>-----Original Message-----
>From: Sander J. Rabinowitz [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]
>Sent: Wednesday, March 10, 2004 4:42 PM
>Subject: [ZION]
>Ron Scott wrote:
>> I understand that opponents of gay marriage are turning the
>> battle for a proposed Constitutional Amendment into a
>> on sexual practices. This is precisely why I think
>the initiative
>> will fail and probably fail convincingly.  The problem is that
>> long ago statutes prohibiting various sexual acts
>were repealed.
>I don't know for myself that opponents are taking exclusively
>that approach, although I have no doubt that a sizeable number
>might.  Similarly, I would imagine that many others have
>taken a purely religious approach, in the context of SSM being
>against the laws of God. <

I understand.  However, I think the homosexual acts are agin the
laws of God, not SS unions.  I realize I'm splitting hairs. But,
in order to be consistent I think we need to begin at the
beginning: how should government regard homosexual acts? Resolve
that one and, I think, it takes care of the other.  If the laws
remain as they are, I'm afraid that opposition to SS unions don't
have a legal leg to stand on.
>But to me it all comes back to a point I made a while back,
>and if I sound like a broken record, I apologize.  To me,
>we're not talking about merely a legal or a social
>privilege, or whether a given relationship is compatible
>with nature, although undoubtedly there will continue to be
>those discussions.  Rather, we're talking about a core value
>that was supposed to transcend individual, religious,
>and ethnic views, and gets to the root of our identity as
>a nation and a society.<

I've heard that argument and I think we all did make similar
assumptions.  The problem is we didn't articulate it quite this
way when the Constitution was written, and, in essence we haven't
done so for 200 plus years.  However, we did clearly define that
citizens are guaranteed equal protection under the law.  And, we
established a process by which such interpretive matters may be
addressed. The process is judicial review. To prevail, the case
must pass basic constitutional tests.

>  So when a locale such as San
>Francisco goes out and says, "We believe this basic
>definition of marriage ought to change, and everyone else
>ought to abide by the same," it wouldn't be much different
>if they went and said, "Well, we don't believe that life or
>liberty are fundamental values compared to prosperity or
>wealth, so we'll officially put the former on the back
>burner, regardless of what the laws or the Constriction might
>say."  In both cases, the result is the same, because we
>are dealing with something that is basic, fundamental, and
>sacred--and I stress again, not from a narrow religious
>point of view, but in terms of it being a foundation of
>our society.<

You mean our the "basic presumed definition" of marriage.  The
"presumed definition" regards qualifications to vote, own
property etc. have been expanded as the "presumed definitions"
failed to meet various constitutional tests.  Strip out the
religious controversies and the current situation here is roughly
similar, so far as I can tell.
>Stated from as secular of a point of view as I can muster:
>When a society seeks to tinker with basic foundational values
>without seeking even a minimum of consensus within that
>society, let alone any soul searching to know if what it
>is doing is right, it is playing with fire.  And as the
>saying goes, you can't play with fire and not get burned.<

I agree.  But I'm not sure an amendment is the right way to go
here. It seems to be both "parties" could get burned. I'm not
sure what purpose will be served.

>> In many states, same sex couples have been allowed to adopt
>> children and, of course, by way of artificial insemination or
>> with the aid of a willing male SSA women have been
>able to bear
>> natural children.
>But again, to me, whether SSM marriages can have children,
>or whether traditional marriages do not is besides the
>point.  In fact, the way I think of it is this:  If children
>are born to an SSM or domestic partner relationship, and an
>increasing minority or plurality ratify the move as legitimate,
>we are chipping away at a basic value.  When children are born
>outside of marriage, and it is similarly ratified as being
>legitimate, we are chipping away at a basic value. <

You're absolutely right. On the other hand we have not made much
effort to other "non-traditional" births and family
configurations, some that were arguably more "unstable" on the
face of them than SSA marriages would be.  There is something to
be said for consistency. Otherwise, we end up in a position of
singling out one group for especially harsh treatment.

> When
>children are born to a plural marriage that has been prohibited
>by the laws of the land, we are arguable chipping away at a
>different value, that being the rule of law.  When the same
>relationships exist absent any children, we have a similar
>result.  When we seek to terminate the lives of unborn
>children _without cause_ save it were the convenience of the
>biological participants (I dare not use the term mother and
>father in that instance), we chip away at yet another core
>value.  And when we seek to relegate religion and its
>associated institutions to the fringes of society, holding
>the same to be irrelevant at best, and perhaps even a
>hindrance, I would submit we are chipping away at a value
>as fundamental as that of life...in other words, our liberty.  <

 I'm not going to comment on the above statement, simply because
I don't want to mix the two issues. I'm not copping out, however.
Abortion is a very tough issue for me...but it deserved a
separate discussion.


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