Judges, Hubris, and Same-Sex Marriage

In 2006, 57 percent of Virginia’s voters voted to amend their state’s constitution to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Last week, U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen ruled the amendment unconstitutional.

In 2004, 76 percent of Oklahoma’s voters voted to amend their state’s constitution to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. On Jan. 14, 2014, U.S. District Judge Terence Kern ruled the amendment unconstitutional.

In 2004, 66 percent of Utah’s electorate voted to amend their state’s constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. On Dec. 20, 2013, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled the amendment unconstitutional.

In 2004, 75 percent of Kentucky’s voters amended their state’s constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. On Feb. 12, 2014, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II “struck down part of the state ban that he wrote treated ‘gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them’” (Washington Post).

In 2008, 52 percent of California’s voters amended their state’s constitution to define marriage as between a man and woman. On August 4, 2010, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that vote unconstitutional.

There is no doubt that federal judges will continue to do this throughout the country. Even the vote of 81 percent of Alabama voters will count for nothing to some federal judge.

Society may no longer define marriage in the only way marriage has ever been defined in the annals of recorded history. Many societies allowed polygamy, many allowed child marriages, some allowed marriage within families; but none in thousands of years defined marriage as the union of people of the same sex.

None of this matters to these judges or to all those who seek to re-define marriage and can’t convince a majority of their fellow citizens to agree.

For them, it is identical to ruling that laws that banned interracial marriages were unconstitutional. But that argument is utterly flawed. First, the analogy is false because there is no difference between black people and white people, while there are enormous differences between males and females. Second, no great moral tradition or thinking ever forbade interracial marriages (inter-religious marriages were sometimes forbidden). Moses, for example, married a black woman, and neither the Bible nor God hinted that it was wrong.

Some conclusions:

Proponents of same-sex marriage regularly label opponents “radical” and “extremist.” However, given that no society in thousands of years has allowed same-sex marriage, it is, by definition, the proponents of same-sex marriage whose position is radical and extreme. You cannot re-define marriage in a more radical way than allowing members of the same sex to marry. You can argue that is the moral thing to do. But you cannot argue that is it not radical.

All these judges have a hubris that is simply breathtaking. They not only know that they read the Constitution more accurately than the vast majority of the residents of many of America’s states, but they are also entirely comfortable with forcing great majorities of Americans to accept this new definition of marriage.

That it is conceit rather than legal reasoning is easily shown when one peruses the opinions of these judges.

I will cite only Judge Vaughn Walker as an example:

Walker: “Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license.”

“No rational basis”? This is hubris. What he is stating is that for all of Western history — and contemporaneous non-Western history — there has not been a rational basis for defining marriage as the union of a man a woman. Vaughn Walker is convinced that he thinks more rationally than every moral leader and thinker in history, not one of whom advocated same-sex marriage. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, the Enlightenment — all were irrational regarding same-sex marriage, according to Judge Walker.

In Judge Walker’s mind, it is irrational, just to cite one example, to prefer that men and women form families in order to provide children with a mother and a father.

Walker: “Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same-sex couples.”

Yes, without in any way reducing the worth or the decency of any gay human being or dismissing the depth of same-sex love, California, like the rest of the world, has indeed believed in the superiority of man-woman unions. Not in the superiority of straight men and women as people: The gay human being is created in God’s image every bit as much as the straight human being, and there are gays who have led vastly more moral lives than many straights. But regarding how the family — the building block of society — should be constituted, the civilized world has always believed that it should be based on a married mother and father.

Society has also believed in the superiority of mother-father families to single-parent families. And that, too, never meant that every married person is inherently superior to every single person.

Walker: “Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis.”

This is another example of the lack of serious thought — as opposed to serious passion — that underlies the movement to redefine marriage. If American society has a “constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis,” then there is no plausible argument for denying polygamous relationships, or brothers and sisters, or parents and adult children, the right to marry.

On the matter of same-sex marriage, mass passions and coercive judges are winning. Above all, hubris is winning. That is why proponents always assert that they are “on the right side of history.”

But history is very long. Our grandchildren, or their grandchildren, will judge whether this is true. The Left since Marx has asserted that every one of their radical positions — such as the demise of capitalism — is on the right side of history. Virtually none turned out to be.

Dennis Prager’s latest book, “Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph,” was published April 24, 2013 by HarperCollins. He is a nationally syndicated radio show host and creator of PragerUniversity.com.

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  • Larry Linn

    Should we consider Dennis Prager to be an expert on marriage since he has been married three times?

  • Darren Perkins

    What I personally believe should have nothing to do with what should be
    recognized under the constitution. It really shouldn’t have been put to
    a vote in any state. It does bother me that it was and the result is completely
    ignored however. The courts should not have the right to trump a vote
    of the people as the government is supposed to be of the people, by the
    people, and for the people. That being said, the whole issue has been totally mishandled IMO. I do not think this is an issue for
    individual states or individual people to decide.

    It’s ludicrous for one state to recognize a
    gay marriage but not another one that they may have to, or want to move
    to for whatever reason or simply visit for that matter. This would and has created a lot of problems for gay couples and it is on the face of it very unfair. This issue needs to be decided at the federal level and if the decision is not in favor of gay marriage then the people it effects can challenge it in the courts and judges would then have the duty to issue a decisive ruling on whether or not the decision is constitutional or not. This may take a long time but that is how the issue should be handled.

    IMO the only rational and fair thing to do at this point is for the government to recognize civil unions and civil unions only for both heterosexual and homosexual ‘marriages’ (not that this will ever happen). It would then be the option of religious institutions to recognize or not recognize homosexual unions as ‘marriages’ and would have no effect on how the government, employers, hospitals, and whoever else it may concern would treat those in these civil unions.
    I personally would not recognize a homosexual union as a ‘marriage’ because of my religious beliefs, but why should anybody for any reason be treated differently by the government because of my and others opinions. If I were a racist (and I’m not) the government doesn’t and should not have the right to treat me differently than others. So if you believe that homosexual unions are just wrong and against what God would want, you should be free to have that opinion but the Government should not be a respecter of opinions when deciding who has rights and who doesn’t.

  • Wheels55

    Whether one is for gay marriage or against it (or just don’t care what gays do), you have to be bothered by a person (judge) overruling the majority. If that is the way it is, why was it ever put to a vote? Don’t reelect those judges.

  • Robert

    The article is a very drawn out way for the writer to say he is against gay marrage while presenting only a tone of inteligence. There are volumes upon volumes of English language terms that have morphed to have other meanings over time. The word marriage is not concrete and I believe the judges’ decicions were to legally leave marriage open to other interpretations, opening the door for same sex marriage. I do agree with his position that allowing a vague interpretation will eventually lead to polygamy, incestual, and maybe even solitary marriages becoming legal, no matter how morally oposed you are to them. I am straight in a monogamous relationship and care deeply for my companion however I am not married because to me it is just a legal term. I do not advocate for mariage in a legal way but I do believe love is necessary for for long term relationships to work and for any society to work.

  • Brian Fr Langley

    In the book the Pelican history of the world, the writer notes a marriage in ancient Sumer (circa 3500 BC). The marriage was a consensual community enforceable compact on a lifetime agreement of a monogamous union between a man and a women. The point is simple. Sexual intercourse resulted in babies. Babies required resources. The community, the couple and their families placed the burden of providing these resources on the aforementioned married couple. Thus freeing other family members and the community from having to deal with starving abandoned babies. (the babies which would later become a significant resource to the community) Since by definition, same gender marriage creates no progeny, there is no societal need whatever for a community enforceable compact ensuring monogamous behavior. If same gander couples wish to enter a monogamous relationship, let them simply pledge each other.

  • Royalsfan67

    I am very conservative but if put to a vote I would vote to allow gay marriage. But, if I were a judge I would never overrule a democratically passed vote against gay marriage. There is nothing in our Constitution that says we have to allow or can’t allow gay marriage. Activists in this country, no matter their cause, can never wait for the majority to accept their position, they use the courts to enforce their beliefs.
    How many referendums in California passed by the citizens have been overruled by some activist liberal judge? What if we packed the courts with conservatives and they ruled by fiat that every house had to have a gun in it. The possibilities are endless.

  • Josh

    I’m not sure if taking the “no society ever” angle is a winner here. “No society ever” a lot of things, until one did.

    As for voters choosing to define what they want marriage to mean, you can’t have it both ways. One doesn’t get to say “I want marriage this way” while simultaneously handing it over to the state so that the state gets to discriminate on the voter’s behalf.

    I cringe to think just how similar America would be to Pakistan or Saudi Arabia without secular influence. The most “civilized” nations out there have a lot of it. Those without it, well–there have probably been two bombings and one acid attack on a poor woman in the time I’ve spent writing this.

    If the religious want marriage to be between a man and a woman, I’m all for it. But get the state out of it completely! Have your marriage in any way you want it defined, but have it in the church only. Once you want to spread marriage into government so that it’s recognized by law and subject to tax implications and property rights, etc, it becomes society’s thing, not religion’s, and one voice of fairness eventually trumps a dozen others when it’s allowed to be heard. That’s just how it works.

    On
    the matter of same-sex marriage, mass passions and coercive judges are
    winning. Above all, hubris is winning – See more at:
    http://www.bernardgoldberg.com/judges-hubris-and-same-sex-marriage/#sthash.chi3dBB6.dpuf
    On
    the matter of same-sex marriage, mass passions and coercive judges are
    winning. Above all, hubris is winning. – See more at:
    http://www.bernardgoldberg.com/judges-hubris-and-same-sex-marriage/#sthash.chi3dBB6.dpuf“On the matter of same-sex marriage, mass passions and coercive judges are winning. Above all, hubris is winning.”

    That same thing can be said for those who have long pushed their ideas of marriage into law, taking it away from religion and making it something by which we’re all governed in one form or another. Whether it’s the tax code or divorce ramifications or legal guardians of children, the righteous self-appointed harbingers of all things glorious and just have long used politicians and judges to give us the FUBAR system we have today. Marriage is one of the longest running jokes in America. Now folks are doing the same things, in the same ways, only they’re trying it with pole + pole rather than pole + hole.

    This bunk and scatter-shot idea of “traditional marriage” doesn’t only discriminate against two people wanting to get married, it also extends to incomes and taxes and rights and guardianship and all the other things many opponents of same-sex marriage hope to deny homosexuals because they feel their lifestyle is a sin.

    This is something that always induces a mass two-handed facepalm from me. What does it matter to anyone else what consenting adults do, as long as it’s not hurting them? And for anyone who wants to argue that society would be harmed by same-sex marriage, you might be surprised. Unlike nearly half of all “traditional” couples out there, same-sex couples may actually honor the vows. One is more likely to stick by something they had to struggle for, whereas those who can freely and easily get married and divorced take full advantage of it and make a mockery out of the folks bawling that their tradition is in danger.

    On
    the matter of same-sex marriage, mass passions and coercive judges are
    winning. Above all, hubris is winning. – See more at:
    http://www.bernardgoldberg.com/judges-hubris-and-same-sex-marriage/#sthash.chi3dBB6.dpuf

    • Iowa48

      I have grown quite bored with the endless and tedious debate over gay civil unions vs. gay marriage, but I would like to point out a rather common misconception that you appear to be laboring under. Your statement, ” I cringe to think just how similar America would be to Pakistan or Saudi Arabia without secular influence. The most “civilized” nations out there have a lot of it. Those without it, well–there have probably been two bombings and one acid attack on a poor woman in the time I’ve spent writing this ” implies that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are non-secular states. Actually, they are Islamic states operating under the political structure of Sharia law. Religions dictate man’s relationship to gods, and lose their status as a religion when they become a political entity, which dictates man’s relationship to society. Sharia dictates both civil and criminal law, thereby taking Islam out of the realm of religion and completely into the realm of a political entity. Islam’s advocacy of Sharia removes it from religion, despite it’s rather transparent attempts to disguise itself as one. Its advocacy of Sharia as civil and criminal law places it completely within the realm of politics, as just another fascist political philosophy.

      • Josh

        Oh. It’s you. Mister “Islam isn’t a religion.”

        Good luck with all that.

        • Brian Fr Langley

          Actually history books often point out Islam is as much ideology as religion. And truth be told, as an ideology it is strikingly similar to Nazi ideology.

          • Josh

            Hey, I get it. I wouldn’t like being mentioned in the same category either. But over a billion people who worship and pray and follow the teachings of their holy book, and have done so for many, many years — well, they’re not religious. They’re just political! (Insert LOL here.)

            But as I’ve discussed with Iowa before, the same standards by which Islam can be called a political system can be applied to many sects in Christianity. The only difference: Most civilized religious nations of today operate using secular influence.

            What is it about Islam that stands out as political? I’ll answer. It’s the people in charge who seek to control.

            Since you love bringing up history, tell me how your religion was any different in that respect?

            The only reason Christianity spread like it did was because of governments. That’s history; governments have enforced the religions and have changed the landscape. We’re not talking grassroots here.

            We have the advantage now of living in America in 2014. Theocracies don’t have our secular influences.

            Down south, where local governments are fundamentalist and ban books and seek to control lives, are y’all saying that they’re not religious but rather political?

            Since when can’t you be both?

            Honestly. How are they mutually exclusive?

            Only to competing religions with a nit to pick is there exclusivity–selective editing to boot–in politics and religion.

            Since when does a religion that seeks to control cease to be a religion? Since when does a power-hungry leader using religion to control render the entire religion void? (Is this all a cover to say that Hitler wasn’t really religious? I don’t get it.)

            The only difference is that many Islamic states do it on a broader scale. Or, they still do it today. To say Islam is only a political movement is the same as saying the Catholic Church is only a pedophile racket.

            I’m not religious at all and don’t really care if Christians don’t consider Islam a religion. I remember a convo with a Protestant who assured me JWs and LDS are going to hell and shouldn’t be considered Christians but rather cultists.

            If you can cram over a billion people into a narrowly defined space where they’re not a real religion but rather part of a political system, then have at it.

            Not sure what you win, and it induces an involuntary facepalm from me, but there must be something gratifying in it for y’all.

            I just know I’ll remember this standard the next time any believer runs for office with the purpose of governing based on their religion, or puts their hand on a Bible in court, or says “God” in an inauguration or anything else government related: If it’s religious, it can’t be political, or else it’s not religious.

            How is this a standard that only seems to apply to Islam?

          • Brian Fr Langley

            I don’t deny Christianity is an ideology. (just look up the meaning of the word). Any means of organizing societies are ideologies. The difference (and why it matters) is that for the most part, historical Christianity requires an individual, and personal act of ones own conscience. On the other hand, Islam not only accepts conversion by coercion, (threat of slavery or death), their ideology mandates it. The Koran and Sharia law, specifically teach and require, world political domination by the sword. “You shall not suffer an infidel as neighbor”. Where as Christianity, not only teaches men to love one’s neighbor as one’s self, the founder (Christ) specifically said (when asked by Pilate) “my Kingdom is not of this world”. As to your comments of “secular” authority civilizing religions. Really? The most secular societies in history have been the Soviet Union, China, and Nazi Germany. Between them they’ve slaughtered uncounted tens of millions. Western liberal democracies on the other hand, have been heavily influenced by Christian beliefs and traditions. In fact many European political parties still have the word “Christian” in their party names. And no one can deny America was founded on Protestant Christian principles. Yes Christianity is an ideology, but it’s an ideology compatible with individual liberty. Islam is not.

          • Josh

            But religion A being different than religion B doesn’t mean A or B ceases to be a religion. The argument is being presented that Islam is not even a religion.

            And perhaps I’ll return later if this gets going to discuss in more detail the pick-and-choose aspects of scripture-mining here. We’ve had that discussion before. “Love they neighbor” definitely isn’t the only thing the Bible teaches.

            If that’s the message people choose to take away, I think that’s great!

            It’s certainly a far sight better than not suffering a witch to live or stoning people who work on the Sabbath or owning slaves and selling daughters.

            The religions are different. Yes. They’re different religions.

            As to the secular bit: I never claimed that a godless land bereft of any religious belief was any better or worse than anything else.

            I’m just saying that secular influence to reign religion in is a good thing. It’s not something that happens overnight. America’s history is filled with atrocities, and there is a lot of injustice still existing today. But liberty is very much anti-religious. The whole idea of religion is that you’re not free. If you exercise that freedom and act freely under religious belief, you risk an eternity of torture. There’s a very strict line one need adhere. That’s not freedom. That’s not a pursuit of happiness.

            Left alone to grow with no secular influence, many religious nations past and present are horrid dictatorships to live in.

            That some people were religious during America’s founding means only that. Government was designed to be secular for good reason. And for every good “value” someone can name, there was a bad one right alongside. So it’s a go-nowhere discussion, as we’ve demonstrated previously.

            I won’t quibble about Hitler with Christians who disown him. As to the Soviet Union and China, that can only be called secular in a very selective context. They were more like the ancient Egyptians and some Romans, in that their leaders believed themselves divine. We see that happening still today in places like North Korea.

            They might be “secular” in a sense that they’re not beholden to any mainstream religion. But they don’t lack divinity. These places have leaders who believe themselves holy and above mankind. Not mainstream religious, but not necessarily secular.

            And, just my opinion of course, I think religious people would do well to understand that there’s much, much more than just the big religions out there. People are constantly calling themselves divine. Religions are still being created today. If we’re using “secular” in a context that it means without religion, then it’s important to understand that much of politics is all about creating a new religion to follow.

            Just look at the global warming cult and guys like Gore. That’s rubbing very closely against religion. All it needs is for a person who believes him or herself divine, and we got brand new religion complete with a god to worship. (Some may argue that’s already happened with Obama.)

            It doesn’t need to be a certain age or contain talking animals and gods sacrificing themselves to themselves to break a curse it created in order to count as a religion.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            Unless I missed something, I didn’t read any denials that Islam is a religion. But Islam, in direct contrast to Christianity, (which teaches it’s adherents to co-exist with temporal authority), seeks to usurp and replace temporal authority. While Jesus, and the Pauline epistles teach obediance to “lawful” temporal Government. Islam requires temporal government (in order to be lawful) obey it. As for disowning Hitler, he was an evolutionist and fierce eugenicist. He believed survival of the fittest applied to humans, and defininately, did not believe (as most all Christians do) that all men are directly related one to another by blood. That is, Christians believe all humans descended from Adam and Eve, while Hitler believed some humans, were simply less evolved sub- species. Yes Christians disown him. As for the new gods of our modern age, I could not agree with you more. Without transcendant truth, man turns to worship himself. As for the idea, that the fear of hell impedes liberty, nothing could be more preposperous. Liberty, and libertine, are not the same things. And besides, why should any non believer care about an afterlife they don’t believe in? As for your global warming cult, I’ve seen it before. Many of them are the same folks who denigrate science for evolutions cause.

          • Josh

            Iowa’s stance is that Islam isn’t a religion. At all. You replied on top as if you were backing that sentiment.

            Also, “libertine” is exceedingly broader the more literal someone chooses to adhere to scripture.

            For global warming and evolution: I realize that some people attempt to treat mainstream science as if it’s this Marxist conspiracy, but beyond that I’m not sure what the two have to do with one another.

            Global warming, in a political context, is a racket to manufacture an industry and to grow government. Where does evolution fit into any of that? My brain fizzles out from the conspiracies I imagine pertaining to how they meld.

            If it’s all the same, I’m not going to get into another evolution discussion. Despite my best efforts in a previous discussion, you seem to think of “evolution” as this thing I’ve never heard of that includes other hypotheses and theories that explicitly exile God.

            Your definitions are not anything I’m familiar with, even after Googling and going back to books and researching time and again.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            No I don’t think science is a Marxist comspiracy. What I think, is that far too many scientists allow their own philosophies and ideologies cloud their observations. I’m not sure what you could not find when you googled it, but my simplest argement was that a whole lot of extraordinarily reputable scientists are beginning to question much the philosophical underpinnings of modern science. Most notably “materialism and “naturalism”. You can most certainly google Hawkings statement that “there may actually be, no observer independant history of the universe”. If you can’t understand the full import of what that, and much of quantum mechanical theory implies, further discussion would be useless.

          • Josh

            I’ve said before, a Hawking mined quote is pretty meaningless to anything. Though I did Google it, and all that came up were listings of Bernardgoldberg.com, where you have previously written that quote down.

            So it’s obviously not a direct quote; it’s paraphrased and thus I have no idea what it’s supposed to be talking about. Black holes? Matter? Mass? I haven’t the slightest idea.

            And the “beginning to question” bit sounds more like the attempt by some to classify science as “historic” if it relies at all on inference (which in itself is beyond odd).

            So, yeah, I reckon your grasp on these matters and on quantum mechanical theory and its implications are beyond my capabilities, thus further discussion on this topic would serve no purpose.

          • Brian Fr Langley

            I googled using the quote and adding Stephen Hawking the Grand Design. It comes up. I know It’s cherry picking a quote but this is not a particular good forum for serious debate, so specificity and brevity is key. And no science is NOT historic. (that’s my argument). As to cherry picking Hawking he is only one of many who are noting the standard model is NOT conforming to observation.

          • Iowa48

            Political systems dictate civil law and criminal law. No religion currently dictates civil law nor criminal law in any political system that I am aware of, other than Islam. That fact removes Islam from the realm of religion, and places it strictly in the realm of government/political system. If it confined itself solely to man’s relationship to the gods, it would be a religion. Since it dictates civil and criminal law, i.e. man’s relationship to the state, it is not a religion.

          • Josh

            “If it confined itself solely to man’s relationship to the gods, it would be a religion.”

            Who says they’re mutually exclusive, beyond you? And who says they’re not involved in politics in order to serve their god?

    • sjangers

      It’s not practical to suggest that the state has no role, or interest, in regulating (and defining) marriage, Josh. For centuries the legal systems of western states have recognized the need to establish and enforce rules related to contracts between individual citizens. Since the obligations incurred by parties involved in marriage go well beyond the promise to love, honor and obey, and understanding of those obligations can sometimes lead to disputes that impact persons far beyond the original participants in the contract, the state does have a compelling interest in making sure that these contracts are clear and binding.

      You can’t simply shrug your shoulders and suggest that religion be responsible for the marriage contract. What about those individuals who want to form unions and raise children without having to involve themselves with any specific religion? What about parties to a contract who belong to different religions? What happens if dozens of religions establish wildly different rules related to the marriage contract? What authority would we want religions to have to enforce marriage contracts? Try to imagine the social chaos that would result without some level of state involvement to define who may participate in those contracts and what should happen when parties to the contracts don’t live up to their side of the agreement.

      The very earliest settlers of this country usually didn’t involve religion in their marriages, although they were very religious people, but clearly recognized the necessity for the government to have laws that would define and enforce the conditions of the marriage contract. Many of the rulings of the early courts in the Plymouth Colony and the Massachusetts Bay Colony were related to marriage contracts or matters that flowed from marriage. While our society has changed dramatically in the intervening four hundred years, the need for some outside party to assist in defining and enforcing the marriage (or civil union) contract remains- perhaps more powerfully than ever.

      It’s up to us as a society to decide which agreements between individuals require the involvement of the power of the state and how that power should be directed. It seems that voters in Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Utah and California spoke pretty clearly on the subject, only to be over-ruled in each case by a lone secular authority. And that seems to be the most important question that Dennis Prager raises in his column: Should we be deciding how we want our society to be governed, absent any substantial error on our part, or should a lone, appointed authoritarian figure be doing the deciding for us?

      • Josh

        I’m not shrugging my shoulders and saying religion should be solely responsible. I’m saying that people can’t have it both ways. One cannot claim that marriage should be X and/or Y based on their religious beliefs, and then demand the United States government, which is supposed to have a clear separation, enforce on everyone an idea of religious marriage.

        Once it’s handed over to government, it’s open to things such as advocate judges. It’s no longer the holy institution a lot of same-sex marriage opponents try to make it out to be.

        “It’s up to us as a society to decide which agreements between individuals require the involvement of the power of the state and how that power should be directed.”

        Okay. That’s fine by me. But then those on the other side of the issue have just as much right to have those biased views changed to include them. It can’t be a one-way street. And a majority is often pointless in such things. Because 7 out of 10 guys say women shouldn’t vote, does that mean women shouldn’t vote? (There are no equal comparisons here, but that’s pretty close. It’s “society,” right?

        Again, it’s just that one cannot have it both ways. At least not in the USA. Pakistan? Sure. America? No. So keep expecting government to enforce it if you want. I have no issue; marriage is a sham anyway. I’m only saying that in doing so, this is what happens.

        People who are discriminated against eventually win in such systems.

        I don’t agree with the ability of one or a few individuals in a position of power to institute change. Then again, this apple doesn’t have another apple for comparison. Marriage is a unique issue. And we’re speaking about the public, not private institutions. We’re speaking about the rights of someone being taken away simply because they don’t live a lifestyle the majority of people agree with.

        How does religion expect to keep winning in America? Majority or not, the government is supposed to be secular. So, again, religious proponents of the “traditional” marriage should expect nothing less as long as they so freely hand something supposedly holy over to lawmakers in order to discriminate.

        • sjangers

          Well, I’ll agree with you to some extent, Josh. I’d feel a lot happier if government would create a category of “civil unions” over which they’d have jurisdiction. Contract law and public policy doesn’t require the use of the term “marriage”, if that offends people from some religions. I wish that’s how LGBT activists had chosen to attack this problem.

          The challenge is that we’re in a transitional phase in our society. The traditional family is fading. We need laws and policies that recognize the rights of people in non-traditional family arrangements and that support and encourage those arrangements when they have a positive social impact. But change is rarely greeted with enthusiasm. As a society, we should really be moving more slowly once we have satisfied the most fundamental needs of all our citizens. Trying to force non-essential changes down people’s throats only creates resistance. Patience and diplomacy are more effective approaches to smooth social transformation.

          The most just societies govern (and misgovern) themselves. But the will of the majority should also be tempered with the wisdom to address minority concerns when they’re not in direct conflict with the needs of the majority. We’ve had a fair amount of success with those principles in our history, although there certainly have been exceptions, as you point out. For me, the fundamental question in this case should be: If the majority don’t want to extend the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, but they are willing to extend the same legal protections under a different definition (e.g., “civil union”), why are the concerns of the majority being overridden to satisfy the wishes of a minority of our citizens? That’s a question that I think those judges ought to be able to answer coherently before they’re allowed to continue on the bench.

          • Josh

            For me, the answer of the majority-minority/marriage-civil union bit is rather simple. It’s the government–not the church, but the government–denying adults the same freedoms afforded to a certain type of lifestyle that’s causing the issue.

            I think the fix is rather simple as well. Either call it all marriage, or call them all civil unions. At least in the public.

            If two people want to be joined together by law, it’s a civil union. If they want to be joined together in holy matrimony under the eyes of their particular god, then separate that from the state and keep it “marriage.”

            There’s a compromise to be had, I’m sure, pertaining to the clusterphuck bureaucracy constructed around “marriage,” where a state can recognize one, sanction the other, and give everyone the same rights.

            I mean, we’re back to the point about the supposed separation of church and state. Those who want to uphold some idea of marriage being between a man and woman are doing so because of religious principles. Not necessarily practical principles, but due to their interpretation of holy scripture. To then expect government to discriminate based on religious principles is always going to have some people in an uproar.

            Government defining it as “marriage” is the biggest problem here, it seems to me. So I don’t think we’re far off. It appears like we just have inverted solutions.

            I don’t think separate classifications should be created for “traditional” and same-sex marriages. I think this idea of “marriage,” if the religious want to keep it holy, needs to get out of government entirely.

          • sjangers

            We are pretty close, Josh. I disagree a bit with your assessment that government bending to the wishes of a religious minority and not using the word “marriage” to define civil unions is somehow blurring the line between church and state (it’s just practical as the use of the word “marriage” isn’t necessary to impart the same protections and benefits to all), but otherwise we appear to be in just about the same place. How the heck did that happen?!

          • Josh

            I would agree that it’s not a church-state issue if I had evidence that opponents of same-sex marriage weren’t against it solely because of religious beliefs and weren’t voting based on how they view the lifestyles of homosexuals.

            I’ve heard many arguments that present as if they’re not rooted in religion. Prager even manages to step outside of that box for about a paragraph, until it becomes clear that “civilized world” is another way of saying the Judeo-Christian world.

            And my only point on that front is that “marriage” will lose that way. State by state, it’s not going to stop until folks realize they have to provide some flow to the ebb.

          • sjangers

            I think your view of the First Amendment’s establishment clause is probably overly broad. But debating that point could take huge amounts of time and space, and I suspect that we probably shouldn’t make than imposition on Mr. Goldberg’s site. So let’s just appreciate our agreement on a good way to avoid the whole “marriage” controversy in public policy.

            Until next time.