This blog started out as a collection of scripts for an online radio show of the same name. It riffed off of my 2004 book, Musings from the Christian Left, now republished as The Conscience of a Catholic Radical.

Monday, May 19, 2008

California's Marriage Decision

E.J. Dionne opines in todays Washington Post that it is good that the majority will ultimately vote on the California Marriage issue and hopes that they vote to affirm it.

I don't share his optimism on the ability of legislative majorities to respect the rights of minorities. Some things should not be put to a vote. Ultimately, this will turn into a federal equal protection question - I am frankly surprised that it has not already.

Should the California voters not agree with E.J., the matter will eventually go to the Supreme Court. When it does, even Justice Scalia will have to agree that equal protection is equal protection - especially in the California case, opening up the spectre of a federal marriage amendment or even the call to a constitutional convention on a variety of conservative hot button issues from taxation to abortion.

Time will tell.


Blogger Spillersman said...

I don't think the state should have a role in licensing marriage. Individuals should make those choices. The state should merely recognize and respect such choices. My position would be more libertarian and I guess a support for defacto same sex marriage. Until the state gets out of licensing though I would tend to support eqaulizing rights via same sex marriage and/or civil unions.

12:34 AM

Blogger Michael Bindner said...

The problem with not licensing marriage is that this does not provide enough standing to the new spouse (gay or straight) to tell the family of origin to take a hike. It is much easier to record these things rather than fight about it when medical decisions are required or when property is to be distributed. As long as you record births, you must license marriages - and as long as you license marriages you have to recognize gay marriage, as the gay spouse has even more reason to wrest control of decisionmaking from the family of origin than the straight one.

9:09 AM

Blogger Spillersman said...

State licensing realatively new. You don't actually need a formal license from the state to have legal rights to marriage recognized. You could have private contract marriages, ceremonial marriages, and common law marriages that could be as legally binding as a license by the state. Licensing has more to do with raising revenues for the state and state control.

1:45 PM


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