1/21/2006

Moving Forward in Maryland

In spite the influx of Dominionist Theocrat money to stop the move forward, a Maryland judge ruled that the ban on equal access to marriage for gays and lesbians is unconstitutional.

This is great news!!! I've always liked Maryland, and as with most places, except for a few pockets of extreme right-wing attitudes, it's a pretty open and accepting state.

There's no reason Maryland shouldn't move into the 21st Century and regard us all as equal citizens.

A Baltimore judge ruled Friday that Maryland's law against same-sex marriage "cannot withstand constitutional challenge."

The suit was filed two years ago (story) by the ACLU of Maryland on behalf of nine same-sex couples and a man whose partner recently passed away who would like to be able to marry one day.

The suit alleged that county clerks are violating the state constitution's guarantees of equality by not granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Judge M. Brooke Murdock agreed.

"After much study and serious reflection, this court holds that Maryland's statutory prohibition against same-sex marriage cannot withstand constitutional challenge," she wrote in her decision.

"When tradition is the guise under which prejudice or animosity hides, it is not a legitimate state interest," he judgment said.

"The Court is not unaware of the dramatic impact of its ruling, but it must not shy away from deciding significant legal issues when fairly presented to it for judicial determination. As others assessing the constitutionality of preventing same-sex marriage note, justifying the continued application of a classification through its past application is 'circular reasoning, not analysis,' and that it is not persuasive."

25 Comments:

At 09:19, Blogger lovin' it said...

And once atgain the homosexpremicists will try to force their minority view on the state against the will of the majority and their elected representitives.

You guys really hate democracy, don't you? You and I both know it's a massive lie that the writers of any of the state or the federal constitutions intended them to guarrantee marriage rights to gay couples.

In a democracy, you change laws by persuading the majority to vote your way. This is nothing buy tyranny.

 
At 23:36, Blogger dorsano said...

If you stay on the right side of the law, take care of your property, pay your taxes and are an American citizen - you deserve to be treated like an American.

That's the America that I was taught to love - something neither liberal nor conservative - but American

Seems to me that the court is upholding that notion - not changing anything.

Perhaps you think America should be different?

You must really hate gays don't you?

For the record - courts exist (among other reasons) to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority.

 
At 06:13, Blogger lovin' it said...

Courts do have the role of protecting minority rights. Those would be the rights guarranteed under the constitution, either federal or state. Courts do not have the legitimate authority to make up rights out of thin air. That is tyranny.

And the right to gay marraige was not part of the intention of the writers of the constitution. You know it, I know it, every sane person in the country knows it. The only way to "find" it there is to make it up.

If you want to make changes, the democratic way to do it is through convincing a majority of your fellow citizens to vote for it.

I do find it ironic that you could think that the people fighting to preserve what has been american tradition and law since before the writing of the Constitution are the ones who hate their country. I never said that advocating gay marriage made you anti-democratic. I said that trying to circumvent the democratic process made you anti-democratic.

For the record, I do not hate gays. If there is no way to disagree with gay marraige without being accused of it though, then so be it.

 
At 19:10, Blogger dorsano said...

Everyone's equal under the law in this country

whether you're a man or women, rich or poor, black or white, gay or straight - that's one of the defining characteristics of American jurisprudence.

The Maryland court ruled in that tradition - it didn't make up any rights - it prevented people like you from restricting them.

It affirmed that gay couples are equal under the law - why shouldn't they be?

Some day a reactionary court may work to undo that tradition - it's a liberal one I'll grant that - but then this country will be a different place.

Gay and Lesbians are Americans - plain and simple and in Maryland they will treated as such.

That's a great day for all of us - even for you.


For the record - I don't hate Democracy - and I love this country more than you can possibly imagine

Only a dick would imply otherwise.

 
At 06:50, Blogger lovin' it said...

Just so we're clear, your position is that overturning law by judicial fiat that has been established since the founding of this country that retains the support of 80% of the people is actually just defending the American tradition?

Supporting gay rights is a position we can debate. But you, my friend, are living in a dream world.

I stand by my position. Anyone who is willing to use the courts to make up law that violates the will of the majority is no friend of democracy.

The court's job is to interpret the intent of the constitution and the laws and when necessary apply them to new circumstances. So, for instance, the courts have rightly ruled that wiretapping falls under the constitutional prohibition against unlawful search and seizure even though the 14'th amendment doesn't mention them because they weren't invented. But the court does not have the legitimate right to arbitrarily reinterpret the law in areas that were affirmed in practice at the time the constitution was written.

Well, homosexuality was practiced for thousands of years. It is inconceivable that the writers of the federal or any of the state constitutions was unaware of its existence. If they intended their documents to offer the right to gay marraige, then how is it possible that nobody found out about it until now? That nobody debated this radical change to the Western tradition? That no churches spoke out against it?

The answer is simple. This never happened because nobody dreamed that the concept of equality before the law would or could be used to redefine marraige as anything other then what it has always been.

But the homosexpremicists don't care about the law, the will of the majority, or the democratic process. Apparently, all they care about is power.

 
At 14:25, Blogger RedStateExile said...

Minorities have rights. How exactly is this tyranny?

Tyranny defined as "Absolute power, especially when exercised unjustly or cruelly."

That sounds more like what the Dominionist Theocrats are doing to the gay minority by cutting off rights at every turn.

 
At 14:31, Blogger RedStateExile said...

And the right to gay marraige was not part of the intention of the writers of the constitution.

And neither was the right of women to vote or blacks and whites to marry.

Honey, get schooled. There wasn't even a term created for homosexual behaviors (as they were called) until the 1880s. In fact that's about the time that the word "heterosexual" came into existance too.

So, just because women and blacks and Hispanics and the disabled and gays weren't mentioned in the original document, does that men that you want to only create law based on what is "literally" mentioned in the document? If that's the case then I think we have uncovered your true nature.

 
At 14:36, Blogger RedStateExile said...

Just so we're clear, your position is that overturning law by judicial fiat that has been established since the founding of this country that retains the support of 80% of the people is actually just defending the American tradition?

In 1958, an overwhelming 94 percent told Gallup they opposed interracial marriage.

Nine years later, in spite of not having a majority approve of it, Loving vs. Virginia ruled that prohibiting interracial marriage was unconstitutional.

http://www.publicagenda.org/specials/civilrights/civilrights.htm

http://www.infoplease.com/spot/civilrightstimeline1.html

Simply put, rights of the minority doesn't require majority approval.

 
At 17:51, Blogger dorsano said...

Just so we're clear, your position is that overturning law by judicial fiat

If stuatory law conflicts with constitutional law the constitution takes precedence - that's how this democracy works and it works the same way in every state.

There is no "fiat" - it's the job of the court to check and balance congress -

and the constitution in Maryland requires that all citizens be treated equally under the law.

A radical notion at the time.

I don't know where you're living friend.

The constitution is what makes us citizens of a state rather than subjects to a crown and the checks and balances in the constitution is what makes this country strong.

I stand by my position. Anyone who is willing to use the courts to make up law that violates the will of the majority is no friend of democracy.

Anyone who uses congress to make one group of Americans second class citizens doesn't deserve the protections the constitution provides.

 
At 08:48, Blogger lovin' it said...

Callie - You're missing one vitally crucial point. You are right that the original constitution did not confer rights upon racial minorities and women. But the constitution was AMENDED! The constitution spells out what the amendment process is, and it's been done 27 times.

Yes, the constitution can and does change, but it is not the judicial branch's job to amend it. That is for we the people to do.

dorsano - I am very well aware of the checking function of the court. But the court does not have the legitimate power the exercise that checking function however they like. They are supposed to be bound by the constitution. When they can make up whatever they personally think is good policy and enforce it as law, how is that not tyranny?

 
At 17:14, Blogger dorsano said...

They are supposed to be bound by the constitution.

They are - that's why the court ruled that way - the constitution stipulates that everyone be treated equally under the law

You think gays should be treated differently than everyone else - that's not in the constitution - that's your desire

Don't worry - I'm sure more states will write language into their constitutions which specifically exclude gays from getting married

As far as I'm concerned, they may as well spit on the grave of any soldier who it worth his life to protect their freedom

There's a 1 in 10 chance they'll be spitting on the grave of a gay.

I hope it makes them feel good.

 
At 12:03, Blogger lovin' it said...

Dorsano - The problem with your "equality under the law" argument is that, defined the way you mean it, there can be no restriction whatsoever.

If "equality under the law" means that gays have the constitutional right to get married, then why not polygamists? What right do we have to restrict polygamy, if three consenting adults want to enter into a marraige? Doesn't "equality under the law" mean that they should be able to enter into their relationship and have it recognized by the state as legal marraige?

For that matter, what is the legal justification for forbidding incest? The risk of genetic abnormality for their children is only nominally higher for first cousins then for the general population. How can the state justify disallowing this union?

Or what about brothers and sisters? If one or both will agree to be sterilized, could two consenting siblings be legally married? If not, why not?

I know that the typical response for a gay marraige advocate at this point is to get offended that I would dare to compare gay marraige to polygamy or incest. But why? If "equality under the law" is your justification, how can you restrict marraige from these people simply based on your distaste for their preferences?

The short answer is you can't. But thankfully, "equality under the law" does not mean what you are trying to make it mean.

 
At 20:52, Blogger dorsano said...

Lovin'it - There is no connection between incest, polygamy and a gay couple

none - nada

You could just as well say "If we let Whites and Blacks intermarry why not incest or polygamy.

You seem to think that you and your wife for example are different in some significant way then say Callie and her partner.

What makes you two so special that is lacking in Callie and her partner? The fact that you can procreate?

Equality under the law means exactly what I said

 
At 20:56, Blogger dorsano said...

Callie and her partner - are just as equal under Maryland law as you and your wife - and someday they will be so under U.S. law.

Why shouldn't they be?

Your case - incest and polygamy - is not this case.

 
At 05:38, Blogger lovin' it said...

dorsano - Nice try, but that was a non-answer. The question still remains. Either the state has the right to set the parameters for what does and does not qualify for marriage, or it doesn't. It is all fine and good for you to say "they are not the same." That doesn't explain why they are different.

 
At 08:02, Blogger RedStateExile said...

Well, duh!

Differences:

Incest involves a familial sexual relationship typically involving someone older with someone younger; thus, influence and coercion can be a factor. The question arises whether the younger "participant" is willfully involved in the relationship or has been intimidated into the relationship.

There is debate as well that from a social constructionist point of view that incest is a socially-reprehensible relationship that we've chosen to give it. In other societies, such as Papau New Guinea, incest/pedophilia is a rite of passage. Young men are taken into the woods to "ingest the man juice" of older men in order to become men themselves. Our society labels that and calls these older men pedophiles and if it's a familial relationship-incestuous. However, they have no context for this language and no awareness of this behavior as "unacceptable."

I'm not saying that it should be. I'm just giving an example of how we've put certain behaviors and thus relationships into categories over time as "unacceptable."

When we deal with the concept of incest, not thinking of two cousins who are of age maybe even close in age and such, we think of truly close familial relationships (father, daughter or brother, sister) where there is an opportunity for power differential, control, and intimidation to occur from an early age.

This is not what we think of when we think of a loving, trusting, committed marriage relationship.

Polygamy is a bit of a different animal. I personally feel problems arise when the male (or lead partner) dies. There are numerous complications to the will and distribution of wealth, property, and assets. It all has to be divided equitably (or maybe not) among the surviving partners and children. In reality, there will be very little to spread among the survivors in assets, not to mention who will pay on taxes and such. Will only one surviving partner? Will all of them?

This becomes a much more complicated issue than two men or two women who marry.

I don't doubt that people in polygamous relationships can love each other. I believe they can, and it doesn't bother me. I do have concerns for the problems and inequitable situations they'll encounter when the primary partner dies.

If there are issues of power differential or intimidation and control, then they'll need to be uncovered and discussed. If polygamous relationships cause some kind of undue burden on society economically since one person will be the primary caretaker of multiple partners, then that'll have to be discussed too.

To make a long story short, if we can't uncover a case for harm, I don't see what the big deal is if it involves consenting adults.

 
At 09:30, Blogger lovin' it said...

To make sure I understand, your point is that consenting adults should be able to "marry" in polygamous our incestual relationships so long as they are truly consenting and society isn't harmed?

 
At 22:53, Blogger dorsano said...

To make sure I understand, your point


You haven't answered my question - what makes you and your wife so special?

 
At 05:34, Blogger RedStateExile said...

You know, something told me not to waste my precious time coming up with a reasonable debate, but NO, I didn't listen to myself.

Like so many others like yourself, you want to see and read into what you want.

I hope you can do more than point a false and accusing finger back at me.

 
At 06:48, Blogger lovin' it said...

Callie you said "To make a long story short, if we can't uncover a case for harm, I don't see what the big deal is if it involves consenting adults."

How did I read into this something other then what you said?

dorsano - I know you disagree with me on the sanctity of hetero marriage. What I am debating is your right to enforce your minority views on the country against the express will of the majority.

 
At 07:26, Blogger RedStateExile said...

If you had read a little closer and connected one sentence to another, you'd see I had been talking about polygamy, not incest.

There is definite harm in incest. There's no way around that and power and control relationship are not based on love and committment.

Polygamy, I'm just clueless on really. It's not like I know anything about either, but I was thinking out the complications of polygamous marriages. Is there harm involved with polygamy? I'm not sure and that's where I have issues.

I try not to judge people's personal relationships, but when harm is involved, such as incest, that's my breaking point.

 
At 07:59, Blogger lovin' it said...

Callie - We're not talking about father/daughter relationships here. If first cousins want to get married, who is harmed? This is legal in many New England states, but illegal in most of the rest of the country.

The way I see it, this is morals legislation, pure and simple. The people of the southern and midwestern states have decided that first cousin marriage is immoral and have banned it. Do you support overturning these laws in the name of "equal protection under the law?" How is this any different then the states choosing to ban same-sex marriage?

 
At 23:41, Blogger dorsano said...

dorsano - I know you disagree with me on the sanctity of hetero marriage.

"Sanctity" is preserved by the church - and that's not threatened. The U.S. government isn't going to force churches to marry anyone they don't want to.

What I am debating is your right to enforce your minority views on the country against the express will of the majority.

We're all equal under the law, lovin-it. The state of Maryland has said that a minority should not be signaled out and treated as second class citizens by the majority.

Doesn't that make you proud to be an American?

 
At 15:35, Blogger lovin' it said...

A minority should not be singled out and treated as a second class citizen. But if we are going to define minority status based on the type of sexual activity a person engages in, then my question still stands. On what basis do you exclude consentual polygamy or incest?

Equal protection under the law has to apply to traits such as skin color, race, and national origin, not simply what type of activities you practice. Otherwise, there is no rational limit you can place on any behavior that is consentual.

 
At 06:23, Blogger RedStateExile said...

Equal protection under the law has to apply to traits such as skin color, race, and national origin, not simply what type of activities you practice.

Religion is an activity you practice and it's chosen so don't give me that crap.

Military service (at least for now) is also an activity you practice and is chosen.

Marriage is an activity you practice and is chosen. No one HAS to get married, not even heterosexuals. And even though heterosexuals in marriage don't HAVE to consummate their relationship, they usually do.

All of these activities that are practiced, some sexual and some non-sexual, some chosen and some not chosen, are protected equally under the law.

Committed gay partners are NOT protected equally under the law and you haven't given me a good reason either for why we can't be.

I have given you my thoughts on incest and polygamy, and I will not repeat myself.

 

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