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Town Square

Halftime

Original post made by Tom Cushing, Danville, on Feb 8, 2012

To paraphrase Clint Eastwood's raspy Super Bowl ad for an Italian car company: “It’s halftime in California.” As reported elsewhere hereabouts, the monumental struggle between the forces seeking and opposing same-sex marriage rights has reached an important mid-point.

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Comments

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Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on Feb 8, 2012 at 2:21 pm

"Irrational-government sponsored opprobrium"? Little extreme in your analysis, don't you think, Tom?

This is a very emotional, inflamed, issue, that for many has religious, not moral, concerns and ramifications. For many, the concern is the use of the word "marriage", which has a biblical, religious meaning. Comparing this issue to Brown v. Board of Education, is patently wrong, as barring people from school based on race, does not impact religious views.

I honestly believe that if the government simply created something called "Civil Unions", not "marriage", where you fill out forms and register as a "civil union", and by having a "civil union" you have additional rights and ramifications, healthcare, probate, adoption, taxes, etc, there would be no religious concerns and most people would have no problem with it.

But when you use the word, "marriage", and all the religious and biblical meanings associated with that word, you create problems and tensions that will always exist.

Where does this end? If one of the Catholic Missions decides that they do not want to allow a gay "marriage" to take place at their church, will the state be able to force them to do so? Does the "right" of the gay to get married outweigh the right of freedom to practice religion? Why is it that so many liberals never give any deference to the constitutional right of freedom of religion,when forcing their views on others?

Tom, to most Californians, this issue is not so crystal clear, right and wrong, as you suggest, comparing it to racial discrimination in schools.

Governor Brown slashing the law to allow dogs to be killed after only three days in the pound is crystal clear and wrong. Allowing gay "marriages" is open to lively and emotional debate, and I would hope that liberals would at least pretend to consider the constitutional religious freedom arguments before labeling all those who disagree with them to be similar to those who oppose minorities attending school.



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Posted by Rick Pshaw
a resident of Danville
on Feb 8, 2012 at 3:08 pm

There are no more minorities or majorities. There are only issues.


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Posted by Dirk
a resident of Alamo
on Feb 8, 2012 at 3:50 pm

If we consider marriage to have a "biblical, religious" meaning then it should be a matter for churches only, and the government, including all its branches such as the IRS, should not give it any special status. Then it might make sense to rename marriage in the legal sense to civil union or whatever.
But if we are attached to the word "marriage" and want to use it for legal unions between adults, then the religious can't expect to define it in law according to their "biblical principles" for those who do not adhere to those principles.
This really seems to be pretty clear.


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Posted by Tom Cushing
a resident of Danville
on Feb 8, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Tom Cushing is a registered user.

@ American: I believe that your approach dignifies the linguistic sensibilities of one minority (offended religious folk) regarding the word "marriage" over the very access to that institution by another minority group. I would rank those interests the other way, as I think that before the society forecloses the defining, most intimate and fundamental relationship of adult life from a significant fraction of Californians, it ought to have a very damn good reason to do so (dare I say a "compelling" such reason).

Further, nobody -- NObody is suggesting that faiths will be ordered by the state to perform ceremonies that offend those private religious sensibilities, however misguided others may find them to be. They are completely free, privately, to believe and practice as they wish -- but when they use those beliefs to deny the basic civil rights of others outside the club, methinks that's wrong -- whether on the basis of race or sexual preference.

Religion is not under attack, here. But imagine how you might feel if it were? If, say, Baptists or UUs were forbidden to marry, you'd man the barricades -- and so would I. THAT's how gay Californians feel under Prop 8.


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Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on Feb 8, 2012 at 6:01 pm

If religion is not under attack, why is it that the largest opposition groups are the Mormon and catholic churches? Why not eliminate "marriages " in government, create civil unions, and leave "marriages" to each church, so Catholics can do catholic marriages between men and women, and Unitarian and other type churches can marry whomever they want?


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Posted by Tom Cushing
a resident of Danville
on Feb 8, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Tom Cushing is a registered user.

I would say that those particular denominations are doing the attacking, based on your facts. It is very clear that they took the offensive in this matter -- enlisting the state's help in imposing their beliefs and practices on others, on matters that do not affect them at all. That's hardly being "under attack."

It seems very Old Testament to me -- more Onward, Christian Soldiers! than Beatitudes. BTW, do you ever wonder what Jesus would've had to say on the matter?


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Posted by enderdog
a resident of another community
on Feb 8, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Seems that good points were made by all. Perhaps some were stretched a bit, but I like Tom's thought on the spirit of the bill of rights in defining and protecting individual liberties and freedom. That would seem to favor allowance for same sex marriage and really, how is this harmful or catastrophic. Live and let live. We already seem to have a rather loosely defined concept of marriage throughout the states. Different laws, procedures, customs, religous practices, divorce options, this is just one more on the list.


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Posted by spcwt
a resident of Danville
on Feb 10, 2012 at 2:05 pm

People wrongly assume that this case was about the substantive rights that go with marriage. This case was about using the marriage label only. No other rights were at stake. Just the label.

All people should be free to marry whomever they want and have all the civil liberties that go with marriage. They should be free to call their unions “marriage” if they want. People should respect that choice. I’ve yet to hear a rational argument to the contrary.

But let me play devil’s advocate. Why is the use of the “marriage” label a civil right? People say that without the marriage label, there’s inequality. But isn’t that like a non-white person saying that the only way to have equality is if they can legally be labeled white? Or a woman saying that the only way for her to attain equality is if she can legally call herself a man?

Sweden recently removed the term “marriage” from their civil code. They have a new gender-neutral term that applies to all unions, whether gay or straight. Are all Swedes now deprived of their civil rights, since legally they can no longer use the marriage label?

The injustice, of course, is that denying the marriage label to gays only is a violation of the Equal Protection clause. But it would seem that the right to use the marriage label, in and of itself, is not a civil right.

I’m not trying to make light of the plight of gays. They have it tough, even in the Bay Area. And I recognize that despite the equality granted under California law, there’s still a lot of work to be done before there is true equality, particularly at the federal level.