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Watching Equality of Marriage Rights In The 2012 Election

Thanks to the American Civil Liberties Union for assembling a list of the states where there are ballot initiatives on the issue of marriage equality for heterosexuals and homosexuals.

On Election Day in Maryland, Maine, and the state of Washington, voters will have the chance to recognize the right of all people to equal protection under the law, regardless of sexual orientation. In Minnesota, home to kooky Republicans like Michele Bachmann, right wing groups have pushed forward an initiative to prohibit marriage equality.

It would be nice if the initiative in Minnesota were voted down, and the other initiatives were approved, but such a result would not be ideal. The legal rights of American citizens shouldn’t be approved or discarded by voters. They’re constitutionally established, not a matter for popular referenda.

It’s long past time for the Supreme Court to hear a case on the right of same-sex couples to get married, and to rule in favor of ending the discrimination in many states simply because a shrinking cultural group of bigots wants to interfere in the private lives of Americans they don’t even know.

5 comments to Watching Equality of Marriage Rights In The 2012 Election

  • Bill

    I still maintain that we (homophobes and progressives alike) have this whole ‘marriage equality’ question precisely backwards.

    ‘Marriage’ is a religious sacrament, not a legal status. As a religious sacrament, government should have nothing whatsoever to say abou it, on the basis of the separation of church and state. Churches should be free to dispense that sacrament (or to withhold it) as the see fit, to (or from) whomever they wish. If one church wants refuse gays, and another wants to sanctify man/gerbil marriages, more power to ‘em. And, outside of the church, marriage should have no legal meaning or status whatsoever (just as the communion, baptism, and confirmation sacraments, among many others, have no legal meaning).

    ‘Civil union,’ on the other hand, is a legal state, properly regulated by the government, and under the principle of equal protection should be available to any pair of consenting adults. We shouldn’t be handing out civil unions as consolation prizes to gays whom the states refuse to allow to marry. Any two people, gay or straight, who wish to commingle their property and familial rights and responsibilities should receive a civil union. All existing civil ‘marriages’ should be annulled by law, and replaced with civil unions.

    • Bill,

      By your logic, then, it should be illegal for government to impose marriage prohibitions against gay people. The referenda this fall are trying to accomplish that.

    • Here’s the problem with that argument, Bill. There are a huge number of non-religious people who are married.

      One-fifth of Americans under the age of 30, prime marrying age, are not affiliated with any religion. So, what, can they not get married, but only get civil unioned? That makes no sense.

      I don’t have a civil union with my wife. I’m married, and it’s not a religious sacrament.

      Religious sacramentalizing of marriage is merely an extra layer that some people choose to put onto their weddings. It’s not the primary social function.

    • Dove

      “… outside of the church, marriage should have no legal meaning or status whatsoever ” Huge emphasis on the “should.” As long as marriage status continues to have significant legal implications, equal protection is required for all orientations.

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