Friday, August 21, 2009

Scary, aren't they?


Do these two men scare the shit out of you? Do they make you want to run out and amend the Constitution?

They should, and you should.

They are homosexuals. They live in Maine. They're not rich or famous or pedophiles or political activists. They just met, fell in love and decided to be a couple.

That happened forty years ago.

Which prompts us to renew the question we periodically pose to the Big Swinging Blogs of the SC Right: how does their ability to marry threaten you?

Any takers?


  1. Hi. My name is Thomas and I will take you up on your snide commentary on how the marriage of the two threaten me. Oh, and I do live in South Carolins. This comment of yours is Ad Baculum, and this line of "reasoning" is fallacious because creating fear in people does not constitute evidence for a claim. Your claim, no matter how subtle you presented it (sarcasm on), is this: Why should not these two people get married? Am I correct? (sarcasm off) To begin with, let us recall a noted phenomenum that really belies your affront. The Law of Controversial Progression is a common thread in humanities generational attempts to reinvent social orders based not on natural law or natural science, but simply this: that the most obvious and natural occasions for controversy to spring up, and those most readily suggestive of partisanship, are matters affecting our merely external and social arrangements. Where the current focus is on rewriting "traditions" with a small "t" usurping what natural and common law has accumululated with a convolution befitting the zaniest of all ideaologies in our modern world. Why marriage and not civil union? Why? The concept of homosexual "marriage" is foreign to our Traditions and therfore not applicable in your instance. Whereas Civil unions are more appropriate and have historical precedence, the controversy for a marriage contract versus a civil union contract is not merely a legal proposition, rather this is an attempt to attack organized religion and promote anarchy in each denomination as witnessed by recent divisions on certain protestant denominations. First the religious morphisis of marriage. According to the Jewish view of marriage, the purpose of marriage is both companionship and procreation. The Chuppah is a marriage canopy that symbolizes the couple's first home together. During the Jewish wedding ceremony, the bride and groom stand under the Chuppah. Under the Chuppah, blessings are recited, the wedding ring is given, the Ketubah is read out loud, and the glass is broken. The Chuppah is basically a piece of cloth held up by four poles. Some people use a tallit prayer shaw for the Chuppah cloth. The Chuppah is open on all sides, which is reminiscient of the hospitality Abraham and Sarah showed guests in their open tent. The Chuppah is usually held outside, under the stars, just prior to sundown, as a reminder of the blessing given by God to Abraham, that his children will be as numerous "as the stars of the heavens." From Abraham, we begot two other religions, Catholicism and Islamism. Marriage is a practice common to all cultures in all ages. It is, therefore, a natural institution, something common to all mankind. At its most basic level, marriage is a union between a man and a woman for the purpose of procreation and mutual support, or love. Each spouse in a marriage gives up some rights over his or her life in exchange for rights over the life of the other spouse. While divorce has existed throughout history, it has been rare until recent centuries, which indicates that, even in its natural form, marriage is meant to be a lifelong, union. The Elements of a Natural Marriage: As Fr. John Hardon explains in his Pocket Catholic Dictionary, there are four elements common to natural marriage throughout history:
    It is a union of opposite sexes.
    It is a lifelong union, ending only with the death of one spouse.
    It excludes a union with any other person so long as the marriage exists.
    Its lifelong nature and exclusiveness are guaranteed by contract.
    So, even at a natural level, divorce, adultery, and "homosexual marriage" are not compatible with marriage, and a lack of commitment means that no marriage has taken place.

  2. A Supernatural Institution:
    In the Catholic Church, however, marriage is more than a natural institution; it was elevated by Christ Himself, in His participation in the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11), to be one of the seven sacraments. A marriage between two Christians, therefore, has a supernatural element as well as a natural one. While few Christians outside of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches regard marriage as a sacrament, the Catholic Church insists that marriage between any two baptized Christians, as long as it is entered into with the intention to contract a true marriage, is a sacrament. Marriage (nikah) is a solemn and sacred social contract between bride and groom. This contract is a strong covenant (mithaqun Ghalithun) as expressed in Quran 4:21). The marriage contract in Islam is not a sacrament. It is revocable. Both parties mutually agree and enter into this contract. Both bride and groom have the liberty to define various terms and conditions of their liking and make them a part of this contract. The marriage-gift (Mahr) is a divine injunction. The giving of mahr to the bride by the groom is an essential part of the contract.

    'And give the women (on marriage) their mahr as a (nikah) free gift" (Quran 4:4)

    Mahr is a token commitment of the husband's responsibility and may be paid in cash, property or movable objects to the bride herself. The amount of mahr is not legally specified, however, moderation according to the existing social norm is recommended. The mahr may be paid immediately to the bride at the time of marriage, or deferred to a later date, or a combination of both. The deferred mahr however, falls due in case of death or divorce.

    One matrimonial party expresses 'ijab" willing consent to enter into marriage and the other party expresses 'qubul" acceptance of the responsibility in the assembly of marriage ceremony. The contract is written and signed by the bride and the groom and their two respective witnesses. This written marriage contract ("Aqd-Nikah) is then announced publicly. Marriage (nikah) is considered as an act of worship (ibadah). It is virtuous to conduct it in a Mosque keeping the ceremony simple. The marriage ceremony is a social as well as a religious activity. Islam advocates simplicity in ceremonies and celebrations.
    Prophet Muhammad (S) considered simple weddings the best weddings:'The best wedding is that upon which the least trouble and expense is bestowed". (Mishkat)
    Primary Requirements
    1) Mutual agreement (Ijab-O-Qubul) by the bride and the groom
    2) Two adult and sane witnesses
    3) Mahr (marriage-gift) to be paid by the groom to the bride either immediately (muajjal) or deferred (muakhkhar), or a combination of both
    Secondary Requirements
    1) Legal guardian (wakeel) representing the bride
    2) Written marriage contract ("Aqd-Nikah) signed by the bride and the groom and witnesses by two adult and sane witnesses
    3) Qadi (State appointed Muslim judge) or Ma'zoon (a responsible person officiating the marriage ceremony)
    4) Khutba-tun-Nikah to solemnize the marriage
    The Marriage Banquet (Walima)
    After the consummation of the marriage, the groom holds a banquet called a walima. The relatives, neighbors, and friends are invited in order to make them aware of the marriage. Both rich and poor of the family and community are invited to the marriage feasts.
    Prophet Muhammad (S) said:
    'The worst of the feasts are those marriage feasts to which the rich are invited and the poor are left out". (Mishkat)
    It is recommended that Muslims attend marriage ceremonies and marriage feasts upon invitation.
    Prophet Muhammad (S) said:
    "...and he who refuses to accept an invitation to a marriage feast, verily disobeys Allah and His Prophet". (Ahmad & Abu Dawood)

  3. From these excerpts one can reason that marriage is between and man, woman, and their God. These are the mainline religions of the past 6000 years. There are many other derivatives which the greatest of these further bear witness on the Tradition of marriage, revocable or irevocable in the evolution of our common laws. Protestantism and Orthodoxy each make claims on marriage. It is specifically the Orthodox institution of marriage in this matter that continues to stand undisturbed. The Orthodox marriage is different from the Protestant marriage, or that of the "Western" type. Again, the Western marriage is a contract. The Orthodox marriage is a Mystery, that is, it is one of the Mysteries of the Orthodox Church, alongside Baptism, Communion, etc. For this reason it is not those entering into matrimony who perform the Mystery, for during the entire service, they promise nothing to anyone—not to God, not to each other—but it is God Himself Who performs it. That is, the newly-married take the first steps towards the altar, "under the crown," but the Mystery happens not by them but over them. Compare, for example, the Mystery of the Eucharist: the person taking Communion does not transform the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, but piously approaches the Chalice and accepts the Holy Gifts. Of course, the one who partakes of Communion is not a soulless object upon whom some action is occurring—he is an active participant, but he is not the one who performs the act. In Protestantism, Communion is lowered to a purely symbolic act of the Protestants themselves, who swallow a biscuit and grape juice, throwing the remainder in the trash, while God Himself, in Whose "memory" this is done, plays no role in this action. The same applies to matrimony. The Orthodox marriage is a union of grace, blessed by God, while the Protestant or civil marriage is an action taken by mortals, and for this reason is without grace. Often such a marriage is considered unlawful in Orthodox literature, and is nothing more than sinful cohabitation. Of course, this determination applies only to unwedded Orthodox Christians. To state that a non-Orthodox person sins because he does not take Communion, does not make confession, cohabitates in a graceless civil union makes no sense—the problem lies much deeper than that. And although the Orthodox Church sternly denounces the "gays," for instance, in the official statement adopted by the latest Pastoral Conference of the Western American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, held on March 10-12, the Orthodox Church has nothing to do with homosexual marriages, strictly speaking: there is nothing unusual about the godless acting in a depraved manner. It is more accurate to say that civil unions have no direct connection with the Orthodox Church, its Mysteries or institutions.
    let us address the so-called "deprivation of rights" of the homosexuals. It is not difficult to see that all their statements on the problems associated with visiting the sick (has any one of us not visited sick friends?) and medical insurance are insubstantial, because they can be (and should be) resolved without constitutional amendments and legislation on marriage. The only question worthy of consideration is the very "right to marry." But there is no such right, in nature or in society. One has the right to life, the right to work, the right to vote and even the right to smear everyone and everything (so-called "freedom of speech"), but a right to marry? In the United States, marriage is more of a privilege than a right: for to marry (and to drive an automobile, and to go fishing), one needs a license, while the "right to free speech" requires no license.

  4. In a way, they are right. The fact is that the foundation of any culture is religion (even if it is atheism, or worldliness elevated to the rank of religious ideal). It is religion that determines the limitations of what is to be permitted. Indeed, what temporal logic can explain the ban on one man marrying several women (or the opposite)? If they wish to do so, then they were "born that way." Does the civil government have the right to "suppress the rights" of polygamists? Contemporary American society cannot find a good answer to this in jurisprudence: jurisprudence cannot rely on such unscientific notions as "morality," just as science cannot forbid marriage to pots and pans. One cannot rely on the field of morality since it always depends on religion, for there can be no other foundation. Left without a means of support, morality turns into immorality. And no mythical "human" values will help, because they simply do not exist. In strictly Muslim societies, for example, homosexuals are simply exterminated, while polygamy, and that which the West considers pedophilia, flourish there.

    The fact of the matter is that Western European culture, since ancient times, was Christian. For this reason, laws and traditions are based on religion, which until fairly recently did not need to be defended or explained. Since the time of the separation of church and state, the latter is undergoing a gradual de-Christianization, when the remnants of Christian underpinnings and traditions (for example, prayer in schools, Christian symbolism, traditional marriages, etc.) are attacked one after the other through the courts and removed, since there is no foundation for them in a godless society. The stereotype that couples in same-sex relationships are not as committed as their heterosexual counterparts and are therefore not as psychologically healthy is disputed by two studies featured in the January issue of Developmental Psychology.

    Results showed that same-sex relationships were similar to those of opposite-sex couples in many ways. All had positive views of their relationships but those in the more committed relationships (gay and straight) resolved conflict better than the heterosexual dating couples. And lesbian couples worked together especially harmoniously during the laboratory tasks.

    The notion that committed same-sex relationships are “atypical, psychologically immature, or malevolent contexts of development was not supported by our findings,” said lead author Glenn I. Roisman, PhD. “Compared with married individuals, committed gay males and lesbians were not less satisfied with their relationships.”

    Furthermore, said Roisman, “Gay males and lesbians in this study were generally not different from their committed heterosexual counterparts on how well they interacted with one another, although some evidence emerged the lesbian couples were especially effective at resolving conflict.”

    Both studies compared same-sex couples with opposite-sex couples on a number of developmental and relationship factors. The first study examined whether committed same-sex couples differ from engaged and married opposite-sex couples in how well they interacted and how satisfied they were with their partners. Evidence has shown that positive interactions improve the quality of relationships in ways that foster healthy adult development.

    Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign compared 30 committed gay male and 30 committed lesbian couples with 50 engaged heterosexual couples and 40 older married heterosexual couples, as well as with dating heterosexual couples. All the partners responded to a questionnaire that documented how positively they interacted with one another on a day to day basis. The couples were also observed during a laboratory task and were monitored for distress by skin conductance and heart rate.

  5. In the second study, researchers from the University of Washington, San Diego State University and the University of Vermont wanted to examine how sexual orientation and legal status affected relationship quality. To do so, they followed 65 male and 138 female same-sex couples with civil unions, 23 male and 61 female same-sex couples not in civil unions and 55 heterosexual married couples over a three-year period. One member of each heterosexual couple was a sibling to a member of a civil union couple.

    Both partners in all of the couples answered questions regarding their demographics, status of their relationship, number of children, sexual behavior, frequency of contact with their parents with and without their partners and perceived social support. Partners in same-sex relationships also answered questions regarding disclosure of their sexual orientation to their family, peers and work associates.

    The researchers found that same-sex couples were similar to heterosexual couples on most relationships variables, and that the legalized status of a relationship did not seem to be the overriding factor affecting same-sex relationships.

    Despite the legal status of their relationships, the civil union couples showed no differences on any of the relationship measures from the same-sex couples who were in committed relationships but not in civil unions. “This may be because those couples in Vermont who sought out the legal protection of a civil union might have legalized their relationship more for symbolic value than for commitment reasons, which did not affect their day-to-day interactions,” said lead author Kimberly F. Balsam, PhD.

    However, the same sex-couples who were not in civil unions were more likely to have ended their relationships compared to those couples in same-sex civil unions or heterosexual marriages. This suggests that the protections afforded by a legalized relationship may impact same-sex relationships, something the study’s authors plan to follow up on in future research, said Balsam.

    The findings also showed that same-sex couples, regardless of civil union status, were more satisfied with their relationships compared to married heterosexual couples. Same-sex couples reported more positive feelings toward their partners and less conflict than heterosexual married couples, said the authors. They theorized that there may be societal pressures and norms, as well as the presence of legal status as a couple, which may contribute to heterosexual couples staying together even when they are not happy. Alternatively, most long-term same-sex couples have to stay together by their own will and hard work since they don’t have society’s forces on their side, Balsam added.

    This was the first study to follow same-sex couples in legalized unions over a period of time. This type of design allows the researchers to monitor changes in the relationships and compare them with changes experienced by both same-sex couples not in civil unions and heterosexual couples. All the couples were comparable with respect to race/ethnicity and age at the time of the study. Opponents of gay marriage in the United States today have tended to assume that nuclear families have always been the standard household form. However, as Tulchin writes, "Western family structures have been much more varied than many people today seem to realize, and Western legal systems have in the past made provisions for a variety of household structures."

  6. For example, in late medieval France, the term affrèrement -- roughly translated as brotherment -- was used to refer to a certain type of legal contract, which also existed elsewhere in Mediterranean Europe. These documents provided the foundation for non-nuclear households of many types and shared many characteristics with marriage contracts, as legal writers at the time were well aware, according to Tulchin.

    The new "brothers" pledged to live together sharing 'un pain, un vin, et une bourse' -- one bread, one wine, and one purse. As Tulchin notes, "The model for these household arrangements is that of two or more brothers who have inherited the family home on an equal basis from their parents and who will continue to live together, just as they did when they were children." But at the same time, "the affrèrement was not only for brothers," since many other people, including relatives and non-relatives, used it.

    The effects of entering into an affrèrement were profound. As Tulchin explains: "All of their goods usually became the joint property of both parties, and each commonly became the other's legal heir. They also frequently testified that they entered into the contract because of their affection for one another. As with all contracts, affrèrements had to be sworn before a notary and required witnesses, commonly the friends of the affrèrés."

    Tulchin argues that in cases where the affrèrés were single unrelated men, these contracts provide "considerable evidence that the affrèrés were using affrèrements to formalize same-sex loving relationships. . . . I suspect that some of these relationships were sexual, while others may not have been. It is impossible to prove either way and probably also somewhat irrelevant to understanding their way of thinking. They loved each other, and the community accepted that. What followed did not produce any documents."

    He concludes: "The very existence of affrèrements shows that there was a radical shift in attitudes between the sixteenth century and the rise of modern antihomosexual legislation in the twentieth."

    Reference: Allan Tulchin, "Same-Sex Couples Creating Households in Old Regime France: The Uses of the Affrèrement." Journal of Modern History: September 2007.

    When lawyers are approached for a marriage contract, they should outline in detail, for the client, the various alternatives available since there are a wide variety of results that may obtain on the breakup of a marriage or death. They need to explain carefully the different results that should obtain if the parties separate and why that should be different from the results if there is a break down of the relationship by premature death of one of the parties. The parties need to explore in detail the support provisions of the proposed agreement and understand in light of Miglin they cannot easily contract out of support obligations. If the parties are not to share in property, the parties need to understand what they are giving up and what are the alternatives. At the end of the day, however, in order to prevent any misunderstandings, both between the parties and the lawyers, the parties need to meet face to face in the same room with their lawyers. The collaborative law approach to resolving disputes for parties who are separating has much to offer in terms of the approach that should be used to negotiate a marriage contract. The parties not only need to understand their legal rights from their own counsel, they need to understand and appreciate the other party’s needs and concerns as to why a marriage contract is being asked for in the first place. If these kinds of four-way meetings are approached with the spirit of cooperation and mutual desire to reach a satisfactory agreement, then the adversary process which is so inimical to the successful negotiation of a marriage contract will not play a role.

  7. Negotiations for a marriage contract should never start off with one lawyer presenting the other side with an agreement. Lawyers’ instinctive reactions are to make changes to any agreement sent to them by the other side. A lawyer feels that he or she has not done their job unless they do make changes. Once you embark upon this road, it is a downward spiral. Far better to meet and exchange ideas and exchange concerns. Then, at the end of that meeting, someone can undertake to circulate a draft that reflects the concerns raised at the meeting.

    None of this matters whereas gay marriages have been reduced to a 14 amendment argument despite 6000 years of human history and legal precedence to the contrary. Gay civil unions and what is to be proscribed, not "Gay Marriage". What your side is proposing is a game of semantics not rights or privelege.

    The Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman for purposes of all federal laws, and provides that states need not recognize a marriage from another state if it is between persons of the same sex. 37 states have their own Defense of Marriage Acts (DOMAs), while 2 more states have strong language that defines marriage as one man and one woman. There are 30 states that have constitutional amendments protecting traditional marriage, including the three states (Arizona, California, and Florida) that passed constitutional amendments in November 2008.


    In re Marriage Cases

    City of San Francisco began issuing same-sex marriage licenses in violation of Proposition 22. Proposition 22 is California’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which provides that marriage in California is only recognized as being between a man and a woman. These consolidated actions were filed to stop San Francisco from continuing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and to obtain a ruling that the licenses issued were invalid. Now that the Supreme Court has stopped San Francisco from issuing illegal marriage licenses, these actions seek a declaration that California's marriage statues are constitutional.

    Status: The California Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, ruled that the California Constitution recognized same-sex "marriage" as a fundamental right.

    Proposition 8 Cases: Strauss, et al. v. Horton, et al.; City and County of San Francisco, et al.; Tyler, et al. v. State, et al.

    Proposition 8 was an initiative to amend the California Constitution to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman. Proposition 8 passed on Nov. 4, 2008, and effectively reversed the decision in the Marriage Cases.These actions were filed to request an immediate stay or injunctive relief to halt Proposition 8 from taking effect, claiming that the measure was an illegal constitutional revision, not merely an amendment to the constitution.

    Status: On Thursday, March 05, 2009, the Supreme Court heard oral argument on the Prop. 8 cases.


    Kerrigan v. State

    On August 27, 2004, the ACLU and GLAD (the organization that filed the Goodridge lawsuit in Massachusetts) filed a lawsuit on behalf of seven same-sex couples claiming a right to marry under the Connecticut Constitution. Connecticut does not have a DOMA.

    Status: On October 10, 2008, the Supreme Court found that sexual orientation is a quasi-suspect class for state constitutional equal protection analysis. Because the state did not offer a sufficient justification for limiting marriage to one man and one woman, the court found that Connecticut's marriage laws violated its state constitution.


    Varnum v. Brien

    Lambda Legal brought suit on behalf of six same-sex couples in Polk County, Iowa to challenge the state's definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The plaintiffs base their claims on the due process and equal protection clauses of the Iowa constitution.

    Status: This case was appealed to the Supreme Court of Iowa. On June 05, 2008, ADF filed an amicus brief on behalf of several Iowa Legislators in support of Defendant-Appellant. Oral argument was held on December 09, 2008.


    Deane v. Conaway

    ACLU lawsuit claiming a right of same-sex couples to marry each other under the Maryland Constitution. Maryland does not have a DOMA.

    Status: The trial court held that the definition of marriage creates a gender classification which is unconstitutional under the state's Equal Rights Amendment. The Maryland Court of Appeals (high court) granted a direct appeal of the case while briefing was still under way in the mid-level Court of Special Appeals. The Court of Appeals heard oral argument on December 4, 2006 (click here for ADF's live blog summary of the arguments compiled as they took place). On September 18, 2007 the Court ruled 5-2 in favor of traditional marriage, including a finding that procreation is inextricably intertwined with marriage. The opinion can be found here.


    Godfrey v. Spano

    This is a taxpayer challenge to Westchester County Executive, Andrew Spano's executive order which purports to recognize same- sex "marriages" performed in jurisdictions outside New York State. The trial court dismissed the complaint and that order has been appealed to the New York Supreme Court -Appellate Division for the Second Department.

    Status: The appellate court held the lower court properly declared the Executive Order is a valid exercise of the County Executive's power, is not an illegal act, and does not violate the State Constitution or the Municipal Home Rule Law. On February 11, 2009, Appellants filed for leave to appeal in New York's highest court.

  9. The Commissioner of the Department of Civil Service has issued an ultra vires policy by enabling legislation to include same-sex "spouses" married out of state. The trial court ruled that the Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment was denied, and granted the Motion to Intervene for the Defendant-Intervenors. The decision stated that the opinion of Martinez v City of Monroe was binding precedent, and therefore the Court must rule against Plaintiffs and allow out-of-state same-sex "marriages" to be recognized in the State of New York. The case is currently on appeal.

    Status: The appellate court affirmed the lower court's decision without costs. They held out-of-state same-sex "marriages" should be recognized by the marriage recognition rule and that the Department of Civil Service did not violate the separation of powers doctrine or usurp the Legislature's authority to determine out-of-state same-sex "marriages" cannot be recognized in NY. On February 11, 2009, Appellants filed for leave to appeal in New York's highest court.



    Gill v. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)

    A lawsuit filed by GAY & LESBIAN ADVOCATES & DEFENDERS (GLAD) plaintiffs who are citizens of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, are seeking to have a judge redefine marriage for the entire country. GLAD feels these same-sex couples are being denied legal protections and benefits under federal law that are available to heterosexual married couples. The lawsuit asks a federal judge to declare portions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)P.L. 104-199, codified in part as 1 U.S.C. § 7 (“DOMA, 1 U.S.C. § 7”), which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman, unconstitutional.

    Status: No response has been filed as of yet.

    We clearly see a push to redefine marriage for the entire country with no other precedence than the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. There is no reason for this as state by state, civil unions and domestic partnerships to protect the couples interests in matters of proprty and rights.

    Therefore, in lieu of the evidence I have presented, marriage of gays is to be defined as civil unions of gays with all the accoutrements of marriage save the very word "married". To prolong the case ot afford the title of being married bears no reason or logic to the cause other than a desire to place a title where it does not belong. Note, I did not even beging to debate the evidence of natural science as to the so called "genetic" basis for human homosexuality versus a choice to practice that lifestyle, another aspect to the debate that is being buried under the guise of a 14th amendment clause.

    To recap, civil unions yes, gay marriages no.