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Parsing the Polls on the Same-Sex Marriage Debate

If you're one of those political junkies getting a late start to the day after a long night of watching primary election results, there was quite a bit of action today on Capitol Hill.

The most high-profile fight of recent weeks came to a head early today when the Senate -- as expected -- rejected a motion to end debate on adding an amendment banning same-sex marriage to the U.S. Constitution. Forty-nine senators supported the ban while 48 voted against it, well short of the 67 votes that proposed amendments to the Constitution require in the Senate.

Only two Democrats -- Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Robert Byrd (W.Va.) -- supported the measure, while seven Republicans -- including John McCain (Ariz.) -- voted against it. (See how every senator voted here.)

With gay marriage such a hot topic, it's worth taking note of recent polling on the issue to see how public sentiment shakes out. Let's parse the polls!

Two recent national surveys -- one by ABC News, the other by Gallup -- give us the data we are looking for.

More in-depth data is available for the ABC survey, so let's start there. Asked whether it should be legal or illegal for same-sex couples to get married, 36 percent said it should be legal while 58 percent said it should be illegal. But only 42 percent of that same group support amending the Constitution to ban same-sex marriages, while 51 percent believe it should be left up to the states.

Thanks to ABC polling director Gary Langer, The Fix can delve into the demographic breakdowns.

The strongest indicator of where a voter falls on the issue is whether he or she self-identifies as an evangelical Christian. Ninety-percent of white Protestant evangelicals oppose gay marriage, compared with 48 percent of non-evangelical white Protestants. Seventy-two percent of evangelical white Protestants support a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage, while just 33 percent of non-evangelicals back such a ban.

Catholics roughly mirror non-evangelical Protestants on the issue -- 38 percent support gay marriage while 36 percent support amending the Constitution to ban it. Not surprisingly, non-religious voters are the most favorably disposed toward both gay marriage (64 percent support) and opposed to an amendment (68 percent).

The ABC poll also shows that there is a considerable intensity disparity on the issue. Of the 58 percent of those who believe it should be illegal for same-sex couples to be married, a whopping 51 percent said they feel strongly about it. Contrast that with the 36 percent who believe it should be legal for gay couples to marry -- only 24 percent of that group feel strongly about the issue.

"While an amendment banning gay marriage is not broadly popular, it matters most -- in a way that could potentially motivate voter turnout -- to those in the pro-amendment minority," Langer notes.

In fact, of that 51 percent who strongly oppose gay marriage, only 30 percent said they could vote for a candidate that differed with them on the issue while 61 percent said they could not. Given those numbers it shouldn't come as a surprise if Republican candidates make sure to mention their opposition to gay marriage on the campaign trail -- especially as November draws ever closer.

Republicans have acknowledged that their base voters have very little motivation at the moment to turn out in the midterms, while Democrats and independents unhappy with the Bush administration are energized to cast a vote against the White House. Gay marriage could help to make up that intensity gap.

While the ABC poll provides a snapshot of where the public stands on gay marriage, the Gallup survey gives us some historical perspective.

Asked in May whether "homosexuals should or should not have equal rights in terms of job opportunities," nearly nine-in-10 voters (89 percent) said they should. Contrast that with 56 percent who answered in the affirmative in June 1977. Roughly half (54 percent) of those polled last month said homosexuality should be considered an "acceptable alternative lifestyle" while 41 percent said it was not acceptable. Those numbers represent a major switch from June 1982 when just 34 percent said being gay was an acceptable lifestyle.

On their face, these numbers indicate that the public at large is growing more tolerant toward homosexuals. But there's always the chance that survey respondents aren't telling the truth. With the dawn of political correctness, some people may feel compelled to tell a pollster that they view homosexuality positively even if they don't out of a fear of being labeled a bigot. Pollsters can never really tell whether people are telling the truth, but that goes for just about any survey, not just ones about homosexuality..

Looking at the numbers above and the heated debate both on and off Capitol Hill over the past week, it's safe to say that the issue of gay marriage isn't likely to disappear from the political landscape any time soon. Both parties continue to grapple with how to address it effectively from both a policy and a political perspective, but finding consensus on an issue that millions of Americans feel passionately about (one way or the other) is a tough task.

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 7, 2006; 5:12 PM ET
Categories:  Parsing the Polls  
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Next: What Happens in Vegas...

Comments

because el george' don't lie...


oar at least he don't ad ef ing admit it:


well since el Zaquistor was actually a fabtication of the current government...an "evil doer," of epic proportions


well who cares?


I listen to NPR and BBC...when I want the news...

not CNN or the newsfeeds...how did the Toviets keep the russian people down? Pravda...the Soviet NEWS agency...pure propaganda..


I listen, but I also have first hand knowledge of how things work,


I worked in Washington DC for 20 years, and some of that was with the military, and a lot of my friends were "in the business,"


it's not too hard to see the media manipulation for what it is...

like the engineer that supposedly gave his girlfriend the plans for the "classified," Blackhawke....that was the best we had....shure...

or the spyplane that was shot down, and studied by China....for like 6 weeks, and all of a sudden they take a big step forward in the semiconductor field....


yeah, the media, they know what's going on...


media people, are not insiders, they are ordinary

people that don't know the difference, and good people that can't believe that Americans would knowingly create situations that hurt other people...


Because they were never taught that.


I ask you to remember one thing:

What kind of people seperate married couples (families) and children as a way of preventing an uprising of a class of people, or keep people who speak the same language from being sold together, or keep people from learning to read and write....


I'm talking slave owners, but I'm also talking class of people, and caste system...


is it soooo hard to imagine these people manipulating the government and media to control a country or countries for the benefit of a few?

nicaragua/sandistas/Iran/shah of iran/noriega/panama/saddam/iraq

UAE/Saudi's piloted the 9/11 scam...


these people, slave owners, an elite upper class, actually existed less than 200 years ago, and had families and taught them to manipulate....some of them might even be in the military or have access to controlling it...

most of these people's families are _still_ in power.


that kind of inhumanity is inherited from Royalty, and families that are inherited wealthy....

.

not saying _all_ people are like that, but if it's not in your family history, you're not going to recognize it for what it is, and you'll believe the (tinfoil helmets, koolaide, conspiracy theory) comments that say


"don't look here," "I'm busy raping your sister,"


when I first started posting here some time back I compared the administration and people working with them to child molestors...


that still holds true,


you want to stop them, point at them, identify them....


it's not an event based activity it's a way of life

you need to see the way of life and indentify the perpatrators for what they are...


forget about the single events,

"I was just sitting down,"

"I didn't mean any harm,"

and so on...

patterns of actions...consistent lying, persistent giving of the countries assests to certain individuals....


you could take the Republican investment in the California election to replace dicklyss cunning ham....


recoreded phone messages from the President and Vice President, to certain households and an unprecedented amount of cash spent to make sure that a Republican got elected to cunning ham's seat....


what was that about?


people feeling like they were on a roll, wanting to take the steam off of people feeling like they could get the country back....


did they advertise about how they did it?

no, it was on NPR....not as an exposure, just as an aside...

2 + 2 ='s 4


front page the next day, "Republicans Win in California, Democrats Can't Deliver,"


I'm not partisan, but the Republicans, president and vice president were deeeeeeeply invested in that single election....

because it damped spirits...

deception is a well used tool, and WHO OWNS the media?

corporations do....

evil is not a single thing, it's the intent behind the movement...


the only way to stalk a predator is to be one...

.

what are Americans being fed? and why do the rest of the people in the world refer to them as "the mushroom people?"


is it because they're short and fat and sport foppish hair does?


or because they are kept in the dark and fed BULLSH-it...


by your lead er s....


baaaaahhhh baaaaaaaaa baaaaaaaaa


Posted by: what is all america talking about...and who cares | June 10, 2006 1:02 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure what you mean by the dawn of political correctness. Everyone has their own version of pc and rightwing versions are no more edifying than leftwing ones.As examples, Woodrow Wilson certainly had strong ideas on political correctness in 1917, and the Republicans were able to maintain a pc consensus against a role in America for labor unions from after the Civil War to the 1930's.

Posted by: mike | June 9, 2006 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Pretty simple.

Government should establish and only recognize civil unions between consenting adults. This is the only form of a union with a legal standing.

Religious institutions have the power to marry people according to their particular discrimination but these marriages will have no legal standing.

Posted by: roo | June 9, 2006 11:08 PM | Report abuse

As a mother who with her husband raised five kids to adulthood -- four straight, one gay, all equally loved and cherished -- I'm disgusted with the silence from the other millions of parents of gays and lesbians, bisexual and transgender in this country.

Where are the fair-minded heterosexuals willing to speak up and out for equality, the way fair-minded whites spoke up and out for black equality a few decades ago, hence helping to advance the civil rights movement along to, finally, equality? Where are the parents and grandparents and loved ones of gay kids willing to shout 'Enough! These are our children you're denigrating!' ??

Anti-gay bigotry and prejudice would take a knock out punch if parents, grandparents, siblings, loved ones, friends would stop fearfully sitting on their hands and begin to speak up and out for equality, including and especially marriage, for their loved ones.

How dare a segment of society arrogantly define the life parameters of another, smaller segment, 'just because they can' ...??? And they can and will until family members and friends of GLBT find some courage. Gays are surely a part of most families; how dumb is it to let others decide for your gay family members and friends: 'This far and no farther.' ????

What's pathetic is that Evangelical Christians have as many gays in their families as does the rest of the country, yet they blindly *follow the leader* when it comes to voting against and polling against equality for their own gay loved ones.

Stand up and be counted, people! Our politicians for the most part lack the guts and integrity to speak up and out for gay equality; show them the way. Their own gay family members will thank you.

Posted by: Lois | June 9, 2006 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Bobby

Just a few mentions on the 9th Amendment.

Supreme Court used several references with regards to the Hatch Act in United Public Workers v. Mitchell (1947).

More recently, Chief Justice Berger in Richmond Newspapers v. Virginia (1980)

Posted by: RMill | June 9, 2006 3:04 PM | Report abuse

There is a middle ground that likely doesn't "get out the vote". It came from Dan W and it's been a nice stable solution. The sanctity of marriage can and should be preserved by the church. Because we are NOT a theocracy the benefits and recognition of a loving partnership would be a civil union.... including the fringe benefits afforded to citizens that participate.

All marriages under the eyes of god are also civil unions, but a civil union is recognized by man's law not necessarily god's law. Marriage is holy but dedicated people can be recognized for their healthy contribution to society. Is that what the evangelicals are afraid of? Losing a tiny amount of moral high ground that someone outside their circle has some worth? Power corrupts....

Quit squabbling like junior KKK members. Can the country move forward to compete with the rest of the world now?

Posted by: Mike | June 9, 2006 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Marriage has been between male and female, and given a place of honor in society, for a reason: it serves a societal good. Just ten years ago, gay marriage was a dorm-room hypothetical. So here's another one for you: if you deny that traditional marriage is a social good -- that it has any broader value, or even meaning, beyond each couple, then imagine the following. Imagine if every adult in the world were in a monogamous heterosexual union. What would the world be like for the next generation? Now imagine that every adult in the world were in a monogamous homosexual union.

In general, I find it amazing that the don't-change-marriage crowd is tagged as "divisive" -- who was it again, who proposed suddenly radically redfining a bedrock institution that's thousands of years old? And that the burden is supposed to be on us, to defend our position?

Sorry. It's NOT on us. It is on you to argue that the institution will not be harmed by changing its very nature. Good luck with that.

Link below to THE definitive libertarian/economist essay, and comments thereto.

And Colin. Please. So the SCOTUS explicitly said that Lawrence would not usher in the drive for gay marriage. Scalia's dissent, you may recall, pointed out that it would do exactly that. And lo, the friggin ink wasn't dry on Lawrence before Massachusetts ruled, explicitly citing Lawrence as precedent. SCOTUS can say that the moon is made of green cheese. That doesn't make it so.

And whoever you are, with the multiple screen names, who can't find the shift key but is in love with the return key: I am told that if you attach a coat-hanger antenna to your tinfoil hat, it makes the voices stop.

http://www.janegalt.net/blog/archives/005244.html

Posted by: annie | June 9, 2006 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Gay marriage is legal nationwide up here in Canada, and by almost every indicator, things are going better here than in the US.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | June 9, 2006 3:46 AM | Report abuse

gawd inspired issues.....to some but actually hate _hate_ masquerading as gawd...


oh cloven hoofed pushers: "you shall know them by their works,"

don't mush mouth me boyah...I'll be eating your liver for the week is ovah...


there is something called seperation of church and state, as a constitutional thing...


I'm kind of tired of some ahole continually bringing up irrelevant things like


homophobia, false patriotism, and CIA agents that masquerade as dead Al Queenda leaders....

has the president recently told the truth?


alright.

in case it isn't obvious to you


the only solution is education...


to some extent, party members that allow themselves to be manipulated loose their power...


the people that are victims of the manipulation, the voters, the newscasters, the writers, the honest politicians


honest politicians, such that exist, need to speak directly about the manipulation and how it's being done, rather than attacking the manipulators...


it's sort of like explaining to the kids that are too wrapped up in the movie....those "bullets," are called squibs...if you watch closely you can see they look like packets of ketchup being exploded on people...


that's the way to explain the media orchestration that occurs with this administration...


start complaining about _illegals_ and a week or so later "he" promises to send 6,000 untrained National Guard troops to the border...

it's always after, never before,


say that you want to have employers arrested for hiring illegals, a couple of weeks later "he" starts saying it...


as I understand it Al Zachariah was a fabrication, I can find a finger in my chili that disappeared from a med-school...

I believe the president like I believe any other liar, not at all....


it's like explaining a magicians trick, it has to be done every couple of years as the rubes forget what re-direction is....


going to market, you tell your younger brother, not to play the shell/cup and pea game...


you tell him to watch the sequence of events....next thing you'll be hearing that they caught Obama Bin Laiden...

schtuppin laura...

regarding raising issues that are media events, and don't have a lot of relevancy...


I mean who started the whole El Zachariah fabrication? CIA, mebbee...


how many finger you got on your hand? checked your chili lately?

.

Posted by: regarding raising issues that are relevant.. | June 9, 2006 1:20 AM | Report abuse

People should differentiate between civil marriage and religious marriage.

No religious group should be obligated to marry any two people if they think it would contradict their religious beliefs.

On the other hand, civil marriage is a secular institution. It should be available to any two people who want it, regardless of gender, race, etc. or to nobody at all.

Posted by: J. Crozier | June 8, 2006 6:19 PM | Report abuse

The question is...are the checks and balances there by and large to protect the minority, or to protect the people from govt.? Given the period in which the document was written, I lean more towards the latter.

Really the bottom line for me is the fact that I think this (Gay Marriage) is something I believe should be settled through the legislature vs. the courts.

Posted by: FH | June 8, 2006 4:37 PM | Report abuse

FH -- Without a doubt reasonable people can certainly disagree about whether or not the Constitution does preclude states from banning same sex unions. As it turns out, despite my posts responding to you, I am quite skeptical that the 14th Amendment should be read in that manner. But I honestly don't think that there is ANY question that the Constitution was drafted with the intent of protection the Nation from itself OR that drafting it that way was anything less than a brilliant idea.

Just think about the core structure of our government. Our founders created three co-equal branches of government and then allotted their powers so that each is capable and required to provide a check on the powers of the other. In addition to being ingenious, this also shows a healthy and understandable distrust in concentrated power given the impetus for US freedom in the first place.

Similarly, the Constitution would never have been ratified if both Hamilton and Madison hadn't made assurances that the Bill of Rights would be passed immediately after the new Government was formed. The importance of these amendments to the actual Constitution's passage is often not emphasized, but is indicative I think of the distrust towards unchecked majority rule that existed then and still exists today. After all, these amendments don't serve any purpose other than to PRECLUDE a majority from infringing upon certain - rather broad and non-specific - principles.

At any rate, this comment is way too long so I'll stop. But in closing I would only note that accepting that the Constitution is designed to curb and slow down the will of the majority is in no significant way at odds with the optimistic Jefferson quotes you cited which express faith in the American people. In the final analysis, I think that this country does get things right more often than not. At certain times the Constitution is simply necessary to slow us down enough to figure out what "right" really is.

Posted by: Colin | June 8, 2006 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Thank you all for your well thought and well put responses to my post. Of course, I only cited the resources necessary to prove my point...as did you. I do not feel that the lack of recognition of gay marriage is an infringment on gays to the opportunities of life, liberty and the persuit of happiness. Societies, as a whole establish those principles they consider important for them to flourish. I do find it unfortunate that most of you seem to feel that the Constitution's main purpose is to protect us from ourselves.

"If we are faithful to our country, if we acquiesce, with good will, in the decisions of the majority, and the nation moves in mass in the same direction, although it may not be that which every individual thinks best, we have nothing to fear from any quarter." --Thomas Jefferson to Virginia Baptists, 1808. ME 16:321

Posted by: FH | June 8, 2006 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Dan W

I agree with your idea of creating civil unions at the national level just like England did recently.

Speaking as a gay person I think it is more important to get gay couple benifits with civil unions right now. Rather than argue about idealistic principles of gay marriage for the next 20 years and get nothing until then. There are gay couples and families that need the benifits now. Standing on idealistic principle does not help those people right now. Gays have to be practical and work in incremental steps. An all or nothing approach does not help gay couples who need benifits now.

Posted by: Wells | June 8, 2006 3:38 PM | Report abuse

FH -- I notice you don't cite Hamilton, who stated the following:

"Constitutions should consist only of general provisions; the reason is that they must necessarily be permanent, and that they cannot calculate for the possible change of things"

"Laws are a dead letter without courts to expound and define their true meaning and operation." The Federalist 22

"It has been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity." Speech on June21, 1978 urging ratification of the Constitution in N.Y.

"It is long since I have learned to hold popular opinion of no value." Loth, Dave, Alexander Hamilton, Portrait of a Prodigy."

"The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class a distinct permanent share in the government... Can a democratic assembly who annually revolve in the mass of the people be supposed steadily to pursue the public good?"

Posted by: Colin | June 8, 2006 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Attendance at evangelical rallies have be down 25%. This issue was brought up as a fundraiser for evangelical leaders.

Posted by: Duh | June 8, 2006 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Beat me to the punch, Will...Sorry, FH, I guess the point was made. That's just not an accurate interpretation of the Founders' views.

Posted by: Greg-G | June 8, 2006 2:53 PM | Report abuse

FH, read Federalist 51...you couldn't be more wrong. The entire separation of powers, with special emphasis on the court, was aimed to prevent dominance by majority.

In fact, that's why we have the Electoral College, which was originally intended to leave the election of the president to the House of Representatives, presumably a body that could properly judge the candidates' character. The Founders feared that if the election were left to the "majority" (masses), they would fall prey to demagogues...

Too bad they were right about the latter, and wrong about the former.

Posted by: Greg-G | June 8, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

FH-

"I find this quote to be of particular importance as we ponder this discussion."

Interesting that you chose Madison's quote for special note, since he recognized all too well the dangers of a Tyranny of the Majority. From Federalist Paper 51:

"It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure."

"After all, are we not discussing using a "Clause" that was specifically written to incorporate the newly freed slaves into society, to now argue for Gay Marriage."

And we are arguing it appropriately. A clause was written to incorporate a formerly disenfranchised group into the nation. But the clause itself makes no mention of race. It does make mention of "equal protection under the law" which can be interpreted without deference to race, gender, sexual preference, etc. The equal protection clause applies to all who qualify, not merely to those who the clause was meant to protect.

In this discussion it is absolutely pertinent because we are just extending the "intentions" to a different disenfranchised group. Black people were denied certain rights prior to the 14th. Homosexuals are denied access to the benefits of a government institution today. This is not an undue stretch of "intentions".

"In my opinion, although the founders obviously considered minority rights important, "Majority Rule" is the most important part of our Constitution and the crux of what was important to the founders."

What is this supposed to mean? That tyranny by the majority is ok? Qualify "most important" please, and what ramifications it has.

Posted by: Will | June 8, 2006 2:44 PM | Report abuse

To Gay Democrat: The founders of this country believed that a TRUE democracy would come to ruin because the general populace was too ignorant to know what was good for them.

Huh? Our founders were big believers in the wisdom of the majority.

Jefferson: "I subscribe to the principle, that the will of the majority honestly expressed should give law." --Thomas Jefferson: The Anas, 1793. ME 1:332

"All... being equally free, no one has a right to say what shall be law for the others. Our way is to put these questions to the vote, and to consider that as law for which the majority votes." --Thomas Jefferson: Address to the Cherokee Nation, 1809. ME 16:456

"[We acknowledge] the principle that the majority must give the law." --Thomas Jefferson to William Carmichael, 1788. ME 7:28

"This... [is] a country where the will of the majority is the law, and ought to be the law." --Thomas Jefferson: Answers to de Meusnier Questions, 1786. ME 17:85

"Civil government being the sole object of forming societies, its administration must be conducted by common consent." --Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.VIII, 1782. ME 2:120

Madison: [A]ttempts to enforce by legal sanctions, acts obnoxious to go great a proportion of Citizens, tend to enervate the laws in general, and to slacken the bands of Society.

I find this quote to be of particular importance as we ponder this discussion.

Laws are so open to interpretation that two people can always find disagreement in how they should be interpreted. After all, are we not discussing using a "Clause" that was specifically written to incorporate the newly freed slaves into society, to now argue for Gay Marriage. Do not underestimate the importance of "Majority Rule" when discussing minority rights. In my opinion, although the founders obviously considered minority rights important, "Majority Rule" is the most important part of our Constitution and the crux of what was important to the founders.

Posted by: FH | June 8, 2006 2:25 PM | Report abuse

RMill: You are correct, a separate mechanism would need to be created, IF (and only IF) the govt has special prerogatives for married couples.

If the govt does not, then it needs no mechanism to join 2 people as a single legal entity.

If there are govt priveleges attachced to being married then the govt absolutely cannot prevent gays from being married.

My solution is the abolition of a govt definition of marriage, it is a religious/social concept. The govt then creates Unions which is the sole basis for benefits/rights/etc. currently allowed to "married" persons.

The govt cannot prevent two people from becoming a Union, but at the same time, the govt cannot interfere with what people an organization chooses to marry.

At which point, All marriages become Unions but not all unions are necessarily marriages.

Posted by: Dan W | June 8, 2006 1:23 PM | Report abuse

BWC -- As I stated before, I think one can certainly interpret Romer and Lawrence as a justification for overturning state bans on same-sex unions. Indeed, that may very well be exactly where Justice Kennedy - the key vote in both those cases and in any gay-rights cases going forward - is headed. However, my point is that neither Romer nor Lawrence necessarily REQUIRES the conclusion that the court reach such a conclusion. In Lawrence, which was of course decided after Romer, the Court explicitly states that its decision does not reach the issue of same-sex marriage.

Incidentally, I just want to make clear again that I don't disagree from a policy standpoint with what anyone supportive of gay marriage is saying. I'm just not sold that the Federal Constitution necessarily does/should control on this issue.

Posted by: Colin | June 8, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Jay posts "you lost all credibility when you misspelled 'prima facie'..." Huh?
Jay, you sound like an officous little snot. There are people like myself that never took typing classes and often end up typing "because" as "becasue". Likewise, not everyone was an English major in college or spends their spare time memorizing the dictionary. Some of us majored in enginering or mathematics and, as a consequence, have actually done something. I can't spell with beans, but I have more than 50 patents, some for things you use every day (like grocery store scanners, scanner scales, and the instrumentation used for installing and checking optical fiber networks, dycryption and encryption algorithms, RF tags, and a whole lot more AND I can assure you. So, please, drop the officious grammer and spelling nonsense. You sound like a twit.

Posted by: Mike Brooks | June 8, 2006 1:11 PM | Report abuse

BWC-

I'm strictly limiting the 14th amendment application to institutions that the Government sees fit to insert itself into. In so far as the Government recognizes marriages (or call them social unions, or call them Flambostiocycles for all I care) then the 14th Amendment prevents the legislation against any group that restricts their access to the institution.

Religions are self-governing entities. The Constitution explicitly prohibits the state from involving itself in their affairs; state involvement in Religions is incredibly narrow, limited only to matters of public health and safety (and even then Religions are given an incredible amount of room to operate outside the realm of the law).

The point I'm trying to make is fairly limited, in my opinion. I am not saying that Churches must recognize homosexual marriages. I am saying that in so far as the State invests itself into an institution (religious or otherwise) it is bound by the 14th amendment not to limit access to that institution by any particular group.

Posted by: Will | June 8, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Colin

Go back and reread Romer - for no apparent reason they reveresed themselves on the Utah poligamy cases - they saw a problem with regulating church sanctioned marriage - it had nothing to do with Romer - I think someone was just trying to get the debate going on church sanctioned marriage.

Fundamental rights are not limited to suspect classes - marriage has been recognized as one of the most basic fundamental rights -

What Romer says on the Utah poligamy cases should have pleased the churches but it did not because the radical elements of Christianity in fact want government to regulate the churches on marriage because they do not trust churches outside their little circle

I challenge everyone to reread Romer and ask - why did they throw the poligamy issue in?

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissues.com

Posted by: Anonymous | June 8, 2006 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Will - this is why the states are creating CIVIL UNIONS - with the same benefits

the Democrats are so afraid of GOD that they cannot embrace the idea that Marriage is a CHURCH idea - it is also a word to refer to the idea - a WORD -

Until we pass an amendment making it a criminal act for people to refer to marriage between two guys as a marriage - the term marriage will enter the vernacular of American English - the battle has been lost.

We know the Dems are so afraid of GOD that they will never agree to the idea of going back to the old ways of true Freedom -

you marry in the church and register in the state the church marriage - the state has no say - period

you hook up together - tell everyone you are common law married - and there we are

The religious right will never agree to allowing the churchs to regulate marriage because the churches may do things like - divorce for cause only -

this entire debate reflects just how stupid we as a people have become

marriage a penis and vagina - not love - commitment, duty and honor - Republicans are perverts

Bush is such a great leader - to get money for his party he has the churchs redirect money from dental care for poor children for the Republican campaign machine -

YEA FOR REPUBLICAN FAMILY VALUES

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissues.com

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | June 8, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

RMILL -- I agree that one can certainly make a tenable argument that the Equal Protection Clause precludes states from banning same-sex unions. But I don't think - from a legal rather than policy perspective - that such a conclusion is quite as clear as I think you feel that it is.

Rightly or wrongly, the Supreme Court has never stated that sexual orientation is a suspect class like race or even a quasi-suspect class like gender. Even in Romer and Lawrence the Court still purports to be applying a rational basis standard of review and - in Lawrence - seems to imply that same sex marriage could very well present a different set of issues than anti-sodomy laws or the Colorado amendment at issue in Romer. And indeed, I think a distinction between sexual orientation and race (or, truthfully, any type of discrimination other than racial discrimination) is probably justified when discussing the equal protection clause. The 14th Amendment really did have a rather specific purposes, and while I am not in favor of completely limiting the scope of the 14th amendment to race alone, I think that it is appropriate for the Court to treat racial discrimination in a unique manner given the history of the 14th amendment.

Incidentally, from a strategic standpoint I also question whether the courts really are the best way to achieve equal rights in this context. Demographics are completely in favor of gay rights and seem to indicate that over time (and admittedly, I do get that it has already been TOO long)this issue is going to be resolved favorably through the legislative process.

Just my two cents though. Maybe Justice Kennedy will prove me wrong one of these days.

Posted by: Colin | June 8, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

As long as the state sees fit to insert itself into marriage through tax benefits, inheritence laws, so on and so forth, restricting access to Government recognition via marriage from a particular group is a violation of the 14th amendment.

If anyone sees fit to argue this point, by all means. But this seems to be the most difficult hurdle for the anti-gay (or pro-hetero-marriage if you prefer non descriptive euphemisms) crowd.

Come, let us hear your brilliant arguments.

Posted by: Will | June 8, 2006 12:10 PM | Report abuse

RMill

you are right about the Ninth Amendment - it is my recollection that the only time the Supremes specifically mentioned the 9th was in Griswald v. Connecticut - that radical case which authorized doctors to recommend condoms to their patients

The question is why do the Democrats never raise this issue in confirmation hearings - it is as if the Democrats are as opposed to the 9th and the Repubs.

I waited for someone or anyone to ask JOhn Roberts about the history of the 9th - no one - so until the Dems are willing to address the question -

or maybe someone in that so called liberal press is willing to ask Bush the question directly - I suspect the 9th will remain dead on arrival

how sad

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissues.com

Posted by: Bobby Wighhtman-Cervantes | June 8, 2006 12:07 PM | Report abuse

RMILL/Colin, if I was intellectually honest, I couldn't have any fun. You guys seem to be smart and well educated and I would love to debate you further but I have to go to work now(its something we conservatives do)but hopefully I'll live to fight another day. Cheers Mates.

Posted by: bhoomes | June 8, 2006 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Dan W and Collin

The problem then becomes affording a mechanism whereby homosexuals can achieve equal rights to "marry". Secular same-sex unions would have to be provided, as they are for those couples choosing a secular option but are of opposite sex.

This is where the numerous Constitutional articles and amendments can into play. It is why no federal law has been passed banning gay marriage. They know they cannot do it.

A Constitutional Amendment is Bush's only way around equal protection, etc. (or so he thinks).

Posted by: RMill | June 8, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

DRINDL: You may be right...perhaps I was far too kind. But the fact remains that I know several Republicans who's hearts are in the right place. Why, I live right next to a married couple who are as far to the right as I am to the left, and the woman of the household showed me a commendable level of respect when I revealed to her my orientation. I imagine that she is opposed to gay marriage out of fear of the consequences, not out of a desire to preserve the institution.

Posted by: A Gay Democrat | June 8, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Craig

Excellent point. I meant to mention but got caught up in the Consititution and the Federalist Papers.

Posted by: RMill | June 8, 2006 11:46 AM | Report abuse

49 Senators supported CLOTURE, not the measure itself. Byrd has said that he would not support the amendment itself. In addition to that, the non-votes were Dodd and Rockefeller on the dem side who said they would not support the amendment, and Hagel on the republican side who said he would. For the amendment itself, the vote would have been 49 in favor and 51 against.

Posted by: Craig | June 8, 2006 11:42 AM | Report abuse

More on Amendment IX Bill of Rights-

Federalists responded to those opposed to ratification of the Constitution due to a lack of a declaration of fundamental rights by arguing wisely that it would be impossible to list all rights and it would be dangerous to list some because there would be those who would seize upon the absence of any omitted rights to assert that government was free to act as they wished.

"Here, in strictness, the people surrender nothing; and as they retain every thing they have no need of particular reservations. "WE, THE PEOPLE of the United States, to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." Here is a better recognition of popular rights, than volumes of those aphorisms which make the principal figure in several of our State bills of rights, and which would sound much better in a treatise of ethics than in a constitution of government....
I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?"
Federalist No. 84 (Hamilton)

While a Bill of Rights was still forwarded and adopted immediately as part of the Constitution, the point of enumerating every possible and conceivable right of citizens was, by both sides, deemed untenable, which was remedied by the inclusion of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments of the Bill of Rights by Madison.

"It has been objected also against a bill of rights, that, by enumerating particular exceptions to the grant of power, it would disparage those rights which were not placed in that enumeration; and it might follow by implication, that those rights which were not singled out, were intended to be assigned into the hands of the General Government, and were consequently insecure. This is one of the most plausible arguments I have ever heard against the admission of a bill of rights into this system; but, I conceive, that it may be guarded against. I have attempted it, as gentlemen may see by turning to the last clause of the fourth resolution." (Madison-1789)

Posted by: RMill | June 8, 2006 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Make no mistake - Evangelicals believe America should follow THEIR interpretation of the bible.

PERIOD.

Evangelicals want a theocracy running America. They will vote against freedom every time as long as the dictator claims to be "saved".

BE VERY AFRAID OF EVANGELICAL WING NUTS

Posted by: Evangelical Taliban | June 8, 2006 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"Of the 58 percent of those who believe it should be illegal for same-sex couples to be married, a whopping 51 percent said they feel strongly about it."

I'd MUCH MUCH MUCH rather see the pollsters ask this 51 percent: "do you feel that Bush and the GOP are using you to achieve other ends that have nothing to do with gay marriage?" That would be far more illuminating than their opinions on the non-problem of gay marriage. Separated from the political questions that's about as interesting as "what's your favorite color?"

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | June 8, 2006 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Not that facts or reality matter - but here I go

First at the time of the formation of this country marriage was left to the Churches - and accroding to Blackstone who summarized common law at the time "It is the sole province of the chruch to decide when a marriage is scriptual and the role of the state to enforce the marriage contract as recognized by the church."

Now we all know that Scalia will ignore the law as it existed in 1776 in favor of his bigotry.

Here is a radical idea lets return marriage to the church and get it out of the hands of the state - if you want a marriage you find a churh to approve of the marriage - you want a civil union you go to the JP.

reality check - I hope this is not censored -

A couple goes to the JP to get married - the JP says "Marriage is defined as one partner with a penis and one with a vagina" - "I need to inspect each of you to see if you qualify." So the man drops his pants and the JP says to the women "Wow Sorry lady" and the lady says "that is a penis" - and the JP says "barely"

I hope my little joke demonstrates the obsurdity of the misfocus of marriage on genetalia instead of the heart -

BObby Wightman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissues.com

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | June 8, 2006 11:16 AM | Report abuse

"that is exactly what evangelical Protestants mean to do. They're motives might be virtuos - to protect this country from anarchy, or to insure that people as a whole do not become even more gravely immoral"

That is being far too kind. The point is to control sexuality. To ensure the continuity and financial support of the institution. That's really it. All major instituion really exist mostly to perpetuate themselves.

Posted by: Drindl | June 8, 2006 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Bhoomes -- There are two problem with your "state rights" definition: (1)It basically shows that you simply don't believe that that the judiciary is a co-equal branch of government at all; and (2)your definition doesn't square with what conservatives - and more specifically conservative legal scholars - have consistently said about state rights.

The idea of federalism includes not only Federal and State executive and legislative branches, but also federal and state judicial branches. If the State of MA's highest court interprets state law in a particular way, and that law doesn't implicate the federal constitution or a federal law that supercedes state law, then that court's pronouncement is final. Without a doubt, that was the way that the Framers intended or federalist system to work and that is certainly the way this country has ALWAYS addressed issues related to marriage. Interracial marriage is really the only exception on this issue, and the legislative history surrounding the passage of the 14th Amendment makes rather clear that the S. Crt got that case right.

Look, if you want to argue that an Amendment to the US constitution is justified in this instance then fine. But that is clearly an action that a "Big Government" conservative, rather than an actual conservative would make. So please just be intellectually honest about what it is that you're advocating in favor of.

Posted by: Colin | June 8, 2006 11:15 AM | Report abuse

The Courts did not install the 14th Amendment into the Constitution, which was one of your points.

You specifically stated you could not find it in the Federalist Papers. I'll give you that much. It doesn't say gay marriage anywhere. Article IV, Section 2 was discussed as follows:

"It may be esteemed the basis of the Union, that 'the citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens of the several States.' And if it be a just principle that every government ought to possess the means of executing its own provisions by its own authority, it will follow, that in order to the inviolable maintenance of that equality of privileges and immunities to which the citizens of the Union will be entitled, the national judiciary ought to preside in all cases in which one State or its citizens are opposed to another State or its citizens. To secure the full effect of so fundamental a provision against all evasion and subterfuge, it is necessary that its construction should be committed to that tribunal which, having no local attachments, will be likely to be impartial between the different States and their citizens, and which, owing its official existence to the Union, will never be likely to feel any bias inauspicious to the principles on which its is founded." The Federalist, No. 80 (Hamilton).

Article IV; Section 2 provides for the continuity of protections and rights of citizens. Hamilton spoke of "inviolable maintenance of that equality of privileges and immunities to which the citizens of the Union will be entitled."

Equality of privileges and immunities = equal protection.

This was considered a weaker pre-cursor of the equal protection clause, remedied by the 14th amendment.

Federal non-jurisdiction over religious rites are covered in the 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights.

Passage of restrictive amendments infringing upon rights is prohibited by the 9th Amendment in the Bill of Rights.

And to turn the tables, where in the Constitution does it give explicit powers to Congress or the President to ban gay marriages? Tenth amendment in the Bill of Rights leaves all powers not specifically enumereated in the Constitution as the sole purvue of the States.

And of course, the 14th amendment and its equal protection clause.

Article IV
Section 2
The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

Bill of Rights
Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Amendment 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: RMill | June 8, 2006 11:13 AM | Report abuse

FH -- But really, should religious organizations be upset about a change in what relationships the State recognizes? Looking at how secular "marriage" operates today, I don't see how the difference between religious recognition of marriage and state recognition of marriage could be any more clear. Almost every state already allows no-fault divorce and the overall divorce rate in the country is over 60%. The infidelity rate today is even higher. I'm a liberal catholic, but on a personal level I find both of those trends disgusting and indicative that this country as a whole clearly DOES NOT respect the institution of marriage the way I think it should be respected. But you know what? My church doesn't have to - and doesn't - approach either divorce or gay marriage in the same way that the State does. Rather, divorce isn't an option if you're a catholic except under far more narrow circumstances. Similarly, the Catholic Church most assuredly is not going to recognize gay marriage any time in the near future. Given that, who really cares what the State says or does? Every church, synagogue, mosque, etc. should simply address these issues as they see fit and tend to their respective community members.

Posted by: Colin | June 8, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse

bhoomes: You are correct. No where in the Constitution or other founding documents is Gay marriage mentioned. But neither is marriage between non gays. No mention at all.

By the design of our Constitution, something not illegal is legal.

AS I mentioned a couple of days ago, the govt has no right to interfere in the religious institution of marriage. No one is forcing Evangelical churches to Marry Gays. They still have the right to not perform such ceremonies.

Personally, I think the govt needs to quit using marriage for any official purpose. However, so long as the govt attaches benefits (taxes, inheritance, residency restrictions, etc) to marriage, the Constitution specifically states the govt CANNOT treat any group different from any other group.

If you want to save marriage from Gays, remove ALL government entitlements, benefits and obligations attached to marriage. Marriage becomes a social/religious institution and you can do whatever you want to it.

Posted by: Dan W | June 8, 2006 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Colin, it is not that difficult to explain, when we talk about states rights, we are talking about people expressing their viewpoints through their elected representaives. States rights does not mean only 4 people in the entire state of Mass. getting to decide for everyone in that state. My previous point is that The Roger Taney court so screwed things up by getting into an area they had no business being it, that it causes the civil war and was necessary to have the 13, 14, and 15 amendment to clean up their mess. Activist judges are a menace to all sides, not just conservatives.

Posted by: bhoomes | June 8, 2006 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Thomas Jefferson once said that nobody has the right to infringe on another person's rights. That is exactly what evangelical Protestants mean to do. They're motives might be virtuos - to protect this country from anarchy, or to insure that people as a whole do not become even more gravely immoral - but opposition to gay marriage is still an attempt to infringe on the rights of other people. Specifically, the rights of gay people to enjoy all the freedoms and benefits of marriage.

Posted by: A Gay Democrat | June 8, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Yea, I just can't imagine why religious organizations would be upset by a fundemental shift in an institution that was founded by religious organizations. How dare they?

Posted by: FH | June 8, 2006 10:49 AM | Report abuse

bhoomes -- I have two questions for you:

1. You still haven't addressed the federalism concerns I asked you about earlier. Specifically, whether you like the decision of the MA Courts or not, why exactly do you feel - as someone who should support state rights - that the Federal Government is somehow justified in interfering with an issue that MA is entirely capable of addressing on its own?

2. I have no idea what your last comment to RMILL is supposed to mean. If you are trying to argue in favor of an explicitly textual and extremely narrow reading of the Constitution - pursuant to which the Equal Protection Clause has little force - then go ahead and make that argument. At present, all you've really said is that since the Constitution doesn't talk about marriage (duh) whatever a majority says should control. I think you need to flesh that argument out a bit if you want to be taken seriously, especially given the fact that you are simultaneously arguing in favor of federal intervention in an area traditionally governed exclusively by the states.

Posted by: Colin | June 8, 2006 10:41 AM | Report abuse

RMILL: It is somewhat ironic you would use the 14th amendment to make your point, thereby making my point for me.

Posted by: bhoomes | June 8, 2006 10:31 AM | Report abuse

NAR, you're right to think that poll is racist, since in not even mentioning them, it renders minority races invisible. However, it's quite clear from the syntax of the paragraph you quoted that when they refered to the 33 percent that supported a constitutional ban on gay marriage, they were refering to non-evangelical Protestants again, not just "non-evangelicals."

Posted by: A Gay Democrat | June 8, 2006 10:30 AM | Report abuse

What we have to realize is that you can't have a logical converation with today's self-selected 'conservatives' because they don't hold coherent positions... it's all irrational, emotional circular logic. They just want what they want, like 2-year-olds... which is to have everything their way. And they whine and stamp their feet and pound their tiny fists when that doesn't happen.

Posted by: Drindl | June 8, 2006 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Allegedly in this country there is a seperation of church and state. Gay marriage is a religous question not a legal issue. Is it just me or does it seem quite ironic that we have American kids fighting and dying in Iraq for the Iraqi's "freedom" and "democracy", and the very same people who support this folly whole heartly are the same ones pushing for a law which will discrimnate against a group of people here at home? The whole gay marriage issue is another nut job ploy
to bring the sheep in from the fields...

Posted by: TheIrishCurse | June 8, 2006 10:25 AM | Report abuse

bhoomes

I don't think you can track all the things that are not in the Constitution specifically, but which are born from the tenents of that document.

I know you are not completely ignorant so you are purposefully using false logic to ignore basic provisions that cover issues which you oppose.

The Equal protection clause covers a lot of ground. You cannot use law to infringe upon the rights of citizens. You can amend the Constitution but this would circumvent its intent.

I will again reiterate that my feeling is that a religious ceremony is not in the purvue of the federal government to restrict and its secular connotations and implications are protected by the Equal Protection clause.

Posted by: RMill | June 8, 2006 10:14 AM | Report abuse

The founders of this country believed that a TRUE democracy would come to ruin because the general populace was too ignorant to know what was good for them. That is a large part of the reason they established a republic.

They established a country in which the religious persecution the Puritans faced in England would never happen again to ANY religious group. But now, it's not any religious group that needs protection from persecution...

The proclomations made by anti-gay activists about how "marriage has been exclusively between a man and a woman since the dawn of civilization" is incorrect, and is arrogance akin to the attitude early american settlers held towards the Native Americans. Native Americans were here, on this continent, long before Christianity even existed and they treated gay people as MORE than equals.

Permenant unions between two people have existed long before Christianity, Islam, or even Judaism. Prior to the inception of those three religions, they were frequently between two men. Not so frequently between two women, since lesbianism has always been looked down upon in most cultures. Just goes to show you that even the most civilized of cultures can be irrationally hateful.

Posted by: A Gay Democrat | June 8, 2006 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Greg, I have read most of the Federlist papers that Hamilton, Madison and Jay wrote in newspapers to sell the constitution and for the life of me I can't find anything in it about protecting the right to gay marriage, maybe you can help me out and show me where I missed it. Of course the Court system plays an important role in government as it should, but it is not a be all, end all. Seems to me, your exalted courts made a ruling that slaves are merely property without ant rights. Courts lose their legitmacy when they overstep their bounds. Remenmber there are three branhes of government and I think most people agree important issues should be decided by a majority of citizens. I am sorry I don't spell check everything but I think you get my drift.

Posted by: bhoomes | June 8, 2006 10:02 AM | Report abuse

bhoomes -- Marriage has always been left up to the States, which have the power to pass marriage laws provided those laws are consistent with both the US Constitution and their State constitution. The MA courts held that denying marriage rights based purely off of a couple's sexual preference violated their state constitution. How, if you are a conservative who believes in the idea of state rights and federalism, can you possibly have a problem with that result? That's EXACTLY how our federalist system is SUPPOSED to work.

Incidentally, it really isn't THAT difficult to amend state constitutions if a state supreme court really oversteps its bounds. So I wouldn't worry too much about "the people" getting their say in MA.

Posted by: Colin | June 8, 2006 9:51 AM | Report abuse

The strongest indicator of where a voter falls on the issue is whether he or she self-identifies as an evangelical Christian. Ninety-percent of white Protestant evangelicals oppose gay marriage, compared with 48 percent of non-evangelical white Protestants. Seventy-two percent of evangelical white Protestants support a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage, while just 33 percent of non-evangelicals back such a ban.

What about evangelicals who aren't white? And what's up with comparing white Protestants with all non-evangelicals?

That is either a really racist poll breakdown, or a really stupid one. Or both

Posted by: NAR | June 8, 2006 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Eh. Bhoomes, you lost all credibility when you misspelled "prima facie."

If you're going to try to throw around big-boy lawyer words, to wit: prima facie, phonetic spelling really lessens the impact.

Checks and Balances, my friend. As stated before, the government was designed to be self-limiting, and to keep all branches in check. As the executive and legislative branch are alternately appropriating and relinquishing too much power, it's up to the judiciary to try to balance the keel. You conservatives hate it when you can't control everything, though, ergo, all the teeth-gnashing. Funny how conservatives tuned out "checks and balances" during High School Civics - from the complexity of the arguments against Gay Marriage (and their spelling), I'd say the majority of them terminated their education shortly thereafter. After all, "Gay Marriage Encourages Masturbation," or at least that's what I learned from a couple protesters yesterday.

Posted by: Jay | June 8, 2006 9:48 AM | Report abuse

bhoomes, Andy R is right, polling in MA shows that a slight majority favor gay marriage now. The state legislature took up a constitutional ban again this year, but it FAILED. In fact, like in the US Senate, some Republicans who originally supported the ban actually shifted and now oppose it, since the doomsday scenarios (both in a legal and "moral" sense) of course did not pan out.

And Andy R. is exactly right in weighing the courts role versus the "will of the people." Courts deciding on this matter is what the courts are FOR. Read Madison and the Federalist Papers...the Constitution created the courts as a protection for minorities against the tyranny of the majority. Without the courts, who knows how much longer issues like interracial marriage, civil rights or women's rights would have been delayed...if not still denied in some states or regions.

To all those who are against the "activist" courts, go back and read the Southern Manifesto, written by a group of Southern elected officials after the Brown decision. Replace references to race with references to gays, and you've basically got Bush, Frist, et. al.'s recent statements on the Court. Very disturbing.

Posted by: Greg-G | June 8, 2006 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Quit hating democracy? That's quite a laugh coming from someone who's trying to undermine the system of check and balances that is the very heart of democracy. Clown.

Posted by: Drindl | June 8, 2006 9:34 AM | Report abuse

The whole ridiculous argument by 'conservatives' around the fictitcious issue of 'judicial activism' ignores the reason why there is a judiciary. What would be the point of it if it acted only as a rubber stamp for the legislature? It would be redundant. It is there to decide disputed law. When wingers don't like the decision, they dishonestly label it 'activism'. It's a completely manufactured, non-existent controversy. More propaganda.

In any case, judges are either elected by the people or appointed by our elected representatives, so how do they have any less legitimacy to make decisions on the people's behalf? That's what we put them there to do.

It's all just a smokescreen to chip away at the Constitution, because wingers think it's too liberal. They want to get rid of homosexuals, abortion and birth control, and jam sex [which they fear terribly] back into its little box, where religious leaders can once again exert control over women's bodies. It's all about the power politics of sexuality.

Posted by: Drindl | June 8, 2006 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Well the fact your state is pushing an amendment to outlaw gay marriage is pretty much prima facia evidence the people of Mass didn't get to decide this issue. If the people of Ma. really support gay marriage then they use the legislative branch to pass a law making it legal. Again, I have no problem if people from different states want to make it legal, but such an important issue should not be decided by a few people. Gay marriage has never been legal since the dawn of civilization nor was any constitution (I believe John Adams wrote yours)written with the intent to make such an act legal. You libs like to use the courts when you lose the argument with the people. Quit hating democracy.

Posted by: bhoomes | June 8, 2006 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Well the fact your state is pushing an amendment to outlaw gay marriage is pretty much prima facia evidence the people of Mass didn't get to decide this issue. If the people of Ma. really support gay marriage then they use the legislative branch to pass a law making it legal. Again, I have no problem if people from different states want to make it legal, but such an important issue should not be decided by a few people. Gay marriage has never been legal since the dawn of civilization nor was any constitution (I believe John Adams wrote yours)written with the intent to make such an act legal. You libs like to use the courts when you lose the argument with the people. Quit hating democracy.

Posted by: bhoomes | June 8, 2006 8:58 AM | Report abuse

The problem with your theory Bhoomes is that the courts are in place specifically to protect the rights of the minority. Our system of government is based on the idea that the majority DOESN'T rule completely. If you read the Mass Courts ruling they didn't overstep their bounds at all. They said according to the State constitution that gay's have the right to be married. They then put a temporary hold on the decision so that the legislature could clarify the constitution OR right a law that would create legal equality (ie civil unions). The legislature (ie the voice of the people) decided not to do that and with Governor Romney's help pushed for a constitutional amendment, which by the way had NO CHANCE of getting approved.

Also the majority of Mass now supports gay marriage rights. The court is in the right here and most legal scholars will agree.

Posted by: Andy R | June 8, 2006 8:32 AM | Report abuse

The push for a constitutional amendment will gather force as more Judges get involved in social issues that should be left up to the citizens to decide. I am all for letting the states decide on Gay marriage but that is not what is happening. The people of Ma. didn't decide, it was a couple of judges who arrogantly overstepped their authority. Civil Unions seem to me a good compromise but if gay activists can't settle for that, than let us make all gay unions illegal.

Posted by: bhoomes | June 8, 2006 7:30 AM | Report abuse

This is off-topic but im watching c-span wash journal's open phones segment re: Zarqawi's death and from the very first call the Republican callers have done nothing but RUTHLESSLY ATTACK DEMOCRATS.

DESPICABLE. I had to turn it off.

This is clearly not America anymore.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | June 8, 2006 7:20 AM | Report abuse

I expect the 70% approval was among the people who actually voted. Was the poll result from the same group, or did it include people who didn't vote? If it's the latter, then the results aren't necessarily inconsistent.

Most people who favor gay marriage don't feel strongly about the issue. The reverse is true for the opponents who would therefore be more likely to vote. On the other hand, a telephone poll doesn't require time off from work or travel, so there's little impact on participation rates. That could explain the different results - at least partially.

Also, two months is a fairly long time for such an emotional issue. After the dust settled, more people might have concluded that it was much ado about nothing.

Posted by: Frank | June 8, 2006 2:14 AM | Report abuse

On the issue of polls and whether they underreport opposition to gay marriage, Missouri is an interesting example. Over 70% of voters approved the gay marriage amendment at the vote. A poll conducted within two months of the vote showed 11 percentage point less support. It calls into question whether any poll is currently valid because those answering the poll are no longer representative of voters as a whole.

Posted by: Ashland | June 7, 2006 11:22 PM | Report abuse

In todays age it amazes me how people treat the bible as an ala carte menu. If these people who claim to be "one" with god read the bible they would see that the punishment for adultry is death - Well there goes 3/4 of the religious right. The bible also condemns eating shell fish. Divorce is a real no no. Also did I mention that working for a profit is condemned. We are to work for the betterment of each other and share. I wonder what James Dobson says about that. However, instead people of faith decide to condemn being gay and gay marriage as the threat to traditional marriage. What a bunch of bigots. If you wish to protect marriage, look towards banning divorce or do as the bible says and give death as the sentence to all people who commit adultry. Last, if all else fails, look at your own marriage. If you need to blame gay marriage as the treat to your marriage, then your marriage was doomed from the start. gay marriage will not now nor in the future lead to the end of civilization or turning our values morally wrong. Its the bigots who support this mean spirited initiative to ban gay marriage who we need to fear and will destroy this wonderful place we use to call America.

Posted by: Dave in Florida | June 7, 2006 8:43 PM | Report abuse

good point - the reality is that none of the issues that matter to America are being dealt with.

no amount of grandstanding will change that basic fact, or the incompetence of the GOP in power.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | June 7, 2006 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Can we please talk about the REAL important issue of the day?

FLAG BURNING. *eyes roll*

Just like gay marriage, flag burning is just another social dominance theme driven by the Radical Christian Republican Right. This entire legislative agenda is so exquisitely Anti-freedom that when it's not driven by greed and profiteering, it's religious and social dominance by the Evangelical Christians. On issue after issue.

Now I have NOTHING wrong with people who practice Evangelical Christianity. But, hey, other people live here. Im NOT an Evangelical Christian. Im not even a Christian of any kind. But even if I wasnt a political junkie, you cant help but be inundated by this stuff. Every news cycle. Every single issue, its: what do the Democrats and Independents think (roughly 65% of the country) vs. what does the Evangelical Christian Right think (roughly 35% of the country, aka The Base). It really is maddening. The country was founded on religious FREEDOM, so any one religious group that tries to exert social or religious dominance over the rest of the country is, by definition Anti-American.

Is it literally SO important to the Christian people to dominate this country that they dont even care what it stands for? I mean, don't you UNDERSTAND what this country is about? What about so many other issues that are so much more important to the entire country than gay marriage and flag burning??????? Hundreds of issues, maybe thousands.

And shoot, and even when the GOP puts boots on the ground, look what happens: Iraq, Afghanistan, Katrina. It really is unfathomable.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | June 7, 2006 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of job protection for gays, anti-discrimination laws to protect homosexuals in the workplace went into effect TODAY in the state of Washington.

Posted by: Wells | June 7, 2006 7:35 PM | Report abuse

It is OK for judges to get involved in the marriage issue if it is about inter-racial marriage, but if it is about seme sex marriage its not OK. Inter-racial marriage is nowhere explicitly described in the constitution so it should of been left to voters ? The constitution did not explicitly describe segregation so judges should not of gotten involved ? These arguments by conservatives do not hold up.

The underlying issues connected to gay marriage are acually mentioned in the constitution. Under the "Equal Protection Clause" , what are those underlying issues. It is what civil marriage bestows -- tangible benifits to seletected classes of society. In other words, you could legally deny a gay couple the ability to marry in a church, but you could not legally deny a gay couple the ((benefits)) that come with being a couple. If you deny them the benifits you are breaking the law of "equal protection" and treated one subclass of society different from another. So at the minimum, the government must at least give Civil Unions(in order to bestow benefits) to gay couples like they have in Vermont. If you don't the government is basically breaking the law and not abiding by its own constitution and the "equal protection" clause. But, this would not be the first time our government did not abide by its own constitution. And, not the first time our government held itself above the law and judges.

Posted by: Wells | June 7, 2006 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Marriage is a religous concept and I thought that the constitution provided for freedom of religon, why then does the president feel that and his supporters have the right to try to force their beliefs on us?

With the Congress we have there are no checks/balances. It appears that it is time to "throw the bums out" and get our country back on track.

Posted by: bob b | June 7, 2006 6:55 PM | Report abuse

the only solution is education...


to some extent, party members that allow themselves to be manipulated loose their power...


the people that are victims of the manipulation,


honest politicians, such that exist, need to speak directly about the manipulation, rather than simply attack the manipulators...


it's like explaining a magicians trick, it has to be done every couple of years as the rubes forget what re-direction is....


going to market, you tell your younger brother, not to play the shell/cup and pea game...

Posted by: in case it's not obvious to you "the fix," for this one is | June 7, 2006 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Compassionate conservative at its finest: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/07062006/6/n-usa-coulter-calls-9-11-widows-witches.html

On this Hillary did the right thing.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | June 7, 2006 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Gay marriage, tax cuts for the wealthy, "Choice", "National Security", none of these matter. They are simply red herrings for the sad state of the economy and Iraq. And, by the economy, we mean JOBS! The Amercian people, by overwhelming majoriies, want us out of Iraq *immediately* and want all guest worker visa's ended. No amnesty, by whatever name they wish to call it, for the millions of illegals and an end to H1B and L visa's AND fines or heavy taxes on companies for every job they outsource. Everything else is merely an attempt to change the subject.

Posted by: Mike Brooks | June 7, 2006 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Political nonsense is always laughable and this is particularly funny. Frist and his right-wing cohorts say that "marriage is under attack."

Will they please name the victims, dead, wounded and captured.

Apparantly the only prisoners are the US Senate and the electorate.

Posted by: Peter L. | June 7, 2006 5:34 PM | Report abuse

gayness is not an issue for anyone except emotionally challenged males and women that support them....

the issue is one of manipulation, and it is possible because there is an emotionally undernourished segment of the population that can be herded....

by appealing to their hatred.


could be about jews or color or ethnicity


but what it's really about is stones, and the lack of them in congress....sissies, pantywaists....


they bend over and grab their ankles when you mention the word gay, they're the J. Edgar Hoovers of the Legislative branch...


"not me,"


right, if you weren't afraid of being labeled you'd walk the truth, not swing...


just say, "I'm not strong enough to tell the truth."

.

Posted by: when are people going to speak to the truth... | June 7, 2006 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Basically these polls tell me what I already know. The only people who really are against gay marriage are right wing evangelical christians. OK those folks are the republican base that vote GOP no matter what.
It is encouraging that 89% of our country beleives in equal right for homosexuals in the work place. But seriously who are the other 11%? I hope I don't know any of them.

Posted by: Andy R | June 7, 2006 5:25 PM | Report abuse

if you think the president is homophobic,

you've got another think coming...


he's busy looting the store and using whatever tools allow him to do that...


he's not interested in people or he wouldn't be selling hate.

he does hold hands with Saudi Princes and prefers them as roomates.

.

Posted by: gosh I guess it means Americans are easily led... | June 7, 2006 5:23 PM | Report abuse

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