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Same-Sex Marriages

 
 
Reply Thu 9 Dec, 2004 11:19 pm
Since January 1, 2000, more than 25,000 couples have registered their domestic partnerships in California. Same-sex couples are seeking the same rights, protections, and monetary benefits as married couples. As a result, many people think the definition of marriage ought to be changed. Since the Californian people took the initiative to define a "valid" marriage under Proposition 22 the definition of "marriage" should not to be changed without voter approval. California has granted equal protection to same-sex couples under the Domestic Partnership Act (AB205), and changing the definition of marriage will not obtain any more rights for domestic partners because the supremacy clause bars California from superseding federal law. Finally, changing the definition of a valid marriage negates the people's intent, and silences their popular voice in order to satisfy a small group of activists.
The State of California has granted equal protection under the Domestic Partnership Act (AB 205). However, Assemblyman Mark Leno claims in the California Marriage License Non-Discrimination Act that marriage is a "pernicious practice of (sic) discrimination" (AB 1967, 2004). Lambda Legal, a gay rights organization, lists numerous rights signed into law under AB 205, which counter Leno's claim. Now both martial partnerships and domestic partnerships have the following rights, protections, and benefits:

Rights and duties to one's partner;
Property rights and obligations;
Protection of children;
Right and protection in death related matters;
Employment rights and benefits;
Right to act on behalf of and receive information about your partner;
Rights in judicial and other official proceedings;
Exemption from transfer tax on deeds and other transfers;
Right of franchise, license, and other permits;
Rights in non-tax financial matters;
Miscellaneous provisions (except those under Prop 34);
Special benefits provided to public employees and their families;
Conflicts of interest and required disclosures (except where federal conflicts occur);
Discrimination protections (except where federal conflicts occur); and
Termination of the partnership (except no court proceedings to terminate).

The extension of the above rights defeats Assemblyman Leno's claim that marriage is a practice of pernicious discrimination. Effective January 1, 2005, the Domestic Partnership Act (AB 205) will extend the rights and duties of married persons to persons registered as domestic partners. Finally, the California legislature has recognized same-sex couples, and taken action to promote equality for them and their families.
While AB205 extends numerous rights and protections to same-sex couples it cannot overcome the supremacy clause of the United States Constitution. Since marriage is not mentioned in the constitution it is a privileged status regulated by the states. However, neither California nor Californians can over turn federal laws that withhold rights to same-sex couples. Neither can the Californian legislature or the Californian people force the federal government to allow same-sex partners to file federal taxes jointly. Consequently, federal laws prevent the long awaited equality, and not the California people or legislature. AB 205 can do no more than provide that "domestic partners shall use the same filing status as is used on their federal income tax returns."
While Assemblyman Leno would like to change the definition of marriage under AB 1967 he cannot cause any effective changes to the people's initiative to limit marriage. California voters defined a valid marriage as a union "between a man and a woman" under Proposition 22. It was the Californian people who took the initiative to collect enough signatures to get the definition of a valid marriage on the ballot. It was the Californian people who raised their voices and by majority defined a "valid" marriage as being between a "man and a woman." When AB205 was passed opponents took the State of California to court. The Knight Court said "marriage consists of a union between a man and a woman" (Knight v. Schwarzenegger). While a valid marriage in California consist of a union between a man and a women this definition does not prevent the distribution of rights, protections, and benefits to same-sex couples. Therefore, the legislature is permitted to extend rights to same-sex couples, but it may not amend the people's initiative. Judge McMaster ruled that "the court must guard the people's referendum power." The state legislate cannot unconstitutionally overturn the people's referendum.
Gay rights activists argue, "Marriage lawsÂ… are an unconstitutional abridgement of the civil rights of gays and lesbians" (AP). Yet, the distribution of rights to same-sex couples under the Domestic Partnership Act undermines this claim. While it is true that same-sex couple do not have exactly every single right that married couples have in California, the short fall in rights lays in the realm of federal law, and not state law. It is not the state that is creating the disparity. The issue is not solely about the rights of gays and lesbians. Same-sex couples have received all the rights California can grant. The real issues are the people's initiative and right to vote, and federalism. Assembly Bill 1967 will attempt to overturn the people's initiative, vote, and intent in order to satisfy a small group of politically active powerful Californians.
Leno's proposed bill is an undermining affront to the democratic process and the people's intent. Changing the definition of marriage will only invalidate the efforts and intent of the people to define a "valid" marriage. If "marriage" is made overbroad and meaningless, then the people's intent to define marriage has been overrun by carefully worded convoluted speech. If the intent of the people has no merit, then the vote of the people has no real meaning either because the people did not know the meaning and real intent of their vote when they placed it. Apparently, the people's vote only applied to interstate marriages and not intrastate marriages. As with the legislature, the intent of the people ought to be considered when laws are created for the people. The California Marriage License Non-Discrimination Act should not be passed as legislation, but should be placed on the ballot. The people have rights too, and ought to have a say in how marriage is be defined in California.
Supporting the traditional definition of marriage is not discriminatory towards same-sex couples. Everyone should receive rights and protections under the law. However one activist group should not be unfairly favored over the entire voting body. "THE TRUTH IS, we should respect EVERYONE'S freedom to make lifestyle choices, but draw the line at re-defining marriage for the rest of society," especially without voter approval (Proposition 22). If we allow our legislature to use overbroad Humpty Dumpty logic and declare that words mean just what they "choose them to mean --neither more nor less," then the law is no longer concise and meaningful in the State of California.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,914 • Replies: 19
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Dec, 2004 11:26 pm
Have you got a point?
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BadCzech
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Dec, 2004 12:49 am
Yeah. You cannot amend the people's initiative.
Under the Californina constitution, you cannot overturn the people's initiative to define a valid marriage through a legislative amendment. Any attempt to redefine marraige must be placed on the ballot.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Dec, 2004 10:07 am
BadCzech wrote:
Yeah. You cannot amend the people's initiative.
Under the Californina constitution, you cannot overturn the people's initiative to define a valid marriage through a legislative amendment. Any attempt to redefine marraige must be placed on the ballot.

I believe that's correct, insofar as it is a statement of California constitutional law.
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Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Dec, 2004 04:03 am
Re: Same-Sex Marriages
BadCzech wrote:
The real issues are the people’s initiative and right to vote, and federalism. . . . The people have rights too, and ought to have a say in how marriage is be defined in California. Supporting the traditional definition of marriage is not discriminatory towards same-sex couples. Everyone should receive rights and protections under the law. However one activist group should not be unfairly favored over the entire voting body. . . .


The right to vote does not include the right to discriminate based upon an animus toward a particular group or class of persons.

You can call gay people "activists" if you want -- if that makes you feel better to put a label on them -- but they are human beings who simply want to be free of discrimination and to enjoy the same rights that all other members of society enjoy.

When you put human beings in chains (or in closets), eventually they speak out against the injustice. They have a right (protected by the First Amendment) to petition their government for redress of their grievances.

You make conclusory statements, but conclusions are not facts.

The equal protection component of the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment (applicable to the federal government) and the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (applicable to state government) constitutionally protects the rights of all persons to equal protection of the law.

Do those "mainstream" value-laden voters want the blacks to sit in separate transit cars or at the back of the bus and attend separate schools? It doesn't matter what they want. Black people have a constitutionally-protected right to participate equally in society.

What about mixed-raced marriages? Hmmmm. NOPE. Those mainstream value-laden voters can't stop the blacks from marrying white people.

And so goes the battle for equal rights.

Your conclusion that the state domestic partnership law gives same-sex couples pretty much the same rights . . . well, not the same rights, but darn near the same rights . . . as those given to married couples defies United States Supreme Court precedent established in Brown v. Board Education wherein the "separate but equal" doctrine established in Plessy v. Ferguson was abolished as unconstitutional.

The "separate but equal" doctrine (which was always "separate" but never "equal") was unconstitutional discrimination THEN and it's unconstitutional discrimination NOW.

Cry about voter rights all you want, but THE MOB -- the voters -- cannot trump the constitution. PERIOD.

Neither a state legislature nor Congress can trump the constitution. PERIOD.

The constitution is supreme.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Mar, 2005 03:27 pm
Thought I'd pop this in here as well.

Quote:
California Law Banning Gay Marriages Is Struck Down (Update1)
March 14 (Bloomberg) -- A California judge struck down the state's laws banning gay weddings, saying that measures defining marriage as between a man and a woman are unconstitutional.

Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer's ruling, pending appeals, would make California the second state in the U.S. to legalize gay marriages after Massachusetts. San Francisco, which conducted about 4,000 same-sex weddings last year, claimed the laws violated the rights of gays and lesbians.

``Same-sex marriage cannot be prohibited solely because California has always done so before,'' Kramer said in a 27-page tentative ruling released today in San Francisco.


link
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Ivory Fury
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 12:50 pm
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To deny homosexuals and polygamists the right to marriage is unequal protection under the law. It is denying them legal benefits of marriage through justification of religious values, the essence of theocracy. To create a seperate institution for coupling that affords the same legal benefits as marriage is a logical fallacy, you inherently make one institution unequal by creating two supposedly identical ones.

Who gets what freedom is not in the hands of the people, if it was then freedom would not exist. It is in the hands of the law and you know who interprets the law.

You and those like you BadCzech are theocrats, vile perpetrators of undue authoritarianism under the guise of moral righteousness. Your defeat will come enemies of freedom, in time homosexuals and polygamists will be accepted into the institution of marriage and henceforth afforded their equal protection under the law. Lady Liberty is marching to fight you, get out of the way, fight by her side, or be crushed.
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Bella Dea
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 01:07 pm
I don't know if you noticed, by Lady Liberty has her big thumb over all of us.
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Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 01:17 pm
Ivory Fury wrote:
To deny homosexuals and polygamists the right to marriage is unequal protection under the law. It is denying them legal benefits of marriage through justification of religious values, the essence of theocracy. To create a seperate institution for coupling that affords the same legal benefits as marriage is a logical fallacy, you inherently make one institution unequal by creating two supposedly identical ones.

Who gets what freedom is not in the hands of the people, if it was then freedom would not exist. It is in the hands of the law and you know who interprets the law. . . .


Homosexuals and polygamists are distinct classes of persons and are not similarly situated.

I agree that the government is violating the supreme law of the land when it discriminates between heterosexual and homosexual couples on the issue of marriage.

I do not agree, however, that a person has the "right" to be married to more than one person at the same time.

Although the state has no interest compelling enough to deny homosexual couples the same right to marry that is given heterosexual couples, the state DOES have a compelling interest in making sure that an individual fullfills his obligations/duties to his/her first spouse and the children that are born as issue of the first marriage BEFORE an individual will be allowed to couple himself/herself with a second spouse . . . and so on.

The state requires you to divorce your first spouse before you acquire a second spouse.
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Ivory Fury
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 01:26 pm
.
Bella Dea wrote:
I don't know if you noticed, by Lady Liberty has her big thumb over all of us.


Lady Liberty is not America, Lady Liberty is the ideal of freedom.
0 Replies
 
Ivory Fury
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 01:28 pm
.
Debra_Law wrote:
Ivory Fury wrote:
To deny homosexuals and polygamists the right to marriage is unequal protection under the law. It is denying them legal benefits of marriage through justification of religious values, the essence of theocracy. To create a seperate institution for coupling that affords the same legal benefits as marriage is a logical fallacy, you inherently make one institution unequal by creating two supposedly identical ones.

Who gets what freedom is not in the hands of the people, if it was then freedom would not exist. It is in the hands of the law and you know who interprets the law. . . .


Homosexuals and polygamists are distinct classes of persons and are not similarly situated.

I agree that the government is violating the supreme law of the land when it discriminates between heterosexual and homosexual couples on the issue of marriage.

I do not agree, however, that a person has the "right" to be married to more than one person at the same time.

Although the state has no interest compelling enough to deny homosexual couples the same right to marry that is given heterosexual couples, the state DOES have a compelling interest in making sure that an individual fullfills his obligations/duties to his/her first spouse and the children that are born as issue of the first marriage BEFORE an individual will be allowed to couple himself/herself with a second spouse . . . and so on.

The state requires you to divorce your first spouse before you acquire a second spouse.


Legal semantics do not trump individual rights. If all parties in a polygamist marriage are consenting, the State has no interest. No rights are automatically violated by polygamy.
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Bella Dea
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 01:28 pm
Almost everyone i know associates Lady Liberty with America.
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Ivory Fury
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 01:32 pm
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Not me, if America fails to live up to the ideals of Lady Liberty, then they are no longer one in the same.
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 01:50 pm
Ivory Fury wrote:
To deny homosexuals and polygamists the right to marriage is unequal protection under the law. It is denying them legal benefits of marriage through justification of religious values, the essence of theocracy.

Don't forget people in incestuous relationships. For consistency, don't you have to include their equal protection too?

Debrah_Law wrote:
Although the state has no interest compelling enough to deny homosexual couples the same right to marry that is given heterosexual couples, the state DOES have a compelling interest in making sure that an individual fullfills his obligations/duties to his/her first spouse and the children that are born as issue of the first marriage BEFORE an individual will be allowed to couple himself/herself with a second spouse . . . and so on.

I don't understand your position. Why in your opinion, does the state have a compelling interest in privileging married people over non-married people in the first place, thereby discriminating againt singles? What compelling state interest is being served by discriminating against polygamist and incestuous relations, and why is this interest not being served by discriminating against same sex relations?
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Ivory Fury
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 01:54 pm
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An Incestual marriage no. Incestual reproduction...Would this violate the right of the child by producing such a...genetically fucked up kid?
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 02:13 pm
Re: .
Ivory Fury wrote:
An Incestual marriage no. Incestual reproduction...Would this violate the right of the child by producing such a...genetically **** up kid?

I don't think so, for two reasons: First, I understand that imbreeding is much less likely to cause hereditary diseases much less often than common wisdom suggests. My source for this is Wolf, Durham: Imbreeding, Incest, and the Incest Taboo: The State of Knowledge at the Turn of the Century; Stanford University Press (2004). Second, it is a well established principle in German jurisprudence that existence with hereditary defects is better than non-existence. I guess, without knowing, that you have a similar doctrine in America too. Under this doctrine, since the only alternative to being born with genetical problems is to not be born at all, the kid would have no legitimate complaint against its incestuous parents.
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Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 02:17 pm
Re: .
Ivory Fury wrote:
Legal semantics do not trump individual rights. If all parties in a polygamist marriage are consenting, the State has no interest. No rights are automatically violated by polygamy.


This is not a matter of "legal semantics." This is a matter of common sense.

Marriage is a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between two persons for which the consent of the parties is essential. You have a constitutionally-protected fundamental right to marry the person of your choice, providing that person also chooses to marry you. You do not, however, have a fundamental right to be married to more than one person at the same time.
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Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 03:05 pm
Thomas wrote:
I don't understand your position. Why in your opinion, does the state have a compelling interest in privileging married people over non-married people in the first place, thereby discriminating againt singles? What compelling state interest is being served by discriminating against polygamist and incestuous relations, and why is this interest not being served by discriminating against same sex relations?



How does a state-recognized marriage contract between two consenting adults result in governmental discrimination against a single person?

Perhaps we should just outlaw marriage contracts altogether as a means of regulating domestic relations. After all, people will form loving and committed couples regardless of whether the institution of marriage exists. People will love and support each other when they want to; and when they don't want to . . . they can just walk away . . . no strings attached. Will the abolition of marriage resolve your concerns, Thomas?

And, as far as fathers having sex with daughters, or mothers having sex with sons, or sisters and brothers having sex with sisters and brothers, why should we as a society care who is having sex with whom? How about legalizing incest, will that resolve your concerns?
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Ivory Fury
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 03:09 pm
.
Then I am in agreement Thomas, throw incestual marriage along with polygamist and homosexual.

Debra, you have failed to provide justification. Your only justification seems to be that the original law says between two people, which is based on tradition that has no logical base. How does a consentual polygamous marriage violate the rights of anyone? By default you have the right to a polygamous marriage. You have the burden of proof to make a case as to how consentual polygamous marriage violates anyone's rights.
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Mar, 2005 03:23 pm
Debra_Law wrote:
How does a state-recognized marriage contract between two consenting adults result in governmental discrimination against a single person?

By throwing in tax breaks to go with the recognition, financed by the taxes of those who aren't married.

Debrah_Law wrote:
Perhaps we should just outlaw marriage contracts altogether as a means of regulating domestic relations.

... I would settle for it being just another contract between private persons, just like a lease, or a car sale, with no state granted privileges. Yes, that would resolve my concerns.

Debrah_Law wrote:
How about legalizing incest, will that resolve your concerns?

Yes, that would work for me. Not that I had any concerns with the status quo to begin with. Over the last few millenia, regulating sexuality had always been one function of marriage as an institution. Often, the origin of the restrictions was religious, not rational, and that's fine. Hence, I have no big problem, from a human rights point of view, with restrictions against homosexuals, bigamists, and incestuous relations. What I do have a concern with is the contention that restrictions against homosexuals are not kosher as a matter of constitutional principle, but restrictions against bigamist and in-breeders are not. This position seems inconsistent to me.
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