Gay Marriage, First Amendment, And The Law

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Desertrat, Feb 19, 2004.

  1. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #1
    A gun writer noticed the selective enforcement of California law, as the noises about gay marriages in San Francisco became the topic of the day. He took the position that "The law is the law" and wrote a satirical letter to some of the parties involved: The mayor, the police chief, and an involved judge.

    The next thing he knew, he was being investigated for terrorism and threats and I guess mopery with intent to gawk.

    The story, the letter, and some comments are here:

    http://KeepAndBearArms.com/information/Item.asp?ID=3637

    IOW, be careful of what you write, even as satire. The Powers That Be (TPTB) don't like their whiskers tweaked.

    'Rat
     
  2. Krizoitz macrumors 6502a

    Krizoitz

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    #2
    Re: Gay Marriage, First Amendment, And The Law

    While I understand the intent of his article I think that it is a little out of line. I think trying even satirically to refer to gun ownership being anymore than a personal choice is just dumb. Also, unlike gays, guns have a demonstrated danger to society. I'm glad that the police took the time to investigate this matter. Too many times we hear stories about school violence where people assumed the person wasn't serious and then something happens. I'd rather they be cautious and follow up. Its not like they are harrassing him by approaching him with these questions.

    I love how gun rights groups completely ignore the first half of the second amendment. These people aren't part of any militia in the sense that the founding fathers meant it, not to mention that a gun in those days could shoot six shots a minute if you were really really really good. Now you can fire of six shots in a few seconds with a handgun, and they are a lot more accurate and deadly.

    Make no mistake guns were designed for one purpose. To kill. We aren't talking about a car here that has a main purpose and sometimes kills people, we are talking about a device whose sole reason for being is to kill.

    I wish we could limit weapons sales in this country, but until those people in the gun lobby value life over their own need to feel powerful that will never happen. The idea that the government wants to take our guns away so they can keep us from revolting is laughable at best. I don't think any reasonable person would say that the average citizen should own an anti-tank missle, and frankly if the govt decides to take us over they would be using tanks, not rifles.

    I wish those people would look at the context of guns at the time the constitution was written and realize that they have perverted the intent of the second amendment
     
  3. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

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    #3
    Re: Re: Gay Marriage, First Amendment, And The Law

    I love how a one line law can be so poorly written that people argue over what it means for centuries.
     
  4. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #4
    Guns again? Well, at least read through all the old posts so we don't go repeating ourselves endlessly....
     
  5. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #5
    Hehe, I finally read the letter. The hootin' and yowlin' from the gun crowd should be fun to watch over this....:p

    "Help! Help! I'm being repressed! Did you see him repressing me?"

    And the larger point he seems to be missing is that gun owners aren't being denied any rights that every other segment of society is allowed. It's not as if being a 'gun nut' disqualifies you from owning guns. Gays were denied something everyone else got.
     
  6. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #6
    This deal has nothing whatsoevber to do with guns as guns. Gay marriage is against California law. It's legal in other states. The AR 15 is outlawed in California, although it's legal in other states.

    The guy is making the point that elected officials, who are sworn to uphold the laws of the state, are ignoring the one concerning gay marriage. His question is whether if he exercised his interest in guns as gays do in marriage, would the elected officials also ignore state law. The issue from a different writer could well have been marijuana smoking or loud exhausts of a hotrod.

    When you achieve public office you take an oath to uphold all laws. You don't get to pick and choose. You don't get to say, "I am above the law." or "I decide which laws to obey and which to ignore."

    A private citizen has the right to protest any law, in any manner he sees fit--stipulating he's willing to accept the consequences of his action. If you recall, Rev. King would break a law and stand there to accept the consequences--which led to laws being changed.

    An elected official does not have the privilege of breaking his oath. The usual name for this is malfeasance or misfeasance or whichever is the appropriate word. Anyhow, it's a criminal thing.

    To "investigate" someone who writes a polite and satirical letter pointing out the oath-breaking of officials is police-state behavior. Some folks here ought to stop and think about what's been said in this forum at one time or another about quite a large number of public officials, wherein the posts have indicated enough hostility to possibly be taken as threatening.

    But whistle-blowers have never been appreciated...

    'Rat
     
  7. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #7
    Even public officials have the right to break laws they disagree with - if they are willing to accept the consequences. Roy Moore did it, so why can't Gavin Newsom? If the court challenge is rebuked I would expect to see several of these officials forced out of office. That's the consequence they have put their careers on the line against for what they feel is right.

    But, like I said, it will be fun to watch the lather the RKBA people get themselves worked up into over this.
     
  8. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #8
    And, to be perfectly clear, the mayor is challenging California's definition of marriage law based on expressed constitutional equal treatment protections. This issue has not previously been tested in the courts, so it's premature to suggest that the mayor has broken the law. This question can only be resolved in the courts, and it appears that's exactly what is going to happen.
     
  9. numediaman macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    I think the mayor of S.F. pulled off a brilliant little coup. He found a way to successfully challenge the law -- and complicated the situation by handing out marriage certificates over a period of time where it would be difficult to have the courts intervene. By doing so, he introduced an important question: if two people are currently "married" is the court prepared to void the marriage?

    At the very least, it has forced many Americans to look at the issue from another angle. Instead of framing the question as "are you in favor of same sex marriage?" it is now "are you in favor of denying the right of marriage to a certain class of citizens?". It's one thing to be against something, but another to want to outlaw it. (I'm against old men wearing plaid pants on the golf course, but am against a constitutional amendment outlawing it.)
     
  10. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    mac, I still fail to see what guns or RKBA has to do with this. True, the writer is a gun-guy. However, there are many others of various interest groups who could have asked the same question.

    The scary part is the response from officialdom when they are questioned.

    It also has little to do with gay marriages, other than as an example of the behavior of public officials with respect to the laws on the books.

    This behavior sets a precedent for other public officials to adopt the position of "If I agree with a law I'll obey or enforce it; if I don't, I won't." This then begins the slippery slope whereby the public at large takes the same view.

    'Rat
     
  11. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #11
    Link

    Well they all do it. Dangfino.;)
     
  12. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #12
    Just to be a bit cynical for a moment, one thing the mayor did succeed in doing no matter what happens next, is virtually guarantee his reelection by making himself a hero to the city's large and politically active gay community. He also managed in one swell foop to jump right out of the formidable shadow of his predecessor, Willie Brown. It was smart local politics.

    The courts probably won't hesitate to invalidate San Francisco's marriage licenses if, in the end, they don't buy the city's constitutional argument for striking down the marriage definition law. In fact it will follow that they must invalidate them in that event.

    What I'm anxious to hear are the opponent's claims of the harm done to the "institution of marriage" by same-sex marriages formed into the legal arguments they will need to present in court. This always struck me as one of the most dubious propositions imaginable, and we can be sure the courts won't accept the vague, quasi-religious arguments being made now in the political arena. The opponents of gay marriage really have their hands full now.
     
  13. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #13
    Aw come on, that's a baloney sandwich with extra mustard. The city is challenging the constitutionality of the marriage definition law. By what definition of a "slippery slope" is this not the American way of doing business?
     
  14. Krizoitz macrumors 6502a

    Krizoitz

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    #14
    It wasn't the questioning that caused the uproar, it was the way he proposed to challange the law in a like manner. Had he been a nudist and threatened to walk around the city naked I don't think they would have followed up on it. Face it, guns are dangerous. As I pointed out before they are designed from the ground up as an efficient way to KILL people.

    Even in the military you can disobey an order if you think it violates the law. Thats what they are doing here. They have been ordered by this anti-gay marriage law not to do something, which they feel according to the higher law of the state and federal constitution they shouldn't do. Its how you are supposed to do things. Its how this country was started, sometimes you have to break the law, sometimes you have to sit in the bus.

    Also unlike gun owners toting their fire arms around, I don't think gay people getting married is all that harmful from a legal perspective, moral maybe, but not legal.
     
  15. wwworry macrumors regular

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    #15
    THe constitution was written to avoid "the tyranny of the majority" setting up some basic freedoms for all people. If a law is unconstitutional even if 53% percent favored it, it must be struck down or the constitution has to be ammended. Equal protection under the law seems a most basic right. Why do heterosexuals have special rights and gay people have no rights?

    This seems a case where the majority of California voters want to control the lives of people in San Francisco. What they are doing there harms no one. Please show me anyway a gay marriage hurts me or anyone else. Please! Now we can show a lot of ways the current law hurts gay people.

    50 years ago people of different races could not marry in some parts of the country. TImes changed and we see now how backwards that sensibility was. This situation is no different.

    Go Mayor!
     
  16. wwworry macrumors regular

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    #16
    Well I read that letter and if someone wrote me saying he would show up carrying an assult rifle and several concealed weapons I would surely want to know why and send someone out to find out why.

    The article you link to FIRST informs us of his background and intentions AND that the letter was retorical. How were the authorities supposed to know that? Basically Cordera says he's coming over and he's bringing his guns. Now he's crying that that someone wants to know why. Boo Hoo.
     
  17. wwworry macrumors regular

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    #17
    Let me just add that I have never heard of anyone being harmed by a gay marriage. I have heard of many people being harmed when someone shows up somewhere with an assault rifle and concealed handguns.

    Note: I do am not questioning someones right to use guns responsibly.
     
  18. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #18
    So far, the courts aren't buying the argument that the issuing of marriage licenses to gay couples harms anyone, and the AG isn't buying the governor's argument that the civil order is threatened. Much to my surprise, this is shaping up like a classic civil rights debate. The opponents are reduced to arguing that a civil right should not be extended to a given class of people for no other apparent reason then they don't want them to have that civil right.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-marriage21feb21,1,4969292.story
     
  19. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #19
    I think that that is what it is really all about! Civil Rights! Why should a person be discriminated against (in this case not allowed to marry) based on their sexual prefence (for those who are bixsexual) or orientation? And why should a person not be allowed to marry someone who wants to marry them based on their gender?
     
  20. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #20
    Yes, I'm afraid so. The reason I say this is, I was hoping that a solution could be found that would take the emotional gas out from under this issue, but I can see now that this is very unlikely. So instead it's being framed as a civil rights issue, with an outcome that seems inevitable to me. What unfortunately also seem inevitable is a long, painful fight, a lot of people getting hurt along the way, and frankly, a lot of more important issues being swept aside.
     
  21. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #21
    IJ, I gotta go along with you on that last bit of thought.

    Face it, homosexuality upsets folks in more religions than just Christianity. Regardless of whether or not one is strongly religious, it must be understood that for many the emotions are very strong.

    Purely personal opinion, but I think the word "marriage" itself is a large part of what's generated the furor. Were it just "Civil Union" or some such, the emotions wouldn't crop up so furiously. I freely admit to some concern about the dictionary definition of the word and the accepted historical meaning, in this proposed usage.

    There's gotta be some legal mechanism set up such that "Unions" can have the protections of health insurance, property rights including survivorship and all that. It need not be labelled "marriage".

    After all, two people of whatever gender or proclivities can live together without the approval of either church or state. Insofar as caring and sharing and loving, no outside approval is necessary.

    'Rat
     
  22. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #22
    I think this issue is of great importance! I'm happy to see it acknowledged for what it is: a civil rights issue.

    The eventual outcome will be gender neutral marriage license's. With any luck that will happen soon. But I'm prepared for a long fight if that is what it takes. Good things come to those who wait. It takes time to kill prejudices. I'm willing to stay in for the long haul.
     
  23. Krizoitz macrumors 6502a

    Krizoitz

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    #23
    An even more interesting question is why is the government involved in marriage at all? Usually when the government gives benefits for something its because that something some how benefits the country. Tax breaks for kids, non-profit organizations, are examples that come to mind. So we really have to ask ourselves, what does the government feel is beneficial about marriages?

    1) Procreation
    The government wants there to be future generations of Americans, thats pretty simple. Without new babies our country would fade away, so the first reason is simply one of propogation.
    So what is the best way to encourage procreation?

    By giving benefits to people who get married. Well what about single people? They can have babies too, you ask. True, but it isn't generally as efficient. Single parenthood is a lot bigger of a drain on society in terms of social programs, legal involvement, and of course single parenthood makes raising the kids harder, not impossible I know some great people who are single parents, but harder, and the gov't is looking for the easiest solution.

    Ok, well gay people can have kids too can't they? Artificial insemination or surrogate mothers. That is true, but it is incredibly inefficient, and we allready have determined that so far the gov'ts motivation is efficient procreation. What about adoption, you might ask. And I would reply that so far we are talking about making babies, not raising them :) Don't worry I'll get to that.

    2) Families are better for society
    Ok now obviously this isn't ALWAYS true, but in general this is what happens. Two people are happier together than they would be apart, and kids are happier with parents than without. Again there are situations where this isn't true and it may be less true now, but families tend to be good for society. People with families tend to set down roots, be involved in the community, are less likely to commit crime, etc.

    So the question is, do Gay families contribute to this better for society or not. Obviously Gay advocates say of course. Two people who love each other and are commitd to each other are beneficial, they are happier and could theoretically raise happy kids (usually adopted, see I told you id get to that). Opponents will argue that gay marriage hurts society (and even though I may be morally opposed to gay marriage, i have yet to see how this is true on a non-religious level) and that Gays raising kids could hurt them. Now this one actually has a grain of truth to it (please don't hate me until you read on). There is evidence to suggest that kids are more well adjusted in general when raised by a mother AND a father. However unless we think the govt should stop single parenthood, or that we can prove that ALL two parent families create better kids, there is no proof that Gay parents would hurt the children, so much as maybe not be as beneficial. On the other hand being raised by two loving parents could sure beat being bounced around from foster home to foster home.

    CONCLUSION
    Its plain to see that if the govt were only interested in simple reproduction, they would have no reason to support gay marriage. They could argue that the benefits of marriage aren't a right, just an incentive to reproduce in a stable way. However since it seems that they are also interested in the creation of stable familes that improve society and we can't prove that gay families hurt society, there is no reason to deny them the right to marriage on these grounds.

    It seems the only reason to deny benefits to gay couples is based on religious grounds, and the constitution is pretty clear in that respect. So while I think gay marriage is wrong from a moral and religious perspective, I think in terms of a legal perspective there is absolutely no grounds to deny it.
     
  24. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

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    #24
    Blame the Romans, they started it :) Recorded marriages were brought about as a way to help clarify property rights. That was more for the rich; ordinary folks, including early Christians, simply shacked up upon getting the parents' okay. Over time as the bureaucracy grew, the civil recordings became something everyone was expected to do.

    Church wedding ceremonies were a later invention, showing up roughly around 1000.
     
  25. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #25
    Exactly. Let the government referee contracts freely entered into between individuals and allow the churches to decide who's familial relationships they wish to bless. This seems to me like the perfect, all-American solution; both government and religion in their places. But apparently some (if not many) gays don't want what they see as secondary status, and many religious conservatives won't stand for any government sanction of homosexuality.

    So we're stuck with a civil rights battle. I have little doubt who will win in the end -- as Martin Luther King said, "the arc of history is long but it bends towards justice." But these fights are never pretty, never brief, and never painless -- and this one I think we could have avoided.
     

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