Gay Marriage in SF-- does this help or hurt the cause?

I think this is a stupid political stunt by the new mayor of SF:

San Francisco issues marriage licenses to gays.

CA has a DOMA law on the books:

I personally have no problem with gays marrying if the voters approve of it. But efforts like this, attempting to thwart the existing law and ram it down people’s throats will, I think, backfire. CA already has a domestic partner law which will take effect next year, so I don’t see this as anything but political grandstanding. Gavin Newsom (new SF mayor) seems to not want to be “trumped” by MA. How does the city of SF figure it has authority to issue marriage licences which violate a state law?


perhaps it’s a stunt to challenge the law?

i agree that this probably isn’t the way to go about this, and i wonder what will happen to those marriage licenses granted illegally.

anyone know anything about california law? is there anything in the constitution through which one could challenge the doma law? perhaps all the buzz in MA is making sf think a domestic partnership law isn’t enough.

What’s to know about CA law other than what I wrote in the OP? The way to challenge a law (esp for an elected official) is to take it to the courts or to propose new legislation, not to purposely break that law. Civil disobedience has its place, but this is not even civil disobedience.

Well, what do you know. Gay people are married in the US. And heterosexual marriages… dissolve? Explode? Combust?

Nope. The structure of marriage, the fabic of marriage, the institution of marriage, the sanctity of marriage… they’re all intact. All that’s happened is that more people can now participate.

For this reason, I think this is a massive step in the right direction. People need to see the reality of gay marriage, as opposed to the bizarre apocalyptic visions they’ve been constructing in their heads. The reality is pedestrian; two little old ladies, who’ve been together for half a century, who can now say that they’re married.

It’s a great day.

Does this mean that it is time to start phase 2 of the Gay Agenda[sup]TM[/sup]?

uhh, yeah, i’m gonna have to go ahead and sorta, disagree with you there.

the problem is this was done illegally. i think you probably know by now from my previous posts that i’m a firm supporter of same-sex marriage rights. but this is in no way establishing those rights, and if anything, it seems like it will create a backlash against them.

if this is a great day, the day that will soon come when the marriage of those two little old ladies is dissolved because it was done illegally will certainly not be. no, this isn’t the way to go about it, this is a politician grandstanding to gain support among his constituents, and using your cause for that purpose.

John Mace, i meant the constitution. are there any grounds on which to challenge this law, such as is the case in ma, where the state constitution provides greater equal protection and due process rights than the federal constitution? when i read your op, i thought of homer plessy, who staged an arrest in order to bring a jim crow law to court. obviously the mayor isn’t the person to do that, so one has to wonder what’s so important here that he’d break the law to acheive it?


re: The CA constitution.

I don’t know the details but you can read about it here.

From Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail:

So there is no reason, IMHO, to wait for the “majority” to catch up. An unjust law, a difference made legal, is immoral, and we are not obligated to obey it.

I love the fact that those two women, who had been together 51 years, were allowed to marry. Can you imagine how excited they must have been? They got to get married for before they died, and that is a beautiful thing.

Oops. I copied that from the University of Pennsylvania, and you would think they’d be more careful about this (or that I would be :rolleyes: ). Anyway, it’s supposed to read:

Yes, this is civil disobedience. Civil disobedience by an elected official, which carries even more weight. I think the comparison to Martin Luther King, Jr. (who, whatever his failings, was not a brat ;)) is appropriate.

The only way to challenge an unconstitutional law is to break it. There must be a real case on which the court can base their decision. The Mayor (and the women who married) may suffer consequences, but they did what he believed to be the just and right thing.

I have always believed that forbidding gay people to marry is immoral and unjust, and today I am proud to live in a city whose public officials are willing to take a stand against injustice.

Besides, there’s just something beautiful about two women who have been together for 51 years finally being able to marry.

I guess that Gavin Newsom’s long, unsuccesscul fight to gain marriage rights for gays left he no option but to disobey the law that he swore to uphold, right? He’s been fighting in the trenches for this and exhausted all other legal means at his disposal, right? I don’t think so…

I would call the actions of the two women civil disobedience, but not the mayor. It’s a stunt, and he’s ingoring the backlash that will surely come.

It’s amazing how incredibly TIRED I am to keep hearing “backlash backlash backlash backlash” as if it were a credible argument for forbearance in demanding our rights. If the American public is still so unprepared for full equality for gays and lesbians that they’re capable of being stampeded, like cattle, into fits of gaybashing, verbal abuse of queers, and the removal of what rights we have managed to wrest from their greedy little hands, then the American public doesn’t deserve to have gay folk among them, and I advocate a mass exodus to Canada or Europe if such a thing were to happen.

I’m sure if the “backlash” were to come to pass, homosexuality would be an asylum condition for emigration from the US into more enlightened and modern countries.

Backlash = gay bashing? Nope.

Backlash = More DOMA legislation

Backlash = more support for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage

Fighting for rights = good. Elected officials breaking laws = bad.

Failure to see the difference is nothing short of political naivete.

Newsom may not have been in the trenches that long, but make no mistake, there are trenches in the gay civil rights movement and those trenches have been filled with people who have fighting for this, and they have waited a long time and perhaps they do feel as if they’ve exhausted “all other legal means at their disposal,” whether you agree or not

And about those legal means: a lot of people told King he hadn’t used all the legal means at his disposal. A lot of people told women in 1919 to wait just a little while longer, there were better channels than hunger strikes from jail and showing up to vote anyway. There are countless other examples in our history. That is the nature of the beast. This is non-violent civil disobedience and the fact tha Newsom got elected and took an oath does not mean he surrenders his right to political speech. Sam Adams, an elected member of the Massachusetts legislature, organized the Boston Tea Party in an extraordinary act of civil disobedience.

And so it is a stunt. I will not argue that point with you. I will, however, direct your attention to the story of the first Martin Luther, who, in a rather successful political stunt, nailed 95 theses to the Wittenburg church door.


And the first Martin Luther didn’t suddenly pull those theses out of his ass. He had been fighting in the trenches. Your analogy doesn’t hold. San Adams also had no other political recourse-- taxes were set in England, not in the MA legislature of the time.

But the debate here is not whether you agree with Newsom’s actions. The debate is: Will it help or hurt the cause of gay marriage?

I’m not sure if it will help or hurt. That remains to be seen and I don’t see the point in speculating on it. We’ll find out soon enough. I can tell you as a heterosexual woman with no dog in this fight that I was thrilled to see the news, and I hope it helps their cause. It’s a crying shame it has taken this long.

On one level, an open and vigorous fight for the issue energizes the opposition base. It causes concerns in the general public. It makes it less likely that the cause will move forward in the near term.

On another level, actually having gay marriages out there takes away the arguments that this is all the beginning of the end for human civilization. Civil unions in Vermont haven’t brought down Ragnarok. The world isn’t going to blow up over the gay marriages that will occur in MA between now and the enactment of any constitutional amendment. Pushing the issue ahead defuses things in the long haul.
The big problem I see is that if an amendment passes to bar gay marriage at teh federal level, it will be lifetimes before it can be undone. You would need an equal supermajority of support to take it off the books, and there are many parts of this country that are not going to get there. Despite the supposed respect for the rights of gay people to their private sex lives, it was an historical microsecond ago that the Supreme Court ruling against sodomy laws (by a divided vote at that) caused an uproar.

this is a good point. as a reasonable person (and one who expects others to debate rationally), i feel that if i could sit down with someone who opposed gay marriage, i could either get them to admit their bigotry and desire to go against the american way in upholding a ban, or i could get them to admit that gays should have the same rights as them, and that they don’t have to mean gay marriage when they say “marriage”. perhaps if middle america can see that there is no harm in it, it will be much more accepting, and the far right that comes on with so much hatred will be the ones receiving the backlash.

i guess my problem here is just that i don’t like the idea of a public official going against his oath of office to advance this agenda. roy moore did something he believed in agains his oath of office, and he came out looking like an ass, even to the people who supported his position. it’s not so much a “backlash” that i fear, it’s that the people who engage in this will be ultimately disappointed and only face more hardship as a result. i do feel happy for those two women though.

another reason it would take a while is because many reasonable people like me will get the hell out of the hateful bigotted country, in favor of one that believes in the rights of others. i don’t know that there will be a mass exodus, but i know i won’t stay in a country that enshrines discrimination in its national charter.

i don’t believe a federal amendment has a chance though. it is very tough to pass a constitutional amendment, and with everyone being forced to confront this now, by the time the states get to vote on it, i don’t think the people of america will go for it when it comes down to it, and they see the hatred and bigotry behind such an amendment.

It’s hard to pass a federal constitutional amendment, but much easier on the state level. How much you wanna bet that a CA amendment gets underway after this stunt?

I was down at SF City Hall today and watched some of the USA’s first government-sanctioned same-sex marriages. It was an impromptu, but exciting and beautiful event. The news spread by cell phone and email. Fearful of the coming injunctions, couples started rushing to City Hall when they heard the news. Most did not even bother to change into fancier clothes – couples lined up for simple impromptu weddings, often in their street clothes and tennis shoes. None of these couples woke up today with the knowledge that they would be getting married later today and making history. There were no protestors against the equal marriages; everyone present was happy and supportive.

I know there’s going to be a backlash, injunctions, lawsuits, and constitutional amendments headed to the ballots. No matter which course we take, some resistence is inevitable. That doesn’t mean we can’t or won’t fight, however. I am absolutely convinced this was the right thing to do. Irrational and hateful discrimination is immoral. I applaud Gavin Newsom for doing what was simply the right, and only thing to do (I’m not normally a fan of Newsom – I voted against him and worked on the campaign of his opponent. But in this case he’s done the right thing and I support him 100% on this issue).