannoulias Makes a Fundraising Splash
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Comments

Go Charlie go!

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | April 8, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately gay marriage is still a fairly big issue to the bigots and Republicans seeking anything to try to win votes in future elections. Those who oppose same sex marriage are on the wrong side of morality and history, as were those who supported slavery, semi-slavery after the Civil War, segregation, denying women the right to vote and laws not allowing interracial marriage.

Most people twenty or thirty years from now will wonder why many people in the contemporary era were so intolerant and prejudiced against gay, as well as transgendered people. They will look upon the bigots as most people today consider those people forty or fifty years ago who were opposed to civil rights or legal equality for women.

The same areas of the country legalizing gay marriage are the same states where the anti-slavery and abolition movements were strongest, New England, the upper Mid-west.
Gay marriage will probably be legal within fifteen years on the west coast, except Alaska, and most of the north.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | April 8, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

This poor sick Republic is headed for the trash can and probably won't be around in another 50 years . . . so who cares who marries whom? Live it up before it's too late.

Posted by: rplat | April 8, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Well Jay, I guess people who don't experience sexuality the way you do should be celibate in order to avoid offending people who experience sexuality your way.

There *are* people who should shut down their sexuality. Child molesters come to mind. Try as we might in these debates, we ought not forget those precious mother's sons.

But is "being homosexual" something that a person should shut down, like an urge to molest children? Or is it something to which a person should say "yes, I'm tired of being put down for this".

I vote for the latter choice. But I don't buy the whole agenda.

Posted by: Miss_Hogynist | April 8, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

for certain purposes.Women have three and men have two.Only two orifices are common to both- mouth and Anal orifice. Women have Vagina, a After all, anatomically, humans are given certain organs specially designed for SEX only. There are health hazards associated with oral or anal sex, which carry higher risk than vaginal sex.The choices are there, but risk and responsibility have to be taken and weighed.Arguments of choice is only political and our constitution is political document, which is incorporated in every Democracy in the world.
Same sex marriage, certainly prevents procreation between male couples- they should be willing to abstinate from sex as
it leads to societal survival. This practice is wide spread in European countries and they have to import MAN Power to run there countries.When I use the word MAN POWER, I am not excluding women. is this the moral of the story.For women, options are there with a price TAG. Your State legitimises or not,your choice should be weighed against the society you live in.Health care costs are increasing alarmingly and there are millions who cannot afford to pay for their health care- the BURDEN falls on the society, which includes both heterosexual and homosexual couples- Ask this question to yourself, leaving out the politics and act responsibly. Current spate of gay couples brings in use of illegal drugs- again a health care and law enforcement issue.Good luck, you gay couples, excercise your personal choices.

Posted by: jayrkay | April 8, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

for certain purposes.Women have three and men have two.Only two orifices are common to both- mouth and Anal orifice. Women have Vagina, a After all, anatomically, humans are given certain organs specially designed for SEX only. There are health hazards associated with oral or anal sex, which carry higher risk than vaginal sex.The choices are there, but risk and responsibility have to be taken and weighed.Arguments of choice is only political and our constitution is political document, which is incorporated in every Democracy in the world.
Same sex marriage, certainly prevents procreation between male couples- they should be willing to abstinate from sex as
it leads to societal survival. This practice is wide spread in European countries and they have to import MAN Power to run there countries.When I use the word MAN POWER, I am not excluding women. is this the moral of the story.For women, options are there with a price TAG. Your State legitimises or not,your choice should be weighed against the society you live in.Health care costs are increasing alarmingly and there are millions who cannot afford to pay for their health care- the BURDEN falls on the society, which includes both heterosexual and homosexual couples- Ask this question to yourself, leaving out the politics and act responsibly. Current spate of gay couples brings in use of illegal drugs- again a health care and law enforcement issue.Good luck, you gay couples, excercise your personal choices.

Posted by: jayrkay | April 8, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Let me play Devil's Advocate for same sex marriage, using an argument stronger than "diversity".

Human sexuality goes right to the core of a person. If a person's core is socially prohibited, they become socially and psychologically deformed - among other things, by internalizing other peoples' condemnation of his or her inmost, truest self.

There is no good reason to do this to people, who only seek to legitemate their honest expression of intimacy.

To drive a person into the closet is to turn what would otherwise be normal behavior into aberrant behavior - to drive them into multiple quickie relations in public bathrooms and such, and denial of their inmost desires when those are made public.

I am partial to this argument, not opposed to it.

Nevertheless, I still want to know, with regard to same sex marriage: What's the empirical evidence about the impact on children of growing up in this environment.

Hopefully this demonstrates that a case for same sex marriage can be made without reference to the cognitively empty term, "diversity".

Posted by: Miss_Hogynist | April 8, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

mateosf, "Diversity" is a vacuous God.

What's most insidious about it is that people who use that term in arguments never want to spell out what they mean.

If another person says, "Look, it means this, and that's horrible", they say, "No, that's not what it means."

What rule of thumb do you use, to decide that a cop killer is not exercising "diversity"? Can you spell it out?

What rule of thumb do you use, to decide that a child molester is not just a diverse expression of human sexuality? Can you spell it out?

Or would you rather hide behind your inarticulacy?

Posted by: Miss_Hogynist | April 8, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Miss Hogynist:

""Diversity" is a vacuous God, capable of embracing child molesters, wife beaters and cop killers under its immense umbrella."

You eliminate yourself from serious conversation with statements like this.

There is no culture on earth that "embraces child molesters, wife beaters and cop killers."

Well, except perhaps the Catholic Church (child molesters), right-wing religious movements (wife beaters - Southern Baptists, Sharia) and rabid right-wing gun nuts (cop killers - Timothy McVeigh, Richard Poplowski).

So, I stand corrected: by allowing hard-core Republicans to participate in our society, we are "embracing child molesters, wife beaters and cop killers."

I agree that we probably need to do something about that. Somehow, I don't see how outlawing gay marriage addresses any of these issues - perhaps you can help me see the connection?

Posted by: mateosf | April 8, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Newt and Mitt bloviating on what ought to constitute marriage in our society is just funny as all heck.

Posted by: pikaart | April 8, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Don't care. But last I checked Exodus spoke of Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve. Just saying...

This is the kind of distracting issue that BHO constantly warns about. The corporate media, of course, loves this stuff so the public won't pay attention to the crazy, indefensible concentration of US wealth (a CEO makes more money in one day than an average wage earner makes in one year--think about it) and the lack of universal health care.

Don't get sucked in by these irrelevant media-created controversies.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | April 8, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

I would like - as a 2008 Obama voter - to once again raise the question:

When a self-interested social group such a feminists or advocates of same sex marriage advocate for their "rights" (to abort unborn children, to adopt children), is it morally wrong to ask, "How may this proposed right of some impact others?"

Is it morally wrong to ask for empirical evidence in answer to that question, before deciding the issue?

"Diversity" is a vacuous God, capable of embracing child molesters, wife beaters and cop killers under its immense umbrella.

I do not mean to compare same sex marriage to any of those disgusting classes of human beings. I mean to question an argument.

Posted by: Miss_Hogynist | April 8, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

I think the most important trend to watch is that most Americans under the age of 40 don't give a damn who gets married to whom.

There are several reasons this is important, and one reason why it's very dangerous: the important reasons - first, it tracks the broader trend in American life away from homogeneity and toward diversity; second, as diversity grows, younger generations become more tolerant of/less reactionary to differences of biology (sexual orientation), culture (religion), and lifestyle (etc.); and finally, the clear stances of our political parties on these issues give Americans a clear choice when it comes to the voting booth.

Over time, what this means is that the Republican party will continue to shrink and grow less relevant; its core supporters, largely dominated by angry and relatively poorly informed white men, will grow angrier and more poorly informed as they continue to loose ground to the majority.

This is where the danger comes in, and I really hope the Post starts looking into this: Republican leaders are inciting violence within this angry, well-armed and poorly-informed group (Michelle Bachman calling for "armed resistance," James Inhofe accusing Obama of "weakening the military," etc.)

I'll bet Chris Cillizza dinner at Indique that, in the next few months, we'll see more outbreaks of violence from this dangerous group as the GOP continues its downward spiral, and challenge him and his colleagues to start investigating the cultural implications of the GOP's active call to arms against Americans' push for more freedom and equality.

While the dominant, majority progressive movement will make great gains in the next few years, the danger of violent attacks from right-wing GOP accolytes only increases as they become more isolated and - yes, more heavily armed. Where are the Post's reporters on this story? We've had a few cases of politically-inspired gun violence in the past few weeks, yet not a single mention in the Post.


Anyone? Bueller? ... Bueller?

Posted by: mateosf | April 8, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

"Can someone please explain to me why this is not a simple issue of "equal rights" or civil rights. "

Because people opposed to gay marriage do not see gay people as equal humans.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 8, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

TheBabeNemo, I'm fool enough to take up that question.

Freedom of Religion in 1789 meant, "The state will not prefer one religion to another." This was a hard earned insight after centuries of wars of religion in Europe. It became clear to educated people with no skin in the game that the questions which divide religions cannot be solved by the use of reason alone, and ought not to be adjudicated by force. This, in the interest of allowing people to live in peace.

On the other hand, many of the USA's founders believed that in the absence of any belief (on the part of most voters) in an authority higher than the individual's self-interest, the experiment of government by the people must fail for lack of morality on the part of the people. Washington famously believed this.

The point of "freedom of religion" was that government may not compel any particular form of this belief, essential though such belief in some form may be to the maintenance of a well-ordered society.

Were government to compel it, it would only produce disorder, violence and wars at least as terrible as the disorder to be feared in the absence of any belief that morality is not simply a matter of "sticking up for myself".

I hope that counts as a useful and sincere reply.

Posted by: Miss_Hogynist | April 8, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse


it is basically an issue of equal and civil rights for the citizens of this country.

my boss just told me.....
to better understand the separation of church and state issue, one must read the letters of Washington, Hamilton, and I think he said Madison--to understand what the founding fathers meant by it.

and i am thinking....
uh, okay, what did they mean by it??
((hearty laughs))
aside from what the phrase means when one says it....
so what does it mean?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 8, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

cgillard wrote, in part, "Actually it is time to begin considering the disaster of the over-consumptive nuclear family. We could use larger boned units for financial security and to decrease the silent abuse behind closed doors. It would share a family among more people and help and contribute to controling population growth,."

This is an argument with which I've long agreed. I fear that it's impractical so long as "labor market mobility" is one of our society's highest priorities and an imperative to which breadwinners must bend under pain of unemployment so prolonged as to make a person virtually unemployable.

Posted by: Miss_Hogynist | April 8, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Can someone please explain to me why this is not a simple issue of "equal rights" or civil rights. We allow men and women to marry so why not gay or lesbians? All I hear is this shrill from the religious right saying against "god's word". So what, we are not a theocracy. I have no problem with people who believe that believing it, but I don't think they should be allow to cram their beliefs down everyone else's throat.If two people want to get "married", fine go for it. What is the problem.!!

Posted by: hmrc1 | April 8, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Actually it is time to begin considering the disaster of the over-consumptive nuclear family. We could use larger boned units for financial security and to decrease the silent abuse behind closed doors. It would share a family among more people and help and contribute to controling population growth,. It would allow shared intimacy and diversity in a non-destructive way for families. It would provide assistance rather than substance abuse, lessen divorce trauma financially, there would be less risk of losing security and it would help weather times of layoffs and might be a good environment for foster kids too and have less focus on natural parenthood. The merged family still only has two adults for lots of children so this would be much better with more adults with a variety of skills and less children

Posted by: cgillard | April 8, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Aside from the political ins and outs of the issue, the strategic and tactical implications for the partisans, to my mind same sex marriage raises one overwhelming question, on which evidence is still largely absent.

That question is, "Is it good for children to be raised in this context?"

I say this because I think that equal adoption rights for same sex couples will follow upon social recognition of same sex marriage as surely as thunder follows lightning.

I say it with some reluctance, because the same question was raised during my adolescence concerning interracial marriage, and to my mind the verdict has long been in, and favorable, on that issue.

So I'm left with an empirical question: will children adopted by gay couples suffer because gay activists have won this right and something in human evolution or human nature makes it an unfit environment for parenting? Will they suffer only because some unjustified prejudice against gays will likely endure till the end of time - and as that prejudice becomes a fringe prejudice, will they suffer in effect not at all (which I take to be the case of children of interracial marriage in the USA today)?

I'm a hesitant moderate on this issue. I hear one group of people clamoring for their rights (those who would form same sex marriages), and I see another, politically silent group which might be harmed by the extension of this right to the clamoring group.

In that sense, the issue is akin to that of abortion, to which I remain opposed.

Posted by: Miss_Hogynist | April 8, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

earth to DDAWD.....
the Declaration of Independence most certainly does have to do with US law.
The colonies had to declare independence before they could write the constitution.
and of course--it's that one line that always comes back to haunt:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these, are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 8, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

"the US constitution cannot be amended for, let's say (for lack of better wording)---
moral issues because of --3 things
1-separation of church and state
2)the Declaration of Independence.
3) -the Bill of Rights Amendment One:
Article [I.]\13\"

Also, point 2 has nothing to do with US law. It was basically us saying that we didn't want to be a part of the Empire anymore.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 8, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

chatvert: hey you *&%*(U&YF})NSG:<N)&&
rahm swears???
NO WAY
)_%&{JL:JK_(&*%^T%^$%$%^&*((

i am actually very happy with the iowa and vermont decisions.
i say this because of the respect for our founding documents.
lately, to me, it seems as though, as a collective society, we are/were venturing farther and farther away from the true intent of our US Constitution and our Declaration of Independence.

i do not like "law" telling us how to live our lives ---- in essence, so we can "get to heaven"....
((hearty smiles))))

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 8, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

"Chatvert –

You are so right but couldn’t the issue of age and consent eventually be overturned by legislative or judicial means?"

This sounds more like an argument for the elimination of government than for the elimination of gay marriage.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 8, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

"a good research project on this is
Prohibition of 1929 and the journey that that "amendment" took for something like 8 years before it was repealed."


Prohibition is not an 'amendment' in quotes, it is an amendment, period. The repeal of that amendment took another amendment. Changing the Constitution (i.e. amending it) is a provision defined within the Constitution. The only Constitutional test of an amendment is whether it passes via the process defined by the Constitution.

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 8, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Is gay marriage an issue?

Nah, most of America think it's an ok idea - except for the very old America-hating Republicants, that is, but they're such a small minority that only the WaPo pays attention to them.

Posted by: WillSeattle | April 8, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

"the US constitution cannot be amended for, let's say (for lack of better wording)---
moral issues because of --3 things
1-separation of church and state
2)the Declaration of Independence.
3) -the Bill of Rights Amendment One:
Article [I.]\13\
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or
abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; of the right
of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Technically, point 1 is a subset of point 3.

Also, the Constitution isn't written in stone. It can be changed, even the Bill of Rights.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 8, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

@leapin: Theoretically, yes. Will it ever happen? Highly unlikely. It's less likely than Rahm Emanuel quitting profanity, let's put it that way. :)

Besides, consent is the basis of all contractual law - whether getting married or signing a "dangerous activity" waiver in which one agrees not to sue if injured. Destroying the issue of consent would undermine the system - which, like I said, is not going to happen.

Posted by: Chatvert | April 8, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse


a good research project on this is
Prohibition of 1929 and the journey that that "amendment" took for something like 8 years before it was repealed.


Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 8, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Chatvert –

You are so right but couldn’t the issue of age and consent eventually be overturned by legislative or judicial means?

Posted by: leapin | April 8, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

I wonder what Gingrich and Romney think about the Vermont gay marriage. Not pushed through by the courts, but through the legislature (even over a veto by the governor)

By the way, the Governor of California promised to take the gay marriage issue to the courts if Prop 8 didn't pass.

Conservatives love activist judges. Just depends on which side they are activists for.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 8, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

bsimon:
"By definition, if you're amending the constitution, you are changing something's constitutionality".

one must determine that the change is constitutional.
--that the amendment is constitutional to do...follow?
however, in determining that the amendment is constitutional....this action may just bring to bear that the original "something" was unconstitutional in the first place...
and therefore , makes the amendment irrelevant.

does that make more sense?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 8, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

@leapin: Regarding the 'age' question: The legal concept blocking that (and marrying dogs and what have you) is the issue of 'consent'. Children are not legally able to be married because they are, in the eyes of the law, incapable of giving consent. The age of consent varies from state to state - in Virginia, for example, it's 16.

However, being of the same gender (and above the age of consent) does not prevent two people from consenting to marriage.

Posted by: Chatvert | April 8, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse


no...i didn't say "amendment".

my other post was that it is unconstitutional to bring up the argument of amending the constitution for this issue
....based on (in short)---
the first amendment
the declaration of independence
and the 14th amendment.

amendments to our US constitution have to be put forth in bills.
bills have to go through rules committees for constitutionality.

i think you misread my original post.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 8, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

bsimon1-

“Certainly, we don't stop people from creating multi-person relationships outside of marriage. What is society's compelling interest in keeping them from calling it marriage?’

Right, there should be no compelling interest in restricting marriage in terms of numbers, gender, or age.

Posted by: leapin | April 8, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

bsimon is correct about the process for constitutional amendments, of course.

Duffman, there are traditional limits to Full Faith and Credit, as when what is permitted in one state is prohibited in [or against the public policy of] another. Thus a gambling debt enforceable in NV is not enforceable in TX.

The Supremes ruled on polygamy in Reynolds in the late 19th C. I do not think they will rush to revisit it, although it was weakly reasoned.
Will they extend Loving v. VA to homosexual marriages? I would guess so, eventually. But I do not think it will be very soon.
-----------------------
There are concepts in judicial review that do not have to do with conservative or liberal politics. "Activists" will closely scrutinize laws for arguments of unconstitutionality to support their political agendas - it so happens that the most activist of the Supremes is a conservative, J. Scalia. "Restrainists" will look for arguments to uphold legislative actions, wherever possible. "Minimalists" will be open to slow change. Most practicing lawyers are minimalists because [we] like to be able to predict results to our clients. We recognize that law is not immutable, of course.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | April 8, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

"all bills have to go through Rules Committees. They were made to review constitutionality of said bills before they hit the floor."

Your other post said constitutional amendment. Are you saying that these rules committees can kill constitutional amendments based on their unconstitutionality? That doesn't make any sense. By definition, if you're amending the constitution, you are changing something's constitutionality.

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 8, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

"I think we can all agree that we need to finalize this issue and move forward to legalizing polygamy."

If people want to enjoy & share the privileges & obligations of marriage in groups of more than two, I don't think the state (i.e. government & us) has any legal interest in restricting them from doing so. Certainly, we don't stop people from creating multi-person relationships outside of marriage. What is society's compelling interest in keeping them from calling it marriage?

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 8, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

bsimon:
nope....not with something called the Rules Committee.
wash dc has one and so does every state.

all bills have to go through Rules Committees. They were made to review constitutionality of said bills before they hit the floor.

which brings up a good point on this.
arizona, for example, last election--
ruled marriage between and man and woman.
went to the people. voted on
yes....it is between only a man and woman.
however, why didn't the rules committee of our state legislative body "catch" the unconstitutionality of it????
i do not know.

Iowa and Vermont just showed us this.
You could say that Iowa and Vermont were acting as "big rules committees" within their own states.
follow?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 8, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

babenemo writes
"the US constitution cannot be amended for ... moral issues because of --3 things"

BZZZTT!!!

Ms Nemo, the US Constitution can be amended to say anything we damn well please, as long as it goes properly through Congress & is ratified by the states (of course, those criteria, too, could be amended).

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 8, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I guess it is trumping the military dont ask dont tell... gays in the military cant even come out.

Posted by: newbeeboy | April 8, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

vbhoomes and others,

The actual role of the judicial branch is to do exactly what was done in this case, it is to at times overrule what is popular or is charged with politics to ensure that our laws and Constitution are applied consistently. Come right out and say it would you--- you simply don't like the idea of gay people marrying though you know it will not really affect you except in your imagination- at least you'd be arguing in good faith (wrong, but in good faith).

To imagine that a ruling enabling consenting adults to enter a legally valid and recognized relationship with all of it's benefits and risks (eg. divorce) as an example of "activism" is foolish. To punt on the responsibility to enforce equality principals and allow voters to be scared, cajoled and otherwise persuaded to discriminate against other citizens is my definition of "activism".

Do we really have the time or money as a society to devote to taking away rights from minority groups?

Posted by: Rickster623 | April 8, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I wish I could care about this issue, at least I think I wish I could care about ... yeah.

I sure do enjoy the fear and loathing of the religious fanatics though. Two snaps for the gays for doing that to them!

Yeah, sure, there are real issues of fairness and morality and all that stuff, but you couldn't pay to see the christians freak out like this! Not in a million years ... hahhahahhhhhHHHHHHAAAAHAHA

Posted by: khote14 | April 8, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

leapin:
my sunbathing debacle....
oh brother leapin......what a mess it turned out to be--but i can't explain the case in print...(tee hee)
arizona has terrible laws that invade personal privacy--ever so slightly.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 8, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

okay----

Why should homosexual couples be denied equal protection under the law (as determined in the 1th amendment to the Constitution of the US) when compared to heterosexual couples?

based on the foundational documents of this country, they should not.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 8, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

((thebabe falls off chair laughing))

i mean
sunbathing


How long did it take the arresting officer to write the ticket?

Posted by: leapin | April 8, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

"Two gay adults marrying is not qualitatively different from two heterosexuals marrying.

More than two people marrying is quite entirely different."

Polygamy isn't so much of a qualitative issue as it is a quantitative one, but still your point is valid :)

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 8, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

and let's not forget the impact of same sex marriage on the
abortion issue too.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 8, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I think we can all agree that we need to finalize this issue and move forward to legalizing polygamy. If a person is in a loving polygamist relationship this needs to be legalized and affirmed, even more so because polygamists are a minority and should not be dictated to by the majority.

==

Two gay adults marrying is not qualitatively different from two heterosexuals marrying.

More than two people marrying is quite entirely different.

Of course, if you could martial a real argument you would not be reduced to tossing out distractions like this. We readers can only conclude that you haven't any real argument to offer

Posted by: chrisfox8 | April 8, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

"I think we can all agree that we need to finalize this issue and move forward to legalizing polygamy."

This argument is a strawman, there's a whole host of legal and logistical that prevent polygamy from being a legally viable institution right now.

That said, it's an issue that has nothing to do with the discussion at hand. If you don't want to marry a member of the same sex, then don't. However, I have yet to hear a good argument as to why exactly same-sex couples should be denied equal protection under the law for their unions.

Would you like to take a stab at it? I know ad hominem, non sequiters, and strawmen are *easier*, but I'd love to hear what you actually think on the issue.

Why should homosexual couples be denied equal protection under the law (as determined in the 1th amendment to the Constitution of the US) when compared to heterosexual couples?

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 8, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

vt--(sorry-got it wrong before)

yes, technically, states making "state law and rulings" on the books already---
will have to repeal.
based on the fact of the UNconstitutionality of the initial law.

this will go to the supreme court because you know the repulsives in DC will NOT let the states decide.
and someone was mentioning how "by making the argument" --you lost the argument. Get what I mean?
So all this "let the states decide" which is so prevalent around DC is going down the tubes as we speak.
this issue, they don't want the states to decide...however, they cannot amend the US constitution.

and leapin brings up a good point - polygamy may just be next.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 8, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Why should straight people be the only ones burned by marriage ??? Let them share the pain! LOL LOL

Posted by: snowbucks | April 8, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

"however, it is unconstitutional for a state to amend their constitution for it----since all states are under the umbrella of the US Constitution."

Oh, I get what you're saying, that's interesting.

Here's the thing, at the end of the day it's going to come down to the federal government. One of the responsibilities of the government as outlined by the US Constitution is the enforcement of contracts between states. I.E., if a contracts made in one state, it's the responsibility of the other states to honor that contract, and the role of the fedgov to enforce that. Marriage is a contract.

If two dudes get married in VT, TX is legally obligated to honor that contract. Now the 1996(?) Defense of Marriage Act states that this is not the case and that Texas does not have to honor that contract, but I argue that DOMA is Unconstitutional and have always wondered why it's never been challenged in tSCotUS.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 8, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I think we can all agree that we need to finalize this issue and move forward to legalizing polygamy. If a person is in a loving polygamist relationship this needs to be legalized and affirmed, even more so because polygamists are a minority and should not be dictated to by the majority.

Posted by: leapin | April 8, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Move over global warming, this is the new issue that will tie the GOP trolls into knots, posting frantically over and over about marrying dogs and how homosexuality is "unnatural."

Let's see .. their party is wrong about everything, out of power for the foreseeable future, the economy is a wreck and we're mired in two pointless wars .. the President is a black former community organizer, and what are they obsessing over?

What else? Gay sexuality.

Given the start intellectual gap between the pros and the antis I would say that proponents of gay marriage have nothing to worry about.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | April 8, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

vd:
the basic concept is this:

the US constitution cannot be amended for, let's say (for lack of better wording)---
moral issues because of --3 things
1-separation of church and state
2)the Declaration of Independence.
3) -the Bill of Rights Amendment One:
Article [I.]\13\
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or
abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; of the right
of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

and US Constitution Article XIV.
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.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 8, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

(hearty laughs)))

hey, you know what.
arizona is one state that just recently amended its AZ Constitution to decree that marriage is between a man and a woman.
it was passed.

however, it is unconstitutional for a state to amend their constitution for it----since all states are under the umbrella of the US Constitution.

this just hit me...
arizona is going to have to repeal.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 8, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

"so again, it is unconstitutional to bring forth an argument to amend the constitution on the same sex marriage issue"

You keep saying this, and it doesn't make any sense. What are you talking about?

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 8, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

"The will of the people spoke in that state."

The "will of the people" in CT, MA, and IA spoke when they enacted laws recognizing marriage as an institution with legal protections therein. The "will of the people" spoke when they wrote their state constitutions to guarantee all people equal protection under the law.

The "Will of the People" spoke a long time ago and decided that in no free society should the tyranny of the majority be allowed to dictate rights to the minority.

You don't get to vote on who gets what rights.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 8, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

yeppers...
separation of church and state.
along with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

so again, it is unconstitutional to bring forth an argument to amend the constitution on the same sex marriage issue.
with states, it would be unconstitutional to bring forth an argument to amend the STATE constitutions as well.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 8, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Despite the fact I disagree with legalizing same-sex marriage, congrats to Vermont for proceeding the correct way to allowing such unions. The will of the people spoke in that state. The same cannot be said for Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa. Those states' highest courts made a mockery of democracy, overstepped its bounds and trampled on the right of the people to decide such a critical social issue.

The showdown is now set up for a date in the U.S. Supreme Court on the question. They will have to decide because most states will not accept as valid same sex marriages. Who wins? The vast majority of states or the small minority of jurisdictions? We'll see.

Posted by: blhendrix | April 8, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

scenario:
my significant other and myself pulled into a parking lot and took a handicap spot.
we got out of the car and walked across the parking lot, smoking a cigarette and having a beer.
we made it to the light to cross the street to the bar, but walked when it said don't walk.
we threw our cigs down on the ground and pitched our beer cans in the grass before we went in the bar.
we flashed a fake ID at the door man
and proceeded to get loaded for 2 hours in the bar.
we came out of the bar, jay walked to our car parked across the street, and got in it and drove.

how many federal laws did we break?
how many state laws did we break?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 8, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

"Christian, Jewish and Moslem texts all state that marriage is between a man and a woman."

Can you find these exact words in each of these texts? I didn't think so.

Even if this was true, we have separation of church and state.

Posted by: jake14 | April 8, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Charlie fix is sooo cute!!!!!! Chris please post more pictures!

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | April 8, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Iowa did not vote for gay marriage. Those most opposed to it are the same people who show up at the Iowa Republican caucuses in January. If Iowans take it easy and accept the courts ruling as unloved, but legally correct then no big deal. If, however, Iowa Republicans try and amend the constitution (to provide unequal protection of the laws) then the fight will be culminating about the time of said 2012 caucuses. If in their righteous froth they catapult the most conservative candidate (Palin or Huckabee) to the fore, what are Republican chances then? The winner of Iowa isn't necessarily the party's nominee, but the rabidness of an anti-gay Iowa caucus could put off enough votes to help the Democrats in what could be a still hurting economy.

Posted by: caribis | April 8, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Hooray for Vermont and Iowa! They get it. When will the rest of the country wake up?

Posted by: Cleareye | April 8, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Look at the faces of the people pictured for this story. How could anyone be threatened by that? This is the Loving's case all over again. Unbelievable people still have to fight to be together, when others can take it for granted.

Go, Vermont!

Posted by: sarahabc | April 8, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

when one thinks of this issue....and the impact---
you can bring an argument up for many of the current "opinionated" laws that are indeed law right now.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 8, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

It appears to me that the right-wing has been instrumental in advancing the cause of gay marriage by choosing to take what was then a issue completely off the radar of political debate, and pushing it as a wedge issue.

There was no drive FOR gay marriage, until after the right wing launched a drive AGAINST a then non-existent "threat".

But forcing it into the forefront of public awareness started getting tens millions of people to reflect on the essential issue of fairness, and guess what, the essential fairness of the idea is starting to win the day.

If gay marriage becomes the order of the day in most of these 50 states, the right wing can congratulate themselves on advancing a hitherto neglected area of equal rights.

Posted by: careysub | April 8, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

((thebabe falls off chair laughing))

i mean
sunbathing

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 8, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse


well ---examples?

smoking in public

bathing nude in your backyard. i actually got a ticket for it, like Jennifer Aniston did.


Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 8, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

@rpixley220: VTDuffman re-evaluated his position when presented with new information, as rational people do - how is that "vacating" his previous position? "My opinion, right or wrong" is not a way to go through life. That said, thank you for your clarification of the subject.

@BruceMcDougall: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Constitutionally, it's a non-issue. Are we to outlaw gay marriage just because some religious people have a problem with it that stems from their beliefs? (Of course, YMMV - and that comment of yours, "Visit America", was frankly patronizing, to both those in the "cloistered belt" and the "America" that you have characterized. Stereotyping and caricaturing is generally frowned upon in a frank discussion of issues.)

Posted by: Chatvert | April 8, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

"I do very much care however about one group of statist freaks telling other people how to live, and legislating that opinion into law."

Examples?

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 8, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

"So at least you're right on the 'created no new laws' point even if you were vacating your previous position..."

I fully admit that I was incorrect on that point. To exclaim "judicial activism" is a misnomer, though I feel. Terms like "legislating from the bench" are also incorrect.

Iowa has laws about marriage. They also had a law banning gay marriage that was ruled by their supremse court to be unconstitutional because it conflicted with their constitutional amendment relating to equal protection under the law. The Iowa SC concluded that according to the state constitution, the laws pertainign to marriage must equally protect homosexuals.

In what way do people consider this "judicial activism?"

---

"Riiight. That's why ultra-liberal California voted it down."

"Ultra-Liberal California," really?

You've never actually been to California, have you?

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 8, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

This independent voter does not care whether gays marry or not, it isn't even on my radar as an issue of concern.
I do very much care however about one group of statist freaks telling other people how to live, and legislating that opinion into law.
Yes, it is possible to be against anti-gay legislation without being pro-gray in one's opinions. Since this issue seems to travel along party lines I can only say the democrats and their statist masters are not going to do well attracting the independent vote.

Posted by: leapin | April 8, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

@spamsux1:
Most polls do show more acceptance of gay marriage in recent years. California was a prime example of the massive power of organized religion (or any large well funded group).

It's also a prime example of why *Rights* aren't meant to be 'voted on'. 'Majority rules' doesn't apply to freedom of speech, why should it apply here?

A Church can quite rightly expel people who speak against them (as can any group). They can't, however, prevent them from speaking *outside* the Church.

So again, is a religious view on same-sex marriage being applied to people who aren't in that religion?

Posted by: rpixley220 | April 8, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

i agree joseph.
abortion and same sex marriage (civil union is probably the language they will use and not use marriage)---
are in the same ballpark.
the issues may be in different "outfields", but the precedents being set by same sex can and probably will be applied to the abortion argument.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 8, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Opponents of abortion rights have correctly pointed out that same-sex marriage rights is the "evil twin" of abortion rights. But not "evil" in the sense of morality. Rather, the cost, financially and otherwise, of opposing same-sex marriage undermines and dilutes efforts to champion other so-called "family values". So, the right's sharpest tacticians have long downplayed opposition to same-sex marriage. It's a classic case of "Bad Idea Jeans."

Posted by: JosephCombs | April 8, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

"Polling suggests voters, in recent years, have become increasingly comfortable with idea."

Riiight. That's why ultra-liberal California voted it down.

Knucklehead

Posted by: spamsux1 | April 8, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

@VTDuffman:

So you've gone from 'Iowa SC legalized nothing' to 'Iowa SC created no laws'.

That's quite a jump backwards. They DID legalize same-sex marriage, or more properly, they made it not illegal.

Since in this country you are free to do what you want *unless* its specifically prohibited, their actions did legalize same-sex marriage. This doesn't require 'new' laws to be created, it simply takes invalidating the law that made same-sex marriage illegal.

So at least you're right on the 'created no new laws' point even if you were vacating your previous position...

Posted by: rpixley220 | April 8, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Is gay marriage still an issue?
Of course its still an issue.
Christian, Jewish and Moslem texts all state that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Only someone in the cloistered belt of Washington or Hollywood would even ask such a question.
Take a trip.
Visit America.

Posted by: BruceMcDougall | April 8, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Article III - The Judicial Branch Note
Section 1 - Judicial powers

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 8, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

thecorinthian:
the first?
it will be a republican male

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 8, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

"Thanks sara1 for illuminating what a pompous and uneducated bore VTDuffman is."

Speaking of bores, I'm getting really bored waiting for you to tell me what you think the role of the judicial branch is. Although, from reading other posts on this blog, it appears that your role is not one of contribution, but rather name-calling and general trolling.

---

"Actually VTDuffman, the Iowa Supreme Court held that the 1998 law defining marriage as between a man and a women violated IOWA's constitution. Effective upon issuance of the procedendo, which happens 21 days from the Courts ruling (4/24/09) gay CIVIL marriage will be legal in Iowa. According to Judge Cady's opinion, which all Iowa Supreme Court Justices concurred in, Iowa's marriage laws "must be interpreted and applied in a manner allowing gay and lesbian people full access to the institution of civil marriage."

Good to know, thanks for the information. That said, I maintain the assertion that the Iowa SC "created" no laws. They interpreted the law as it applied to the Constitution, no? This is the role of the judicial branch, this is what they do. You (not necessarily, you, the universal you) can call it "judicial activism" all you want, but that doesn't actually make it true.

FWIW, thanks sarar for actually contributing to the discussion. That's rare here.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 8, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I wonder what the conservative argument is in this case. Same sex marriage was approved by a legislature and not "activist judges." So which 2012 wannabe is going to be the first to say they just plain don't want two guys marrying each other?

Posted by: thecorinthian | April 8, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Thanks sara1 for illuminating what a pompous and uneducated bore VTDuffman is.

Posted by: vbhoomes | April 8, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

same sex marriage -
states must go along with it.

feds don't want to touch it and the only way they will touch the issue is to
amend the constitution for the amendment that says "no you can't".
however, it is unconstitutional to push for an amendment of the constitution on this issue.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 8, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

"Gay activists (and the mainstream media) must be applauding the legalization of gay marriage in Iowa and Vermont."

I don't beleive that Gay Marriage has been legalized in either Vermont or Iowa. I know for sure that it hasn't in Iowa* * *

Again, the Iowa SC merely overturned the ban on gay marriage as unconstitutional. They legalized nothing. This being the case, the rest of your post is a strawman, you're arguing against something that didn't happen. ***

Posted by: VTDuffman

Actually VTDuffman, the Iowa Supreme Court held that the 1998 law defining marriage as between a man and a women violated IOWA's constitution. Effective upon issuance of the procedendo, which happens 21 days from the Courts ruling (4/24/09) gay CIVIL marriage will be legal in Iowa. According to Judge Cady's opinion, which all Iowa Supreme Court Justices concurred in, Iowa's marriage laws "must be interpreted and applied in a manner allowing gay and lesbian people full access to the institution of civil marriage."

Posted by: sarar1 | April 8, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

This independent voter does not care whether gays marry or not, it isn't even on my radar as an issue of concern.
I do very much care however about one group of religious freaks telling other people how to live, and legislating that opinion into law.

Yes, it is possible to be against anti-gay legislation without being pro-gray in one's opinions. Since this issue seems to travel along party lines I can only say the republicans and their religious masters are not going to do well attracting the independent vote.

Posted by: khote14 | April 8, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Not that that is such a bad thing!

Posted by: johng1 | April 8, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

waalkwriter: Well said.

Posted by: Chatvert | April 8, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

"Where does society have the right to set moral standards?"

Society has the right to set moral standards to the point where said "moral standards" infringe on the constitutionally protected rights of the citizenry.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 8, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

These legal arguments are so GAY!

Posted by: johng1 | April 8, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

"Activist judges who create law based on their personal proclivities instead of the foundational documents of the state and federal governments continue to undermine popular confidence in our governmental institutions."

Actually, the Iowa Supreme Court overturned the gay marriage ban specifically because of the foundational documents of their state (and the country).

"To moronically declare the existence of a right in a document where no such right is enumerated, referenced, or hinted transforms the courtroom into a theater of the absurd"

The right to equal protection under the law is very explicitly spelled out in the 14th amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

The courts were doing their jobs, to label them "Activist" or "ruling on personal proclivities" really just makes you look uninformed.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 8, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

"The proper role of the Judicial Branch has been an on going argument since the founding of our republic."

Your inferiority and anger issues aside, this part of your statement is completely wrong. The role of the Judicial Branch is not only very explicitly spelled out in the Constitution (the founding document of our country), but has been reinforced over the course of 250 years of case law. Our government was founded on a system of checks and balances, with Judicial Review being a key part of that.

So, I'll ask you the same thing I asked the other person who never responded:

If the role of a federal or state supreme court is *not* to review the constitutionality of laws, then what is it?

Your strawman about Roe and Bestiality doesn't apply in this discussion, the Equal Protection Clause isn't analagous to the Right to Privacy because the EPC is very explicitly spelled out in the 14th amendment to the constitution.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 8, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I don't like your legal arguments. These are not activist judges, and they are not as RedState suggests, rewritting the consitution. The consitution gurantees equal rights under the eys of the government, therefore the government cannot tell one group of people they cannot have the same legal rights as another group, despite however popular it might be with the Religious and homophobic population.

Old laws that banned interracial marriages were really popular too, but courts overruled those. Its the same principle, trying to legislate certain demographics from having common legal rights is wrong and against the spirit of this country in everyway and could be turned around to excuse all sorts of other rights and violations against other Demographics. The courts are there specifically to protect the minorities from the tyranny of the majority. That's the point of the judicial system. Its there as a balance of the public demagoguery, ignorance, and prejudice. Its not there to simply roll over to popular opinion.

I find all these desperate and ignorant legal arguments you supporters of these bans make almost comical if they weren't using hypocritical religious views to take rights away from tax-paying American citizens. Really. You use popular furor to amend the law to discriminate against a minority, depriving them of legal rights and singling out a particularly group, which is against the constitution, and then you cry legal foul when its overturned? I'm confused here. The judicial system isn't supposed to know "its place" or bow before your popular opinion they aren't even supposed to acknowledge there personal opinions and beliefs but to do what's right according the law of the US and nothing else, and marriage equality is a major part of that.

Marriage is a just a word in the end, and at its base it means a union of friendship between two people, or a connection between two things, like, "a marriage of minds". You can't foist your redefinition of it on other people, or your religious inclinations. Anybody who wishes to have a commitment to each other, regardless of sex, should be given privelege to same rights as the rest of us. Not to mention these state bans in like Mississippi, they are unconstitutional, flagrantly and have not been overturned for some reason. They refuse to recognize legally marriages performed in other states, which can't be done, individual states cannot deny the legal status given by other states, once it becomes a multi-state issue then it falls under the jurisprudence of the federal government.

Posted by: waalkwriter | April 8, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

The entire article discusses gay marriage as a case of judicial activism. The fact that no judges were involved in Vermont is mentioned then ignored. This is very odd.

Posted by: rjw88 | April 8, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

"The issue that resonates with most amercans is not if Gays can marry but who decides. I believe gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry but that decision needs to made through the ballot box or through out state representatives. A couple of judges should not be allowed to make such a significant ruling that reorders our social makeup. Not a real big fan of Jefferson but he was right about warning against judicial tyrany. The californain people decided for better or worse to exclude gay marriage through the State Constitution. Now their State Supreme is going to rule that only they can decide what's in the State Constitition. That is truly scary and is at that point we cease to be a democracy."

Pedantic point 1: This is actually a republic, not a direct democracy. We democratically elect our representatives, but we do not get to decide what they do once in office.

Pedantic point 2: The Supreme Court case Marbury v. Madison established the power of the courts to have judicial review - for the purposes of this case, the courts can review the constitutionality of legislation.

Pedantic point 3: You say that a few judges shouldn't be allowed to make such a decision that drastically reorders our "social makeup"? How different would this country be if Brown v. Board of Education hadn't come to court?

Posted by: Chatvert | April 8, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Activist judges who create law based on their personal proclivities instead of the foundational documents of the state and federal governments continue to undermine popular confidence in our governmental institutions. To moronically declare the existence of a right in a document where no such right is enumerated, referenced, or hinted transforms the courtroom into a theater of the absurd. Our courts declare, "the emperor has no clothes", and when the court insists that all shall praise the emperor's clothes or be liable to the law's penalties, they set the stage for civil unrest.

Posted by: DoTheRightThing | April 8, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Oh vtduffman your arrogance is so unappealing and undeserved. The proper role of the Judicial Branch has been an on going argument since the founding of our republic. But since your such a brainiac, I guess the argument is over. You embarass yourself and are to silly know it. To flesh out your conception of the Supreme court. If they ruled 5 to 4 that Beastality was unconstitional because it violated the right to privacy(see Roe vs Wade)then you would be okay with that. Where does society have the right to set moral standards? This debate will continue regardless of your superior knowledge that us dummy's are so in awe of.

Posted by: vbhoomes | April 8, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I'm hoping that they allow it because the next stop will be to drop these nonsenical prohibitions against bestiality. I love my sheep and they love me. The the only thing that is keeping us apart is self-restraint and the law.

Posted by: JoStalin | April 8, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

This column has really evolved since the end of the election, making it an even better source of political news. I like the multiple links provided in the White House Cheat Sheet. The baby is really cute, Chris. As much as I respect the Clinton campaign staffers, I think the way Terry McAuliffe conducted himself during makes him a poor choicer for governor.

Posted by: jameshauser | April 8, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

"...exacerbated by the actions of the Iowa Supreme Court and legislative bodies in Vermont and the District. Evangelical Christians are tired of any group of humans - be they judges, legislatures or councils - messing with what they view as an institution God defined..."

So first, it was for the "people" to decide but now, the people's elected officials can't decide???

If you are religiously against gay marriage, your church/temple/mosque etc. doesn't have to marry them, just as they have the right NOT to marry any straight couple who doesn't fit the particular view of/qualification for religious marriage.

Posted by: jk_newhard | April 8, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

"Gay activists (and the mainstream media) must be applauding the legalization of gay marriage in Iowa and Vermont."

I don't beleive that Gay Marriage has been legalized in either Vermont or Iowa. I know for sure that it hasn't in Iowa, and I'm unfamiliar with the goings-on in Vermont.

Again, the Iowa SC merely overturned the ban on gay marriage as unconstitutional. They legalized nothing. This being the case, the rest of your post is a strawman, you're arguing against something that didn't happen.

The courts are "pushing" nothing. They are doing their job - ruling on the constituionality of laws passed by (in this case) the state. If you object to a State Supreme Court ruling on the Contitutionality of laws passed in that state, then what do you believe the job of the State Supreme Court to be?

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 8, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Gay activists (and the mainstream media) must be applauding the legalization of gay marriage in Iowa and Vermont. But the gay marriage issue is being pushed by the courts, not the voters. I still believe the majority of conservative and independent voters are NOT for the re-definition of traditional marriage. The only way forward for this is for the voters themselves to weigh in. If it is perceived that the judicial system alone is the "redefiner" of marriage, then there will be a significant backlash among conservative, independent, and even moderate voters. California is object lesson number 1 on this.

Posted by: finishingres | April 8, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

vbhoomes, I respect you personal opposition to any judicial role in enforcing the Equal Protection Clause in these cases, even though I strongly disagree with it.

The problem, however, is that the vast majority of people who get incense about gay marriage are not outraged because of judicial activism. They are incensed because they are prejudiced, and clever GOP hack, who probably secretly supports gay marriage, comes along and whips them into a hate-mongering lather by stoking those prejudices. What was the most influential argument in California? That homosexuals will teach your little children about homosexuality in public schools. That is nothing but a classic appeal to hysterical prejudice about gays "recruiting" and molesting kids.

Know that your "judicial activism" objection, while genuine for you perhaps, has become, for others, a code word for antigay prejudice, just like "welfare Queen" was nothing but coded racism.

Think about it. If you support democratic authorization of gay marriage, you should have OPPOSED Prop. 8 in California. While the Court put the issue on the public agenda, the VOTE on Prop. 8 WAS the opportunity to give democratic approval to gay marriage. Voting NO did nothing to punish any activist judges. Voting NO simply discriminated against gay people. WHEN YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO VOTE, IT IS MANIPULATIVE AND EVASIVE TO SAY VOTE AGAINST SAME-SEX MARRIAGE TO PUNISH SOME COURT. THAT ****IS**** THE OPPORTUNITY FOR DEMOCRATIC APPROVAL OF SAME-SEX MARRIAGE.

So, in the end, your grand distinction between judicial ruling and legislative approval collapses. If one SUPPORTS gay marriage as a policy matter, it makes NO SENSE to vote for an anti-gay lawmaker or executive in order to somehow get back at a court. The ONLY way your distinction provides a workable basis for casting a vote is if one is voting to REMOVE the judge from the court.

Posted by: uh_huhh | April 8, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

"Evangelical Christians are tired of any group of humans - be they judges, legislatures or councils - messing with what they view as an institution God defined."

My church tells me that God approves of gay marriage.

So who are you to deny me that religious freedom?

Or does religious freedom exist only for you?

Posted by: HillMan | April 8, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

It is absolute astonishing to me that The Fix never ONCE even hints that it might be remotely relevant to ask whether demonizing gay people--which is exactly what the GOP did in 2004, on a near-daily basis--should be ACCEPTABLE, EVEN IF EFFECTIVE? Does The Fix adhere to the philosophy of All Means Necessary or The End Justifies the Means? Does it not make anyone wince to see Newt Gingrich bash gay people despite having an openly lesbian sister? John McCain clearly chose not to demonize gay people as a campaign tactic. Would it have helped him? Maybe. Was it the morally correct decision to refuse to do it? ABSOLUTELY. The Fix's analysis is morally bankrupt for not even recognizing that someone might consider asking any question about propriety.

Posted by: uh_huhh | April 8, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

The gay marriage debate is becoming more about tactics and opportunities than it is about attitudes. While attitudes are slowing moving towards extending the institution, there has been no sea change of late.

States where the citizenry is allowed to vote directly on the issue will largely continue to vote against gay marriage rights. In those where the populace must work harder to overturn judicial or legislative decisions (by lobbying or voting for more conservative representatives), gay marriage rights will likely prove much more durable. Why? The majority of people just don't care enough about this issue, one that doesn't directly effect them, to make the effort. Changes in attitude will follow ex post facto. Gay marriage is here to stay.

Posted by: youba | April 8, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

"You really ought to give Iowa a try -- provided you are contrary."

-- Meredith Willson, "The Music Man," circa 1957


Is THIS what they meant?


***********


"When you see the abuse of power, you've got to speak."

-- VP candidate Joseph Biden, Aug. 27, 2008, Democratic National Convention


***


Bush-Cheney Constitutional Abuses Continue...


THE EXTRAJUDICIAL PUNISHMENT NETWORK:

VIOLATING HUMAN AND CIVIL RIGHTS OF INNOCENT BUT 'TARGETED' U.S. CITIZENS...

ON THE STREETS OF NYC, DC, PHILLY, BOSTON...

...AND IN CITIES AND TOWNS ACROSS AMERICA.

And federally-funded programs train and equip the "community gang stalkers" who are terrorizing their neighbors as police look the other way -- destroying their livelihoods and degrading their health with widely-deployed microwave radiation ("directed energy") weapons


A parallel array of federal "programs of personal financial destruction" slowly decimate the family finances of "target" families -- surely a factor in the mortgage meltdown that precipitated the global financial crisis.


When victims complain, they are told there is "nothing to investigate."


True -- because federal and local authorities KNOW ALL ABOUT IT.


Will the national press corps -- and Team Obama -- wake up and realize that democracy and middle-class wealth are being stolen at the GRASSROOTS?


http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

http://nowpublic.com/world/domestic-torture-radiation-weaponry-americas-horrific-shame

OR (if links are corrupted / disabled):

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | April 8, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

"Evangelical Christians are tired of any group of humans - be they judges, legislatures or councils - messing with what they view as an institution God defined. They are also tired of the language the media is using to portray their efforts. It's not a matter of discriminating or "banning same-sex marriage" but rather of protecting the traditional, biblical definition of marriage"

And I think we're tired of Evangelical Christians forcing their 'my way or the highway' views on everyone else. In your view, God may have defined marriage in this way, but God did not write the Constitition, Declaration of Independence or other documents and laws that govern the US. None of the laws in the US are designed to protect biblical definitions of anything....

Besides, allowing gay marriage does not destroy the 'traditional' view of marriage. It just expands it.

Posted by: RickJ | April 8, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

"but rather of protecting the traditional, biblical definition of marriage."

It's not the job of the governement to "protect" anything as defined by your religion. Quite the opposite, actually, it's the role of the government to protect the rights of all people despite the wishes of any religion.

Quick Question: how would allowing homosexuals to have marriages as recognized by the government change in any way your religion recognizes marriage?

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 8, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

"mattw you miss the point, if Iowans are so progressive as you state then why not legalize gay marriage through the legislative process where it belongs."

Actually, *you're* missing the point.

Gay marriage isn't legal in Iowa. The Supreme court ruled the ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. There's a difference there, and if you don't understand what that difference is, you would be well served to step out of the discussion until you do.

Ruling on the Constitutionality of Laws is *Exactly What* the job of the Supreme court (state or federal) is. Please stop trying to argue that anytime a court rules in a way that is counter to your political views that is "judicial activism."

the Iowa SC ruled the gay marriage ban unconstitutional. They did their job and nothing else.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 8, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

A notable omission from these discussions has been the opposition of most leading Democrats to gay marriage. None of the top Democratic contenders for the presidential nomination last year, not Obama, not Biden, not Clinton, supported gay marriage. Recent events make it likely that this will begin to change. One of the first things Kirsten Gillibrand did upon being appointed to the Senate was to declare her support for gay marriage. Expect more Democrats to do the same during the next year or two.

Posted by: polprof | April 8, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Ah Newt is back with his "do what I say, not as I do" ignorance. Newt, you broke your vow (under GOD) to your first two wives when you divorced them. Now you're on your third marriage and converting to Catholicism. You don't have a leg to stand on concerning any aspect of marriage rights.

Go back into hiding and leave us alone.

Posted by: Rich393 | April 8, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Same-sex marriage will absolutely remain a top-of-mind issue, exacerbated by the actions of the Iowa Supreme Court and legislative bodies in Vermont and the District. Evangelical Christians are tired of any group of humans - be they judges, legislatures or councils - messing with what they view as an institution God defined. They are also tired of the language the media is using to portray their efforts. It's not a matter of discriminating or "banning same-sex marriage" but rather of protecting the traditional, biblical definition of marriage.

Liberals are well within their rights to call themselves progressives if they think that will help them sell what they're offering, but they don't have the right to re-define marriage for the rest of us.

Posted by: mayoungkin | April 8, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

vbhoomes, you are all wet. Putting rights decisions in the hands of a fickle electorate is precisely the wrong thing to do. Today it is gay marriage, tomorrow it is what books you can read, and the next day it is where you can live. Open up that Pandora's box and see what happens.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | April 8, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, it is still an issue because politicians are still catering to the religinuts in our sick society. Damn them all and their holier than thou attitudes. May they die a thousand deaths in the most gruesome manner imaginable.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | April 8, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

mattw you miss the point, if Iowans are so progressive as you state then why not legalize gay marriage through the legislative process where it belongs. Obama is acting gayish in world affairs, did the Russians and Chinese miss his memo about how much he loved them, boy he sured scared the North Koreans by going to the UN. They cannot even get a waterd down resolution codemning the missle launch. The world continues to test Obama and he continues to be found wanting in showing strenght and a willingness to protect America.

Posted by: vbhoomes | April 8, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

I think it's a good thing - proud that my progressive roots are in Iowa where I was raised. However, if you think gay marriage isn't an issue, head on over to thefoxnation.com ... wow.

Posted by: mattw | April 8, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

I'm shocked that gay marriage has simmered down, also shocked that the recent shootings haven't forced gun issues into heated political debate.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | April 8, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Gay Marriage...probably not a primary issue for most.. it's an issue that can harm a candidate..but it's not likely to help a candidate..

Posted by: newbeeboy | April 8, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Hey Chris, what do you make of Sen. Bunning's poll results? I'm surprised there's no mention here... tell us what you think will happen...

Posted by: staff1 | April 8, 2009 7:09 AM | Report abuse

The topic of gay marriage will cease to be an issue in the next few years. Legal rulings will certify the right and many voters will see it as a 'wedge' tactic by Republicans, which doesn't work anymore. Besides, people can have civil marriages without the need to get religion involved.

Allowing gay marriage is pragmatic, considering that many Western countries (and 4 states) allow it. Pragmatism doesn't mix with the religious right who are close to being marginalised in the political debate.

On Franken v. Coleman: Coleman should give up. I'm not sure what he's trying to prove unless he's looking to seal his reputation as the sorest election loser. He can't win this....

Posted by: RickJ | April 8, 2009 7:06 AM | Report abuse

The issue that resonates with most amercans is not if Gays can marry but who decides. I believe gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry but that decision needs to made through the ballot box or through out state representatives. A couple of judges should not be allowed to make such a significant ruling that reorders our social makeup. Not a real big fan of Jefferson but he was right about warning against judicial tyrany. The californain people decided for better or worse to exclude gay marriage through the State Constitution. Now their State Supreme is going to rule that only they can decide what's in the State Constitition. That is truly scary and is at that point we cease to be a democracy.

Posted by: vbhoomes | April 8, 2009 6:12 AM | Report abuse

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