Gay rights (Marriage in particular)

I wonder why this topic hasn’t been posted yet.

Anyways, I hold the belief that gays and lesbians, being citizens of The United States just like straights, have the right to a state certified marriage which would allow them to visit their significant others in the hospital, will to eachother their personal belongings upon death, and allow their partners to be beneficiaries of life insurance policies. It’s hard for me not to sympathize with another human being wanting to make sure that they can see the one they love the most in this world when he/she is in the hospital or wanting their loved one to benefit from their life linsurance policy.

Now, I am NOT saying that religious institutions need recognize such a marriage, after all we do have a separation of church and state and freedom of religion in this country. I only say that gays and lesbians are people and citizens just like everyone else in the US and are therefore entitled to the same rights.

Also, make sure always to preview first: when you mess up your coding–say, by accidentally including your response within the quote lines–it tends to make you look like an idiot.

Also, while we’re giving advice, watch how you throw terms around. You have a meaning of the word “right” in your head that may or may not square with (1) other people’s meaning of that word or (2) how that word is used in the Constitution.

Do you mean you wonder why the topic hasn’t been posted this week?

Um, TaxGuy, no he doesn’t; Chopin’s use of the word “right” seems to square pretty well from my perspective. Care to elaborate?

I would guess that TaxGuy questions whether state recognition of what is (or should be) primarily a social and religious affiliation legitimately falls under the definition of “rights”, in the way that he as a libertarian understands the term, rather than under the more nebulous heading of “priveleges”.

As a libertarian myself, I’ve always argued that the state’s role in such things ought to be limited to what it should be in most other circumstances: the prevention of coercion, and the arbitration of basic contract law in a way that excludes coercion. If a particular set of people (say, a male person and another female person) can enter into a valid marriage contract, then it follows that the state should not prevent any other set of persons from entering into an identical contract, unless the circumstances of the second contract involve coercion (i. e., one of the parties is underage, or is otherwise unable to form free and informed consent.) However, the state also should not extend preferential treatment to anyone simply because they have entered into a particular type of contract (no tax breaks, no “privelege” to engage in sexual congress, et cetera).

Any social or religious aspects of marriage are entirely separate - if a particular church, or insurance company, or the Hendersons down the block, want to recogonize or not recognize some union, or to applaud or deplore it, then that is their right as well.

Personal disclaimer: in addition to being a libertarian, I am also bisexual, so I obviously have certain biases. However, I’ve never felt particularly compelled to marry anyone, either, a situation that is unlikely to change.

The “coercion” in this case is that gay couples are forced to choose from a more limited set of options–rights–than hetero couples.

Wouldn’t a better solution be to eliminate those options from straight marriages than to add those options to a larger group of people by including gay marriages?

I would certainly say so, yes.

People seem to be avoiding an obvious point-- can’t people will things to non-spouses, visit non-spouses in the hospital, name non-spouses as beneficiaries of life insurance, etc? There are, admittedly, some extra steps involved if this can’t be done in the one-step marriage. For instance, draw up a will (this would have to be done even with a spouse unless ALL the belongings are to go to the spouse, which is automatic), allow the spouse power of attorney, and others.
I’m not sure about marriage as it is technically defined by the state, but if all that’s suggested in the OP is a government-recognized marriage, then how about institutiong same-sex civil partnerships nationally?
By the way-- the governent can’t afford to pay things like social security benifits to another group of spouses or spouse-equivalents. This fact makes questions of any government-funded benifits purely academic, b/c unles you want to raise taxes several thousand dollars, it can’t be paid for.

The point is not so obvious as it may appear.

Wills can be – and often are – challenged by blood relatives if they don’t approve of the distribution of property. For someone in a same-sex partnership, willing their property to their partner doesn’t get the automatic protection that a spousal bequest will get. Further, bequests to a partner are more heavily taxed than bequests to a bereaved spouse.

Hospitals will refuse access to anyone other than blood relatives or spouses in some critical cases; I don’t know if declaring someone one’s legal next of kin (for which I believe there’s a mechanism) will get through that, or even if most people are aware of the mechanism if it exists. A health care proxy might do, but those are sufficiently obscure that I wouldn’t be surprised if many hospitals would presume that people don’t have them and contact blood relatives instead of the person with the legal power to make decisions.

The Alternatives to Marriage Project has said there are over a thousand benefits to marriage. A thousand benefits, for signing one piece of paper. That’s some potent contract, don’t you think? Some major ones, and some of them as trivial as the right to change their names without filing paperwork and a fee, but still, that’s a big chunk of privilege.

In any case, the tangle of red tape and loopholes that a gay couple must master in order even to attempt the same protections/rights/privileges as a straight couple is most decidedly not equal, so the system remains discriminatory.

You know, before the whole gay marriage issue came up, I never heard anybody say we should get rid of marriage all together. Now I seem to hear it all the time. Maybe it’s just me, but it sure seems a lot like, “I’d rather get rid of it than let them have it too.”

According to AZ Central, The Christian Science Monitor, & Fox News, there are unnamed same-sex marriage advocates who are calling for the entire “de-legalization” of marriage in the US.

Now I realize same-sex marriage is a sensitive and emotional topic, but if there truly are some advocates calling for an end to all marriages, they should be immediately taken to task for using such moronic and counter-productive tactics.

It’s similar to (but even a more damaging) than throwing condoms at elderly Catholic parishioners inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC as a way of ‘acting-up’ and bring ‘awareness’ to the AIDS crisis. It’s more immature and infantile than going home with the ball because they guys you were playing with wouldn’t let you pitch. It negative, undiplomatic and downright abhorrent.

Patience is a virtue. All trends point to more acceptance by the younger generations / future leaders & decision makers. The overwhelming majority of people prefer honey over vinegar…especially if it’s thrown in their face.

Well, after all, Captain Amazing, we’re “defiling the institution of marriage.” :rolleyes:

I’m actually not in favor of doing away with marriages as they exist today, but I most assuredly am in favor of getting the same privilege for myself, especially now that I actually have someone in my life I plan to marry. I don’t need nor want to force the RCC or any other church to accept the validity of my marriage (since I have my own church - Unitarian Universalists - who have no problem doing so), I just want the same protections and responsibilities the government affords opposite-sex couples.


Yeah, it’s a way to be bigoted while seeming principled. It’s like those people who voted against the various Civil Rights Acts not because they were prejudiced, but because “it’s a state’s rights” issue.

Actually, I’d like to challenge this and offer my own interpretation.

The reason so many folks, especially the Christian conservatives, are bitching about this is because same-sex marriage would mean that the government (and by default) the general population would recognize gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered folk as full and equal citizens.

That is, in my not so humble opinion, the underlying reason for the whole mess about same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage would mean that the government and society, in general, would treat us as full equals. They (those who oppose same-sex marriage) barely tolerate us, but it seems they’ll be damned of they’ll accept us as equals.

Well of course that’s an underlying cause, Freyr, but vocally I’ve heard more people use the “institution of marriage” argument than stoop to the level of admitting they don’t think we should be treated as equals (as the good Captain noted - there are always rationalizations for prejudice).


Esprix, defending the “institution of marriage” is really just bulwarking one of the last lines of defense that the “normals” have against us weirdos. They’re defending it because it’s what makes them better than us: they can marry and we can’t.

While there may very well be a few people who have a deepseated love for marraige as an institution, you can be reasonably certain that the vast majority of them could care less about marriage as an institution and are just using it as a pretext.