Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Dick Cheney Was Right

Oh. My. God.

I agree with Dick Cheney. As far as I can tell, Dick Cheney's position is exactly the one presented in Jonathan Rauch's serious, well-argued book, Gay Marriage. To wit: a) Gay marriage is necessary as a matter of equality, and ought to be the law and; b) It's the sort of matter that ought to be left to the states to hash out, and not interfered in by the courts and; c) The Defense of Marriage Act is sufficient to keep some states from legislating for the rest. That is, gay marriage ought to be the law, but it also ought to be brought into existence through orthodox, constitutional means. I think this is probably a position that would find agreement among 3/4 of the American public--and not only that, it's right. It's not the position of the activists on either side (the gay rights groups are happy to have this rammed through by the courts, and the conservatives think that gay marriage is an abomination), but it makes sense. On the basis of this, I'm almost willing to forgive Dick Cheney for his role in twisting intelligence in the run-up to the war.

Almost.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did you publicly condemn the actions of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, Gavin Newsom, and all the other attempts to avoid the normal legislative/executive process of passing legislation? If so, congratulations on your intellectual honesty. If not, why not?

Jason Mulgrew said...

intense!

love,
jason mulgrew
internet quasi-celebrity

Anonymous said...

I'm not a fan of Dick Cheney, but this is something with which I agree. Its interesting to note that he's held this position for quite some time, but he shut up and went with the "party line" with the whole FMA hullaboo.

In my opinion, gay marriage/civil-unions are going to happen, no matter what activists on any side say. Its reached a critical point of public awareness. I mean, what happened the day after all of those marriages in Massechusetts? Not a thing, life went on. As people realize this, then it'll be a much more accepted part of American life.

Anonymous said...

I agree that gay marriage is inevitable in at least a few areas and it's not some apocalyptic evil that will bring horror and chaos to the world if it's legalized, but in what way is gay marriage 'necessary as a matter of equality'?

The laws as currently stand already treat everyone equally: by law, you can marry one person of the opposite sex who is over 18, isn't directly related to you, and who's not currently married to anyone else. No distinction is made in the law in regards to sexual orientation--can you name a right that a straight man has that a gay man does not? The pool of allowable and forbidden marriage partners (excluding sisters) for both men are exactly the same. What exactly is the 'equal rights' issue?

KMB

Palooka said...

Yes, Dick Cheny is right but you're wrong (DOMA is insufficient). If interested, see my recent post on my blog. Later.

Pudentilla said...

Is marriage a fundamental right? If it is, then how can it be left to the states? Even if it's not, won't you get wildly divergent economic and legal treatment under a states' rights approach. For example, a man could have two daughters, one gay and one straight. And while the straight one could marry in any state and have her marriage and its concommittent legal rights and benefits recognized in every state, his gay daughter might only marry in one state, and the legal rights and benefits of that marriage would not be recognized in most states. Would this be a fair or logical result?

TNB said...

So. Americans who pay taxes, obey laws, work, and in other ways contribute to society, need to wait until their rights are recognized by a majority? That attitude might have African-Americans still disfranchised in Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia...

Anonymous said...

Mmmmm States' Rights...tastes like George Wallace, Strom Thurmond...oooooh Thurmond.

Yeah, let's leave gay marriage up to the states...they have always proven themselves to be at the forefront of protecting minority rights!

Anonymous said...

"...the straight one could marry in any state and have her marriage and its concommittent legal rights and benefits recognized in every state, his gay daughter might only marry in one state, and the legal rights and benefits of that marriage would not be recognized in most states. Would this be a fair or logical result?"

Except you're implying the first daughter is marrying a MAN while the second one is marrying a WOMAN. The gay daughter still has the right (although perhaps not the desire) to marry a MAN and have her marriage treated just as equally under the law in any state as the first one. They would be exactly the same under current law--the government doesn't treat their marriages differently (nor should they) because of the sexual orientation of the second...

The black civil rights analogy is wrong, because you can list specific rights that a white man had but a black man did not, whereas the governmental restrictions on marriage are applied to gays and straights equally. A better comparison is to marijuana legalization--which has its merits--but has nothing whatsoever to do with 'equal rights', since current laws apply equally to those who like to smoke marijuana and those that don't...

KMB

StevenTeles said...

Thanks for all the comments on the Dick Cheney post. I'll just venture one quick response: yes, in fact, I did "condemn" the Gavin Newsom circus and the Mass. court decision at the time--although I had nowhere to do the condemning back then....just condemning into the air. I thought both violated reasonable constitutional norms. If Newsom had allowed ONE marriage in San Francisco as a test case of the constitutionality of the state's constitutional provision making marriage between a man and a woman, that would have at least respected his role in the CA constitutional system. But instead he acted as if he could unilaterally determine the constitutionality of that provision, which to me is evidence of someone without a sober conception of his office. The MA court decision was judicial activism, plain and simple--this was a matter for the state legislature to sort out, and it took incredible hubris for the state court to decide that it could unilaterally overturn the overwhelming evidence of legislative and constitutional intent in the area. That said, I think the MA legislature should legalize gay marriage, as should every other state.

Pudentilla said...

Ah yes, the fun with definitions argument. As long as you ignore human reality and human dignity, you make sense. Nothing like the right to life liberty and heterosexual happiness, I suppose.

But since I take it that you won't grant marriage the status of a fundamental right, that means I get to argue that marriage in my state should preclude divorce and remarriage, or at least do so where minor children are involved. We should probably be sure to amend our constitution to make sure that if unhappily married heterosexuals wandered into more joyous associations they would be specifically precluded from any economic or legal benefits the state confers on marriages - and we'd have to call their children bastards.

States have an interest in compelling heterosexuals to fulfill their marriage vows, sanctity of contract and all. Such a definition might also support the institution of the nuclear heterosexual family, and possibly lessen the tax burdens heterosexual parents who have children but who don't fulfill their child support obligations.

And to those heterosexuals who might argue that this limits their rights of association, I suppose you would say, nonsense - associate as much as you want - with your estranged spouse.

MWS said...

Pudentilla,

I agree. I don't think marriage is a fundamental right and I think the legislature could constitutionally do any or all of those things you mentioned. Obviously, they are not going to because their constituents don't want it.

In my opinion, there are very few "fundamental" rights and they are largely the political rights mentioned in the Bill of Rights and those deriving from the 14th Amendment. I don't think abortion is a fundamental right and lots of other things. I think abortion and gay marriage should be legal as a matter of policy. But, as a matter of constitutional law, I have problems with allowing judges to dictate the way democracy works. The issue about blacks being disenfranchised by the majority is valid but not relevant; voting is a fundamental right protected by the 14th Amendment. There is a way to do things constitutionally and respecting the demands of democracy. I know you are likely to dismiss that as legal hairsplitting, but conservatives say the same thing about the 4th Amendment. I wish the world was perfect and that everyone accepted everyone else. But it isn't and I think it's a mistake to allow judges (or municipal officials) to unilaterally try to make it perfect. Brown v. Board of Education accomplished little until the Civil Rights Acts were passed.

Palooka said...

You didn't exactly explain why DOMA is sufficient to ensure a federalist solution. Again, see my post on my blog if you want to debates the merit of that particular point.

Best,

Palooka