Published: Sunday, June 22 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT
"State-by-state disputes will be messy. But conflicts about fundamental
values are best reconciled through politics, and through the mediating
institution of federalism."To make this assertion stick Mr Clark
must demonstrate that the states are more enlightened than they were during the
Jim Crow era (without Federal intervention Jim Crow would be alive and well).
I don't think the writer can make the case. For example,
regardless of how one feels about Obamacare, he must be dismayed by the southern
states' refusal to participate, being perfectly willing to see large
portions of their populations do without local hospitals. Federalism at its
"This social, moral and political dilemma appears to be a classic lose-lose
scenario."Why?When gay people can legally marry,
their families are strengthened and protected. Their children are better off.
Society is better off.Straight families are not changed or
diminished. Children born to married men and women continue to receive the same
legal rights and protections they currently enjoy.Sounds like a
win-win. Who loses?
Perhaps marriage laws could be changed to a reciprocity system, like that used
for professional licenses. Each state would have its own marriage
laws, and the marriage would only be recognized within that state. Some states
might enter into reciprocity agreements, where they mutually recognize
marriages, but it would not be required. A couple married in one state and
moving to - or even traveling through - another state would have to determine if
there was marriage reciprocity in place. If so, they could apply for a temporary
or permanent license in the new state. If there isn't reciprocity the
couple would not be legally married until they established residency and applied
for a license in the new state. Until they married on the new state
they would be considered legal strangers who may be cohabiting but have no
rights or protections - like same-sex couples in Utah now. Seems
like a reasonable solution under the circumstances. I, for one, would be happy
to lobby hard to keep Ohio from recognizing any marriage that had ever been
performed in Utah. I am sure citizens of other states would join that effort.
The problem with this argument is that a gay couple moving from a "free"
state to another state who does not recognize their marriage, loses their
previous status due to animus. Their children are placed in limbo. They are
seated in the back of the legal bus yet again. And it throws out the current
notion that being married in one state makes you married in another.Given that same sex marriage is legal in 19 states, and is recognized by the
federal government for virtually all benefits, rights and responsibilities, how
can you ever have "federalism" (whatever that means to people these
days) regarding same sex marriage. How do you ever square that circle? Would
anyone approve of the state of Washington refusing to recognize Utah marriages
if they were sealed in a temple? Don't think so.
Scientific advancements have kept abortion an issue. If we had no way of
keeping a fetus alive before it reached term, anti-abortionists would be in the
same position as SSM opponents: You either have a fundamental right or you do
not. How do you argue that SS couples are equal only sometimes, i.e., in this
shop, but not that one? Where SS couples will not have the right to
be treated equally is in churches, temples, etc. No one is suggesting that the
law intrudes there. If they are, they're mistaken.The
federalism question is already well-established - laws must not be
unconstitutional - so I don't see a hook on which to hang your hat there.
And the issue would not be in the hands of the Judiciary if states had not
gotten carried away by religious fervor and put to a vote the rights of
others.IMO, the argument against SSM is a poor advertisement for
religion at a time when religion is already losing adherents. So you proceed at
your own risk. Or are you suggesting a "hostile takeover" under the
leadership of General Bobby Jindal?
How well will it work when someone married in one state is treated differently
when in another? This sounds like a right that accrues to people, portable as
they are, and not to states.
The public debate over same sex marriage has been going on for twenty years and
the author of this editorial still doesn't understand what same sex couples
want.He wrote: "Gays and lesbians say they want the legal right
to express their loving relationships through government recognition of their
unions." That's not only inaccurate, it's almost incoherent.
Gay and lesbian couples are asking for the same legal rights and
responsibilities afforded heteroexual couples through the legal act of marriage.
Nothing more nothing less.The moral question is comparable to
divorce not abortion. Catholicism teaches that divorce is wrong and opposes
remarriage; yet Catholics successfully live in a nation in which divorce and
remarraige are readily available legal options. Same sex marriage is
comparable. Some churches already perform and recognize same sex marriages,
other do not. It will take time but people will adapt. At this
point, it's feasible the Supreme Court may not take Utah's case. The
court generally rules when lower courts disagree with one another. Thus far,
that's not happening.
I've started to save opinion pieces and articles like this that predict a
SCOTUS ruling against equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians. I save them
because, in my view, they are so quickly going to be proven wrong and I want to
be able to compare the reality with the wishful thinking that still existed in
some quarters, even at this late date.Unlike public opinion on the
abortion issue, which has remained remarkably stable over the last few decades,
public opinion on this issue has shifted dramatically in the last decade. More
and more people, even religious people, just don't see a problem with
embracing the full humanity of gay people and according the relationships of
neighbors, family members and friends, equal dignity and respect.
Not so. This is about equality before the law. Gays are asking for the same
rights that are enjoyed by all other citizens. States like Utah are asking to be
allowed to continue to discriminate. Gays can demonstrate that they have
suffered harm at the hands of the state. Nobody, and nothing suffers harm if
The flagrant hypocrisy by conservatives on the marriage issue is best
illustrated by example:-What if a state, lets say Massachusetts,
decided to outlaw private ownership of guns, by both a popular vote of the
electorate and by legislation. Conservatives would be eagerly awaiting the
trump card of the Supreme Court to restore the right to bear arms over the top
of state sovereignty.-If the Supreme Court indicated marriage is a
state issue, period, and some Californians decided to put another Proposition
about marriage on the state ballot today, conservatives would be screaming and
wailing, because they know if Prop 8 were on the ballot again, it would probably
not pass, and a new Proposition affirming gay marriage would almost certainly
win.Conservatives have suddenly become champions of democracy, when
there are innumerable instances in the past where they emphasized that we have a
Republic, where the mob rule of democracy should be resisted.
"Those who believe that a child deserves a mother and a father and that it
would be wrong for the government to impose gay marriage..."Is
anyone being forced into same-sex marriages? No? Then no one is
being imposed upon.
Who has the "right" to define family? Who has the "right" to
define marriage? Who has the right to decide whether changing those definitions
will harm children who are raised in non-traditional "families"?Some people are suggesting that they have the right to redefine family
and marriage. They assert that no harm is being done. Are they sure? What
happens to society when a child is not taught correct principles? What happens
to society when that child is not taught about his Father in Heaven or of
absolute laws? What happens to society when a child is told that God makes
mistakes when He assigns gender?Would people be correct if they said
that gravity is not an absolute law pertaining to us as we live on earth? Would
they tell a child that 2% of the population could jump off a cliff and not be
harmed when gravity pulled them to their destruction at the foot of that
cliff?States have the right to protect children. Utah is looking
out for the welfare of children by upholding the absolute definition of
@Marxist - You used Jim Crow laws as an example, and stated that they would
still be in force if the federal government had not intervened.I
don't think anyone knows for sure how public attitudes can change. Slavery
was rampant for over a century in Brazil, but in the 19th Century people
demanded it to be abolished. They didn't need a civil war. The legislature
just voted it in.How do we know that America in the 80's
wouldn't have come around on their own?
If you had ever traveled or lived in the south Marxist, you would have your
answer. I have done both and I have no doubt that Jim Crow would be alive and
well in the south today.
@ Mike Richards "States have the right to protect children. " I
absolutely agree, and the needs of children are even more important than the
needs of marital partners.@ gmlewis "How do we know that
America in the 80's wouldn't have come around [on Jim Crow] on their
own?" We don't know, but the history is what it is - the Federal
government took action when the states did not.
It seems opponents of marriage equality are scrambling. In state after state
judges are striking down their SSM bans. Even Governor Herbert has belatedly
suggested civil unions as a solution. It is a little late for that as Amendment
3 also banned those. A state has a right to "define" marriage, but
limiting it in the way they do is more than defining. It is legislating. And
Drew did not mention another problem. SSMs in states where it is legal, are
invalidated when the couple move to a state which does not recognize it. What is
your "compromise" there?
The more obvious it becomes that gay marriage will become legal, the more shrill
and desperate these opinion pieces will become. And does anybody at the DN
catch the deep irony of hoping for "compromise" after cheerleading
I think you're wrong, Drew Clark. Under your scenario, what would happen
if a couple moved from Massachusetts to Utah? Would they be married or not?
What if a Utah couple traveled to Massachusetts and got married and then
returned home. Would they be married? What would happen if a legally married
same sex couple was on vacation in Utah and one of the spouses was critically
injured. Would the hospital treat the spouse as next of kin or would they
require the injured spouses' parents or other next of kin to give consent
to treatment. In addition to these complications of having different laws all
over the United States, the more important thing to think about is why you think
it is acceptable that some citizens of our country are treated differently from
other citizens. Don't bother with the slippery slope arguments about
people marrying dogs, cats, trees, and kids. Dogs, cats, trees, and kids cannot
enter into contracts.
I get what the writer is saying - since neither side can compromise the only
possible "compromise" is through Federalism. Message received.The question of what is best for children in the SSM debate weighs heavily on
me. I confess I don't know for sure. I think I'll leave that
question to those better informed that I.
@Mike RichardsYou seem confused. We live in a Constitutional
Republic, not a theocracy. We live under laws, not religious leaders claiming
"god said..."We have a specific Amendment that says
government is not allowed to set up or endorse a state religion, which means
that religious teaching cannot be mandated by government because a religious
leader proclaims "god said..." We have elected leaders who pass laws,
and a court system that ensures the laws are Constitutional. Iraq
is a situation where the religious want to enforce their teachings, and justify
their extreme violence because they believe "god said." I
understand that you believe your religious teachings are the same as scientific
principles, like gravity. Sadly, they are not. Gravity can be proven with
independent and replicatable testing. Religion is based on "feelings."
While you are welcome to have your feelings and teach them to your
children in your home, the Constitution says you cannot force others live
according to your feelings. Besides, Mormons are 2% of the US
population. In the theocracy you envision, do you think your religion would be
allowed to exist?
DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.— About comments