Sunday Thoughts

| | Comments (0)
Gay Marriage

On This Week this week, a somewhat interesting discussion was had about gay marriage. Commentators George Will and Andew Sullivan were joined by U.S. Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA) and Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO).

First: Musgrave came off as a big moron. Maybe she isn't, but she sure seemed like one. Sullivan asked her about her proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning gay marriage, saying it was not conservative, because it didn't leave the issue up to the states. For awhile, she didn't seem to understand the question, as she said it would be put up to the voters of the United States. Fine, but what about Massachusettes voters, what if they want to allow it, in their state alone?

Later, the issue came back again, and Frank read the text of her proposed amendment and said it said nothing about the right of states to define marriage as they saw fit, internal to the
states. "It says nothing about states' rights," Barney Frank said. "Thirty-eight states get to decide," she responded. Wha ... ? So since 3/4 of states decide something for all fifty states, that equates to states' rights?

I swear, I want to have a litmus test for admission into the Republican Party sometimes. Or maybe just a class on what it means to be a conservative, or at least what the party platform contains. Hell, even basic defintions of things like "states' rights".

Moving on, Sullivan said something odd: he said a majority of Massachusetts residents support the court decision of last week, and asked, "How can it be judicial tyranny when a majority of the people in that state support what the court has done?" But "Judicial tyranny/activism" is not about what the people support, it is about what the law supports. Sully, this is going on your permanent record, don't let it happen again.

At the end, Will asked an excellent question. Based on the two most recent court decision -- the SCOTUS decision over the summer nullifying anti-sodomy laws, and the MA decision recognizing a right of homosexual people to marry one another -- he said, "give me a principle -- not arbitrary reason -- for banning polygamy."

I was shocked at Frank's answer. He said, "the difference between two people and three people is almost always clear," and then described the differences as a "three-way operation" being more likely to cause difficulties with property distribution, more friction with children, less social stability. "It's logical to say that two people with one set of children is a preferred status rather than three people with two sets of children," he said.

What he didn't say is how that is different from, "It's logical to say that a man and a woman with their own biological children is a preferred status rather than two men with adopted children." Next thing you know, he'll be quoting studies that show three-adult households are less stable, that polygamists are more promiscous, are more subject to substance abuse, etc. All the same sort of arbitrary things Will said he did not want, that have been used against gay marriage. The question of where the line is, was not answered by Frank. I don't know if there is an adequate answer.

I suppose property rights is less arbitrary than his other reasons, but our government is quite proficient at dealing with property rights where there are more than two parties. It happens all the time. All of those reasons are arbitrary in the sense that whether they are true or not, 1. they are subject to change and 2. there are ways to deal with them so as to mitigate their effect. They don't directly speak to any principle of law or rights.

Anyway, I think this is an important question to be asked, and it demonstrates, in a way, my -- and many other people's -- biggest problem with how this is going down: it seems the public debate is in some ways being short-circuited by the courts, so we won't have an opportunity to fully explore the issue before directing our legislatures, such as what happened in the abortion debate. What is marriage? Why does the government define it? Why should it continue to? What is its purpose? I have my own thoughts, as do the lawyers and judges. I hope the people as a whole get to think about these things and come up with some answers on their own. We'll see.

Bush, Britain

There was quite a bit of talk about how much the British people hate Bush or America, which they really hate, what the difference is, and how much it is. It reminded me of something I read in the upcoming issue of National Review:

"London was altogether beside itself on one created a nightmare of its own, and gave it the shape of Abraham Lincoln. Behind this it placed another demon, if possible more devilish, and called it Mr. Seward [William Seward, Secretary of State]. In regard to these two men, English society seemed demented....Mr. Lincoln’s brutality and Seward's ferocity became a dogma of popular faith." -- Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams, writing about London during the Civil War

It was a nice reminder that we all have a tendency to rush to judgment. Maybe history will bear Bush out as a hero, as Lincoln. He'd have to suspend writ of habeas corpus first, though. ;-)

The Rest

Pretty much the rest of the talk this Sunday was about the looming Medicare and Energy bills. I'll just repeat what I said before about wanting to do something to remove or educate Republicans. These are huge bills that will increase spending even more. Last year spending increased in the federal budget like 12.5%, with a Republican congress and Republican President. The GOP is supposed to be the party of small government, of states' rights, of free trade, and Bush and the Congress are abandoning it all. It's quite depressing. I feel like many African American Democrats must feel: I know my party is screwing me, but what am I gonna do, vote for the other guy?

(Jamie, and I figure you're probably thinking about Lucky Ducky right now. Bite me. I am just saying the party principles have been betrayed, not that my life is being ruined. :-)

Leave a comment

<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by pudge published on November 23, 2003 11:30 PM. and .command Files in Panther was the previous entry in this site.

Major Panther Bugfix is the next entry in this site.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.