Same sex marriage
This essay discusses the various arguments surrounding same sex marriages and civil unions.

Civil unions verses marriages

Polls show that the public is more accepting of the idea of same sex civil unions than they are of same sex marriage. As of March 2004, the short-term trends say that the idea of same-sex unions is becoming more popular, and now is favored by a majority of Americans. At the same time, same-sex marriage has been losing some support. However, the long-term trends have been for more support for both, particularly from the younger generations.

Much of this is because of how the word “marriage” is perceived. In some churches “marriage” is a sacrament, and it is associated with religion for many people. A recent poll shows that if it is made clear that allowing gays access to the civil contract of marriage, does not require any church to perform any ceremony it does not wish to, then support for civil unions and marriage is about equal.
http://www.hrc.org/newsreleases/2003/030801marriagepoll.asp

For purposes of discussion, we need to separate the civil, legal aspect of marriage from the religious aspect. And for many, calling one “civil unions” and the other “marriage” accomplishes this. But, another way of making the distinction between the religious and secular aspects is to talk about “the civil contract of marriage” and “the sacrament of marriage”. In either case, churches are free to determine who they will marry, and what marriages they will recognize, independent of the state. The issue is the legal rights and responsibilities granted by the state. Since 1878 in Reynolds vs. the U.S. the Supreme Court has held that civil marriage is controlled by the state, and separated from the church.

Personally, as long as civil unions carry the same legal rights and responsibilities as marriage, it does not matter what they are called. If legal equality is achieved, lexical equality is not needed. Some, however, would argue that separate is never equal. One difference between calling them “marriages” and “unions”, is that the term “unions” seems to imply that they are fundamentally different than marriages, while calling them marriages, obviously implies they are fundamentally the same. I think the reality is that no matter what they are called some people will see them as equal, while others will see them as marriages and "marriages".

One important practical difference between civil unions and marriage is that if a state legalizes same sex marriage, some state courts may rule that their state must accept those marriages. Also, the federal courts may make a similar ruling. This thinking is based on the "full faith and credit" clause of the constitution. But this is far from clear, and at the moment the 1996 federal DoMA law says that states are not required to recognize these marriages from other states. Barring a new supreme court precedent, recognition is a question that will have to be decided state by state. And, it is not clear how much difference calling them marriages would make.

Another difference is that the federal government may also be compelled to recognize such marriages. Federal recognition is far more important than state recognition. Federal recognition includes social security benefits, joint federal tax filing, family leave, etc. Currently the federal DoMA law says that for federal purposes marriage is between a man and a woman. This part of DoMA could be found unconstitutional.  However, for this purpose, it may not matter whether they are marriages or unions depending on how the unions are defined. In the
proposed amendment to the Massachusetts state constitution, unions are defined as legally identical to marriages, including all rights and responsibilities. I can not see how the supreme court could choose to treat these unions differently than marriages. The question is - is "standing to sue the federal government under equal protection" included in the "benefits, protections, rights, privileges and obligations" of marriage? I believe it is. However, it is clear that "marriage" would give standing, it is not absolutely clear that "unions" would. Certainly the lawyer against same-sex marriage would be arguing that unions and marriages are not the same.

More about the politics of marriage can be found here.

Un-equal unions?

There is a special set of problems if we create an institution that is separate, but not equal. If unions are marriages, except in name, there is no problem. But if they are a kind of marriage-lite, then there is a problem.

If these unions are not open to opposite sex couples, then the opposition can claim that same sex couples are being granted “special rights”. Note, however, that this is an “equal protection” argument. And, if it is valid to argue that opposite sex couples should not be excluded from unions, then it is just as valid to argue that same sex couples should not be excluded from marriage.

On the other hand, if these unions are open to everyone, including opposite sex couples, then the opposition will claim that the institution of marriage is being weakened, since opposite sex couples can now sign up for “marriage-lite”.

This problem illustrates that whether or not we call these unions “marriages”, or just “unions”, the rights and responsibilities that go along with them must be identical.

Some have suggested that the government should get out of "marriage" altogether, and leave it to the churches. Everyone, same-sex or opposite-sex would get "unions" from the government. The problem with this idea is that it lends strength to the argument the Right is trying to make that this is about "destroying marriage".

The arguments for same sex marriage

Equality

The most fundamental reason we should have same sex marriages is basic equality. The 14th amendment reads in part: ...No State shall...deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

This clause was used to strike down miscegenation laws. The court ruled that if a black man could not marry a white woman, but a white man could marry a white woman, then the black man and the white man were not treated equally under the law. Opponents argued that the black man was perfectly free to marry, he just had to marry someone of his own race.

Today's arguments are very similar. The difference is that today the arguments are about gender instead of race. Opponents argue that lesbians and gays are free to marry, but only the opposite gender. However, if Robert can marry Jill, and Roberta can not marry Jill, then Roberta is being discriminated against, solely on the bases of her gender. Roberta and Robert are not free to marry the same set of people. One can marry Jill, but the other can not. Thus not allowing same sex couples to marry is fundamentally gender discrimination. Therefore the current legal definition of marriage as one man and one woman is a violation of equal protection.

Prohibiting same sex marriage is also discrimination against a group of people, based on a biological characteristic. Research is still being done on the causes of homosexuality, but much of the evidence now suggests that sexual orientation is determined pre-natally in the womb. Variations in hormone levels produce the differences in sexual characteristics in the fetus, and hormones also effect the developing brain. There are studies that show that being left handed is correlated with same sex attraction, and left-handedness is also thought to be caused by pre-natal conditions. To be clear, the study does not suggest that being left handed makes one likely to be gay, or that being gay makes one likely to be left handed, but suggests that being in one of those groups, increases your chances of being in the other group.There are other physical markers. For example, women's index and ring fingers tend to be much closer in length than men's. And the ratio of finger lengths in lesbian women is closer to the male pattern. Although, again, one can not tell someone's orientation based on finger lengths.

http://members.tripod.com/~jefferson100/homocure/homocure-news_article_06.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/695142.stm
http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=1395062004
http://www.deccanherald.com/deccanherald/oct182004/snt4.asp
Another article on brain differences
And another

More evidnce that this is something biological can be found in the fact that there are homosexual animals.

http://gaytoday.badpuppy.com/garchive/events/031799ev.htm
http://www.salon.com/it/feature/1999/03/cov_15featurea.html
http://www.bidstrup.com/sodomy.htm
http://www.sciencenews.org/sn_arc97/1_4_97/bob1.htm
http://www.healthscout.com/template.asp?page=newsdetail&ap=1&id=509110

There is some speculation that having a few non-breeding members in a population, increases the chances of survival for the population as a whole. And, in a number of species, an increase in homosexuality may be a natural response to over-crowding and over-population.

In essence, in some cases we are likely dealing with an individual that received the body of one gender, and some of the hard wiring in the brain, normally associated with the other. That is a woman with male brain patterns, or vice-versa. The scientific evidence for this position is still inconclusive, although it leans in that direction, but the testimonial evidence is overwhelming. Lesbians and gays claim to have always been that way. That is their testimony, about their experience. If we do not allow these people to live their lives in a way that is normal for them, then we are discriminating against a group of people, based on biological characteristics they were born with.

Some have said that on their face marriage laws do not discriminate against gays, since they are free to marry anyone of the opposite gender, just like anyone else. However the supreme court has a standard that it has used in race discrimination cases known as "strict scrutiny". This examines not only if the law is neutral on its face, but also whether the effect of the law falls disproportionately on a targeted group. Clearly a law that prevents women from marrying women effects lesbians more than straight women. So, marriage laws would fail strict scrutiny based on their unequal impact on gay people, in spite of the fact that they are neutral on their face. In addition, as I pointed out above, even on their face, marriage laws are a form of gender discrimination.

Finally, although I have said that this is about the civil contract of marriage, many readers may still consider marriage a religious issue. One could, for example, say that the 1878 precedent set in Reynolds should be overturned, and marriage should be controlled by the church and not the state. One could say the state should simply recognize church marriages. If that is the case, then denying same sex couples the right to marriage is religious discrimination, and a violation of the 1st amendment guarantee of freedom of religion. Many churches, such as the Unitarian-Universalists marry same sex couples, and are actively involved in their struggle for equal rights.
http://www.uua.org/

Society’s intrest

In addition to the basic ideas of fairness and equality, we can ask, "Why does society have an interest in promoting heterosexual marriage?"

I have 3 answers.
1) It provides a stable environment to raise children.
2) Monogamy helps prevent the spread of some social diseases.
3) Monogamy provides for more social stability in general. It allows people to settle down, and worry less about mating, and more about doing other productive things within society.

All three of these apply to same sex couples as well. If society has an interest in promoting heterosexual monogamy, then it also has an interest in promoting homosexual monogamy. Now some may object here and say that same sex couples will not have children. This is not a reason to deny same sex couples the right to marry. We do not deny marriage to couples simply because they are sterile. 

But more importantly, these couple often
do have children. Sometimes these children are from previous relationships, sometimes they are adopted, and sometimes conceived artificially. And studies have shown that same sex couples make just as good of parents as opposite sex parents. In fact, because of the effort some same sex couples have to go through in order to have children, these children are clearly wanted, and because of this, the same sex couple may even be better parents on average, than the average heterosexual couple.

http://joeyrouth.tripod.com/colage/id10.html
http://www.apa.org/pi/parent.html

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=97&ncid=97&e=7&u=
/hsn/20041115/hl_hsn/teenswithsamesexparentswelladjusted

http://www.gay.com/news/article.html?2007/09/21/1

While these studies may not be absolute proof, there is certainly no significant evidence to suggest that same sex parents are inferior to opposite sex parents. And we should demand a significant amount of evidence to support that claim, before we use it as a justification for denying a group equal rights. And, even if we were to find that opposite sex parents were somewhat superior, how could we justify singling out and excluding same-sex parents when we grant marriage licences to violent felons, and drug addicts?

But what about all those studies that show that fathers are important?
Those studies show that
two parents are important.
They do not study lesbian couples, in general.

But don’t kids need to see love between a man and a woman modeled?
They see love between two
people modeled, and as adults,
they are no more likely than average to be gay themselves.

Don’t kids need both male and female influences? Sort of a Yin and Yang?
Kids do benefit from having parents that have different interests and personalities, and same sex parents provide this as well as opposite sex parents. With the exception of a little bit of plumbing, the differences between males and females are only on average. For any trait you can name you can find individuals that defy stereotypes. In many same sex couples, you can find a healthy mix of both stereotypically male and female traits. Children in these homes will not lack from diversity of parental models.

But are lesbians and gays really going to be monogamous? Studies show that the average co-habitating lesbian couple is more monogamous than the average co-habitating heterosexual couple, but less monogamous than the average married couple.
www.vifamily.ca/library/cft/samesex.html There is no reason to suppose that those lesbian couples that would choose to marry, would be any less monogamous than married heterosexual couples. Gay male couples on average are less monogamous, however. There are many monogamous gay male couples, but they do not represent a majority. However, we need to keep in mind that there is self selection involved in which couples would be applying for these marriages. The typical couple will not be a pair of south beach party boys. More typical would be a lesbian couple, living in a house in the suburbs, and raising children together. Marriage is about monogamy. It is for couples that want to live in a monogamous relationship to strengthen those bonds. The same sex couples that would take on the rights and also the responsibilities of marriage would, for the most part, be those that have the intention of remaining monogamous.

But what if I think gay men may be more likely to abuse the institution of marriage?
If that is the case, why should we open it up to them?
First of all, we should make sure it is available to those who
do wish to be monogamous. We can not hold individuals responsible for others in a group. Secondly, marriage, with its legal and financial commitments, encourages monogamy. But for unconvinced conservatives - I have a suggestion that I do not actually advocate, but which may appeal to some. The courts have ruled that we can not regulate adult consensual sex, outside of marriage. Sodomy laws have been struck down nationwide, and fornication laws are struck down when they are tested. (Most recently in Georgia). However, once you enter into the contract of marriage, the government can play a role in enforcing the contract. Adultery laws are not unconstitutional. One would therefore assume that one could make extra-marital sodomy illegal. This is my reading of Kennedy's Lawrence decision. This would provide couples with a clear choice - either stay single, and have legal sex with as many people as you like, or marry and accept the rights and responsibilities of marriage, including that fact that extra-marital sex is illegal. See existing state laws here: :http://usmarriagelaws.com/search/extramarital_affairs/bigamy_laws/index.shtml

Finally, another benefit from the point of view of society is that it is important to know when two people are related for the purposes of complying with conflict-of-interest laws. Knowing who's your brother-in-law is important to the state when it comes to awarding contracts, serving on juries, etc. And obviously, this is just as relevant when we are talking about same-sex couples.

Can’t they accomplish the same thing without marriage?

But why do they need to be able to get married, can’t they accomplish the same thing some other way?

No.


There are more than 1,000 federal rights, benefits, protections and
responsibilities associated with civil marriage in this country, according to a 1997 study by the General Accounting Office. Gay and lesbian couples, in lifelong relationships pay higher taxes and are denied basic protections under the law. For example, they can be denied the right to visit a sick or injured loved one in the hospital. They receive no Social Security survivor benefits, despite paying payroll taxes. They must pay federal income taxes on their domestic partner's health insurance, while other employees do not have to pay income tax on benefits for their married partners. They must pay all estate taxes when a partner dies. They pay significant penalties on IRA and pension rollovers. They are denied health benefits under COBRA and family leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
http://www.hrc.org/newsreleases/2003/030801marriagepoll.asp

The arguments against same sex marriage

The bible says its wrong.

Some Christians and others feel that same sex relationships are against their religion. Other Christians who are less conservative disagree with this. I am not going to try to tell anyone what their religion says. However, one question I have for those that insist on seeing the bible as forbidding homosexuality is how they reconcile their literal reading of some passages with the fact that they don’t follow others.

For example, Exodus 21:20:
"
If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, 21 but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.

This tells us that it is O.K. to beat a slave within a few days of his life, and there should be no penalty for it.
Why is this passage less important than those that are used to argue against homosexuality?

But, the issue is not really about what Christianity says about same sex relations. The question is what the law should be. This is a secular issue, not a religious one. In 1878, in Reynolds vs. U.S. the Supreme Court found that the first amendment guarantee of freedom of religion did not allow Mormons to legally practice polygamy. It said that professed doctrines of religious belief were not superior to the law of the land. Or, in other words, the state defines who may be legally married, not the church.
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=case&court=us&vol=98&page=145

Without the absolutes of God, all is subjective.

Well, yes, and no. Yes, in that ultimately we are all responsible for what we believe, what authorities we trust, what we believe is wrong, and how we behave. In fact many Christians believe their religion can only truly be accepted as the result of profound personal experience.

These belief systems, and personal codes of morality, are fine for self-governance, and are protected by the 1st amendment. But, if we are going to form a society, we are going to have to strive for rules that we can generally agree on. The basis of this agreement can not be subjective personal experience. Just as science which strives toward agreement about nature, must be based on evidence from the world, so too public morality, which strives towards agreement about behavior, must be based on evidence.  Rules governing behavior must be based on evidence about the consequences of that behavior.

This is part of the reason that we have a tradition of separation of church and state in the United States. And contrary to what some would claim today, the separation of church and state is not a “myth”, but the current interpretation of the U.S. constitution.

The question is "Will promoting monogamous same sex relations have any measurable negative consequences for individuals or society?" To date, no one I know of has presented any reasonable argument that this is the case. Promiscuity can be harmful in all relationships. But how does a monogamous relationship hurt anyone?

It will lead to legitimizing other forms of sexuality like polygamy or incest.

This is a "slippery-slope" argument. And, a slippery-slope argument is always a logical fallacy. Each proposition must be separately evaluated on its own merit. If those other forms of sexuality can be shown to be harmful to society, then there is a good case for not legalizing them. But they are not relevant to this question.

There are arguments against polygamy that don't exist for same sex marriage. For example, "the widespread practice of polygamy would have great social costs. It would distort the sexual marketplace by creating an undersupply of marriageable women. (Polyandry, the practice of women having multiple husbands, is too rare to be worth discussing.) The result is the creation of what Jonathan Rauch calls a 'sexual underclass' of 'low-status men' whose prospects for marriage are virtually nil."
http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110003426

Also see this legal analysis of polygamy

Marriage is, and will be if it is redefined, about long-term commitment, monogamy, and a stable environment in which children may be raised if that is the parents' choice. Stability is important for raising children. If two people enter into an arrangement, there is only one relationship to worry about. If three people enter into an arraignment, then there are three relationships to worry about. It seems likely that keeping this complex relationship stable would be more complicated, and less well suited for child raising.

This is not an overwhelming argument against multiple marriage, but it is a rational argument. And in fact the arguments against multiple marriage are exactly the same whether we allow same-sex marriage or not.
Legally there are supreme court precedents on the books that do not allow polygamous marriages. In addition, there is no equal protection argument for multiple marriage. Each individual may marry one and only one person. The law treats all individuals identically. Polygamy is a separate issue that needs to be considered separately from same-sex marriage. Slippery-slope is always a logical fallacy.

Another argument that comes up from time to time is "What if I want to marry my sister"? If one or the other person were sterile, one could argue that should not be a problem, legally. In Illinois, for example, you can marry your first cousin, if one of you is sterile. However, such a couple would not need marriage to become next-of-kin because they already are. Given that we prevent all brother-sister pairs from marrying, sterile or not, equal treatment under the law would demand that we do not allow sister-sister pairs to marry either. I also don't believe there is an equal protection argument that would demand we allow intra-family marriages, even if they are sterile.There is no "class" of people that are being treated unequally under the law. Finally, I don't see this as a serious issue. We are not likely to see a high demand for adult sister-sister marriages, or activist groups working for that. And, even if a handful of people eventually did marry, it is hardly the end of society.

A columnist speculated recently that a rich man without children could marry his favorite niece's boyfriend to avoid inheritance taxes. But in fact, today, he could marry his favorite nephew's girlfriend, and do the same thing. People don't do that today for obvious reasons. One being that the girlfriend and the nephew would have no legal connection. So there would be no way to be sure the money got to the nephew. Same-sex marriage does not change the reasoning behind any other type of marriage law. They are separate issues.

Finally, the least thoughtful arguments say, "What if I want to marry a minor?" or "What if I want to marry a dog?". We have countless laws that "discriminate" against children, that are supported by a compelling state interests. We do not even allow them to vote for example. This, obviously, would not change. And, of course, no animal can enter into any kind of legal contract, period.

It’s not traditional

This implies that the way we have always done things, must be the correct way to do things. With this logic, women would still have no legal identity apart from their husband, and would still be denied the right to vote. We would still practice the tradition of slavery. All tradition can tell us is where we are today. It can tell us what steps will be needed to reach a goal from where we are. It can not tell us what our goals should be. In order for there to be progress, traditions must be continually questioned for their usefulness and relevance. Those that still function well should be retained. Those that are no longer appropriate should be discarded.

But if something has been around that long, it must be good, right? Wrong. Slavery and discrimination against women were around a long time too. Our practices must always be examined for possible improvement.

Still we could ask “Why now?” What has changed? Most importantly, the role of women in society has transformed over the 20th century. There is no longer any justification for treating men and women differently in the eyes of the law. The younger generations in society today, who were raised in an environment that did not question the equality of men and women, are also very accepting of same sex marriage. Another factor is the internet which has recently provided lesbians and gays with more opportunities to find each other, and to get their message out. This has caused even more lesbians and gays to be more open about their identity, creating a reinforcing cycle.  

But the question of "Why now?" is not the important question. We could just as easily ask why it took so many centuries for women to achieve equal rights, or why it took so long to abandon slavery. And, we could no doubt fashion answers in terms of changes in society driven by advances in technology. But, the important thing is that they were the right thing to do at the time, just like same sex unions are the right thing to do today.

This is just moral relativism.


The question of whether or not there are moral absolutes is a religious and philosophical question that we can not attempt to answer here. However, a more practical question is, "Can we know what is moral with absolute certainty?" Some religions would claim the answer is yes, but accepting the authority of the religion is often based on personal faith or personal subjective experience. Public morality, on the other hand, must be based on evidence about the consequences of actions.

It is possible that moral absolutes do exist, and yet, it may be correct for societies to change their views over time. One possibility, is that although moral absolutes do exist, no human society has every grasped them perfectly, and we are still striving towards perfection.

For another possibility, we can take our clues from Thomas Aquinas, who certainly believed in the absolute authority of God. He thought there were certain first principles of morality that were eternal, and unchanging, and evident to all. However, there were secondary principles of morality, that could be derived through reason from the first principles. These secondary principles might change over time, as knowledge increased, or as the circumstances they were applied to changed.

An example of a first principle might be a statement of the golden rule. "Love your neighbor like thyself.", or "Do on to others as you would have them do on to you." But the application of this first principle, might vary from time to time from place to place, and from person to person.

Just as a simple example to show how consequences are relevant. We could say that jumping off a cliff is a bad thing to do. Jumping off a cliff with a hang-glider, might be O.K., however. The consequences are different.

An example of how changes in society could effect what is morally acceptable, might be modern medicine working with cadavers. There are benefits to working with these dead bodies that did not exist in past ages.

An action might be wrong in most situations, however, with increased knowledge, we might come to realize that there are exceptions to the general rule. In the case of same sex couples, if we were to say that non-monogamous sex is always wrong, and that 90+% of the population is heterosexual, then for 90+% of the population homosexual sex would always be wrong. But with increased knowledge, we may come to realize that for a minority of society, monogamous same sex relations are not wrong.

And again, public morality must be based on evidence about the consequences of actions.

It will harm the institution of marriage

What exactly is meant by this? If it means, “the traditional institution of marriage”, then we are back to the argument from tradition.

If instead we mean, “More heterosexuals will choose not to get married or more heterosexuals will get divorced.” how exactly does this follow? The fact that more people today choose not to get married than in the past, and that the divorce rate is as high as it is
does strike me as a threat to the institution of marriage. But how does promoting monogamy and marriage for more people, in this case same sex couples, threaten the institution? There does not seem to be any logical connection here.

I’ve heard it said that letting same sex couples marry would "devalue" the institution, in the same way counterfeit money devalues currency. But this presupposes the case it wants to make, that same sex marriages are somehow less valuable. Counterfeit money
is less valuable than real money, but a same sex marriage would be no less valuable than an opposite sex marriage. Society benefits from both. In addition, the analogy between marriage and money is a poor one. There is no mechanism by which granting one marriage can devalue another, as there is for money. Letting same sex couples marry does not hurt anyone's heterosexual marriage, nor the institution of marriage.

It is already ruining marriage in Scandinavia

This claim is usually made based on articles by Stanley Kurtz. These are political hack jobs masquerading as a serious study. He examines the state of marriage in Scandinavia, which is actually better than here in the U.S, but clearly is not the same as it traditionally was. He then claims this is due to same-sex unions. However, there is not even an attempt to make a statistical argument for causation. Rather, both the changes in heterosexual marriage, and same-sex marriage are both the result of other changes in society, like the decline of religious practice and belief, the rise of the welfare state, advances in contraception and abortion, and the improving economic status of women.

http://www.contemporaryfamilies.org/media/same%20sex%20marriage%20briefing%20paper.htm

It’s against the natural law

The first response here might be to say that it
is natural since it happens in animals, and seems to be determined from birth. But that is not the real point here. By saying it is unnatural the opposition is saying that it is not normal, or not the way it should be, and implying that it is therefore immoral.

Natural law has a long history, and it has meant different things in different times, and in different contexts. When Thomas Aquinas formulated his version, he argued that man could know the moral law, through reason, without the aid of scripture. He did not argue that things that are unnatural are immoral, he argued that things that are against reason are immoral.

It may be unnatural for man to fly, but are airplanes immoral? Is it immoral if I walk around on my hands? It is certainly unnatural. Human technology and progress transforms society all the time. To use one of Aquinas’s examples, we do not go around naked, even though that may be natural, and the way we are born.

Natural law is just a subtle way of introducing either religion or tradition. One is either saying “See this is the way God made it.“ Or, one is implicitly saying that whatever is and has been is what
should be. And, again we have the argument from tradition.

Historically, natural law was used to argue that women should have a subservient role, in relation to men.

"
For contemplation he and valour form’d,
For softness she and sweet attractive grace;
He for God only, she for God in him.
"
- John Milton - Paradise Lost

Also, natural law arguments were (mis)-used to support miscegenation laws only a few short decades ago.
From Loving vs. Virginia 1958 -
"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."
http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_mar3.htm

The will of the majority should be followed

We live in a Constitutional Republic, not a Democracy. Democracy was a pejorative term to the founding fathers. Liberty and democracy are concepts in tension with each other. Liberty, in any given case, means the individual has certain freedoms, regardless of the will of those in power (or the majority).

“The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.”
— Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943)

If individual freedoms are to be placed beyond the reach of government and beyond the reach of majorities, then our system must truly limit the exercise of authority by the government and by majorities. It does so by setting forth individual liberties that the government—even with majority support—cannot violate.

"
The smallest minority on earth is the individual."
-Ayn Rand

It will cost too much

First of all, this should not be a reason to deny a group equal protection. But secondly, we are talking about a relatively small group of people, not all of whom will choose to married. Plus, marriage does not always cost the state more. Sometimes the state saves money when people are married, and these effects may balence out.

http://www.hrc.org/Template.cfm?Section=Get_Involved1&Template=/ContentManagement/
ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=17262


One final point

If there were only one point of which I could convince the opponents of same-sex marriage, it would be this: This is not about trying to "destroy the institution of marriage". This is about people, couples and families, who love each other and want to take care of each other, and who want to commit to each other for life.

Sometimes all the logical arguments in the world can go unheeded until people feel something in thier hearts.
So
here is a short selection from a piece of romantic fiction by a friend of mine, that I hope may touch something in the heart..

Summar
y

On the one hand we have the principles of liberty, and equality, and the benefits of promoting monogamy for all. On the other hand we have only societal inertia, and those that would impose their religion on others. It is not even a close call. Finally, for those that think same sex marriage proponents should be less vocal, I have this quote:

I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice.  On this subject, I do not wish to think, or to speak, or write, with moderation.  No!  no!  Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; -- but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present.  I am in earnest -- I will not equivocate -- I will not excuse -- I will not retreat a single inch
-- AND I WILL BE HEARD.


-- William Lloyd Garrison - 1 January 1831 (on emancipation )

In all generations, may the voices that demand liberty and equality be heard anew.
A good article on same sex marriage in the Netherlands

A page at religioustolerance.org

The human rights campaign

An interesting quiz

A great letter from a Massachusetts state legislator

Supreme Court - Lawrence vs. Texas

Born different

Also see - Responsible Civil Unions

Politics main page

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