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Same-Sex Marriage Is a Right, Supreme Court Rules, 5-4

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"WASHINGTON — In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the Constitution guarantees a nationwide right to same-sex marriage.  Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in the 5 to 4 decision. He was joined by the court’s four more liberal justices.  The decision, the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, came against the backdrop of fast-moving changes in public opinion, with polls indicating that most Americans now approve of same-sex marriage."

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/27/us/supreme-court-same-sex-marriage.html?_r=0

 

Questions, comments, observations?

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Inevitable given the last few years, but not necessarily this soon. I can't believe just ten years ago we still weren't supposed to talk about gays out loud.

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I don't understand the desire of a human to bind their life to a same sex relationship.  But my understanding is irrelevant in this case.  The issue is liberty versus the initiation of force/fraud thru a representative government.  People who see their lives as happier in these relationships, some my friends, do not impose anything on me but a concept I cannot relate to.  I can't understand why a person would want to be a politician either.

Boydstun likes this

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The decision essentially affirms the presumption of marriage being a pursuit of happiness secured by the 14th Amendment.  I appreciate the swift and decisive nature of the ruling, even though a split decision assures further political wrestling going into the 2016 elections.  The GOP is likely to wander further into the desert on this one, but I hope the opposition cuts their losses and moves on to more pressing issues.
 
I'd characterize the SCOTUS ruling as, "No duh, marriage is an equal right, get over it."

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The SCOTUS moves with public-opinion. In this sense they're not so much a body that interprets the law objectively, but a "super-senate" that changes with public-opinion, but even more slowly than the senate.

In the last few years, a lot of people who were resisting the idea of same-sex marriage have changed their opinion. Since the SCOTUS is fairly balanced between the two major parties, it's not surprising that they voted in line with the current large majority who want to allow same-sex marriage.

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I note that several posters remark based on the nature of the politics of the high court.  But no one comments on the issue being debated.  Should local government agencies treat marriage contracts without reference to the sex of the applicants.  I say yes, even though I don't get it.   

Boydstun likes this

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From a standpoint of individualism, it seems pretty straightforward. No force is involved. It is an activity between consensual adults. Here's one older thread that discusses gay marriage. There are other threads that discuss it, but this one came back with a search for marriage using a filter on the title.

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With some scathing remarks about John Roberts, Dr. Hurd adds this excerpt from his article:

 

The morality, or lack thereof, in the concept of gay marital unions should not be an issue for the law. The law is supposed to define rights, not determine what’s morally correct or not. In upholding the right to marriage for same-sex couples, the Court is not “making up” a right as it does, for instance, when it makes up a “right” to free medical care, or free education, or free housing. These made-up, false rights actually violate rights, because some are forced to pay for the goods and services of others. A right to a private contract, as in a marriage, is not a violation of anyone’s right. It’s simply a recognition of a legal right that always existed, only it didn’t come to the forefront because most people did not wish to face the fact that same-sex relationships exist.

jacassidy2 likes this

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I note that several posters remark based on the nature of the politics of the high court.  But no one comments on the issue being debated.  Should local government agencies treat marriage contracts without reference to the sex of the applicants.  I say yes, even though I don't get it.   

 

Moving forward, agencies will treat marriage contracts with reference to the one term that wasn't redefined: spouse.

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From a poetic perspective, "I now pronounce you spouse and spouse" doesn't have quite the same charm to it.

Edited by dream_weaver
splitprimary likes this

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This ruling is ill-begotten. How something is done is as important as what is done. In my view, marriage is an issue of contract and does not rise to a federal issue. This is not really about rights but about benefits. Again, benefits accruing from marriage should not be a federal issue. This should have been handled in the States through political processes. This ruling is sure to lead to a number of problems involving actual rights being infringed. What a mess of a decision.

splitprimary likes this

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From a poetic perspective, "I now pronounce you spouse and spouse" doesn't have quite the same charm to it.

It definitely doesn't have the nostalgia (although, modern marriages don't reflect ancient tradition in the ways the religious seem to believe). Now that gay marriage will become completely normal, hopefully we won't have fringe rebels coming up with tacky symbols like the rainbow flag and coining awkward terms like "life partner" anymore. Maybe the new normal gays will coin some new poetic phrase, like, "Now through the vastness of time shall these two souls traverse."

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This ruling is ill-begotten. How something is done is as important as what is done. In my view, marriage is an issue of contract and does not rise to a federal issue. This is not really about rights but about benefits. Again, benefits accruing from marriage should not be a federal issue. This should have been handled in the States through political processes. This ruling is sure to lead to a number of problems involving actual rights being infringed. What a mess of a decision.

In net, this decision is a positive. Given how messed up the system is, how many contradictions, how many confused parties making and influencing decisions, how long it takes to reverse rulings, it doesn't get much better than a broad judgement, heavily symbolic, which will cut many future bogus battles in court which should have never taken place.

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Recollecting Peikoff's example of normal, that if you plucked one eye from every man, woman, and child - would that make one-eyed people normal? No. While two-eyed people would be rare under such an action, it would still be considered normal.

 

Under this ruling, gay marriage will be come more common-place. Miss Rand's identification of the role values and virtues play between individuals esteem for one another lays a solid foundation for what ought be considered normal.

Edited by dream_weaver

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This decision changes the relationship between the individual and the government. We can now expect courts to direct States to issue licenses based on judicial will and not through legislation. These licenses may be of any sort and not just marriage licenses. The operating principle seems to be judicial will. This is not about due process or equal protection. This is about how a people lose their liberty.

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This decision changes the relationship between the individual and the government. 

The principles underlying this decision (i.e. the way it was reasoned) would imply a changed relationship between the individual a government. Yet, the decision itself does not do so -- or only in a small way. The reason is this: for many decades, the reasoning of the court is about 90% rationalization of their vote.

 

The SCOTUS does not have a set of coherent principles that it uses to determine its decisions. Each judge has his own philosophy, and is a little bit like a senator, except that they are slightly less inclined to push for cutting-edge change to past decisions (they call it stare decisis). There are countless decisions across all sorts of courts that imply that citizens are basically slaves of the state (not literally, but in principle). According to the courts, the government can force people to do all sorts of things and can prohibit them from doing all sorts of things. The government can take someone's private property and hand it to another private person, if the government thinks they'd like that (usually because the latter will pay more taxes). 

 

This process of rationalizing their votes is not limited to Democrats. Judges like Scalia are just as bad at this. The SCOTUS has almost abandoned interpreting laws according to some mostly-agreed-upon principles. When Scalia looks at the law, he cannot find most freedoms. The supposedly conservative judges speak of respecting the decisions of democracy, with no hint of irony... surely they have no excuse to ignore the fact that their main role is to work against the tyrannies of democracy.

 

So, while I understand the argument that the principles underlying a decision matter, I disagree. They ought to matter; they really don't matter very much. The wrong principle is just a small piece of dead hair in the hair-ball of "principles" underlying the SCOTUS's decisions.

Edited by softwareNerd

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This is about how a people lose their liberty.

This sounds exaggerated. I mean, in the first place, the separation of powers between the branches makes it okay in some circumstances that the judicial branch to deem laws unconstitutional or sensible, and it doesn't make sense that a government-granted license be denied to specific subsets of people or relationships. So, of course it is judicial will if a legislative body is being stupid. How anyone -lost- liberties sounds like a GOP argument based on States "rights" that's wrong for many reasons that I don't intend to get into right now.

 

The real issue is that -no- government-granted licenses should exist anyway. Not for marriage, not for running a food truck, not for anything.

Edited by Eiuol

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This decision changes the relationship between the individual and the government. We can now expect courts to direct States to issue licenses based on judicial will and not through legislation. These licenses may be of any sort and not just marriage licenses. The operating principle seems to be judicial will. This is not about due process or equal protection. This is about how a people lose their liberty.

 

The relationship between the individual and government has always been in a state of flux, but I think this decision actually expands rights in that it comes without the kind of individual mandate that forces individuals to buy into Obamacare.  You don't have to attend or perform same-sex marriages, you simply have to acknowledge that public servants cannot discriminate between the individual recipients of public services as a matter of access to equal protection.

 

The separation of church and state was breached long ago by licensing what was primarily a religious service; and it has always been about property rights (historically, wives being the property of their husband, and often without any limitation to the number of them), making the application of security for private property a federal issue by default.

 

The final irony will be if the institution of marriage is actually strengthened in the long run by including members committed to marriage as a right worth fighting for.  Not a bad thing in my opinion.

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SN and E, I agree with most of what you write. The image of Supreme Court principles as a hair ball vomited up for our view is a good one. That the government has asserted itself superior to our rights is undeniable. That people should be entitled to enter into contracts is a good thing.

That this decision "expands rights" is undeniable. It is the way these rights were expanded that I disagree with.

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So many interesting takes on the issue.  The ones I like the best are those that recognize that this decision places a restriction on governments in the name of people who just want to live in happiness.  The process may be flawed, it may set a dangerous derived precedent, I get that, but the result is a blow . . . for individual liberty.  Gosh, it came from the left.

Edited by jacassidy2

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Recollecting Peikoff's example of normal, that if you plucked one eye from every man, woman, and child - would that make one-eyed people normal? No. While two-eyed people would be rare under such an action, it would still be considered normal.

 

Under this ruling, gay marriage will be come more common-place. Miss Rand's identification of the role values and virtues play between individuals esteem for one another lays a solid foundation for what ought be considered normal.

I can't tell if you mean that gay marriage/relationships are still un-normal, and if so in what sense.

 

I only meant that automatically ostracizing gays will soon be a thing of the past. Then, gay-specific behaviors will become familiar. At that point, gays will seem "normal," both to the population at large and to his own self. A gay won't feel the need to rebel against the ostracizing, and so he'll do what he would have liked to do to begin with. He won't need rainbow flags, he'll probably just do a white wedding like all the other "normal" people do. Gay culture will become less independent, or regular culture will become more gay, or both.

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I can't tell if you mean that gay marriage/relationships are still un-normal, and if so in what sense.

As Reidy pointed out earlier, I don't understand the desire. Normal, however, is not a function of quantity. Gay marriage/relationships are can be more firmly founding in Rand's notion of values and virtues with regard to what we esteem in others. This runs counter to the idea that heterosexual relationships are the norm because, well . . . that's the basis for a sexual relationship. If social metaphysics is basing your view of the world is from what others think the world is, then this would be basing the view of what sexual relationships ought to consist of because others think that this is what they should be.

 

The point I think Peikoff was trying to make is that when everyone has had one eye plucked out, this is not the basis for what is normal. People will still continue to be born with two eyes, which is normal. Plucking an eye out is a man-made condition. Being born with two eyes is metaphysical one.

 

Marriage is a man-made institution. Mankind, as moral beings, have to choose what to value, and on the basis of how it furthers life and its enjoyment thereof. Morality is not man-made in this sense, it is metaphysically given, although it had to be discovered. By only permitting couples that consist of a male and female to enter the institution of marriage, it creates an us/them situation. It says if you want to value another because of their virtues and enter "our" institution of marriage, the prerequisite is that you do so with a member of the opposite sex.

 

Hopefully this is more clarifying.

 

Edited: Former, latter.

Edited by dream_weaver
Devil's Advocate likes this

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In the absence of Justice Antonin Scalia (against) the presumption is that court balance is now 5-3 (in favor), so even if the Donald gets his pick, the ruling should go unchallenged for the immediate future.  I believe it would take an additional 2 (conservative opponent) justices to revisit this issue to reverse the standing decision, which I hope will allow enough time for even the opposition to concede the point.  Time will tell.

One point of optimism is that the Donald has already made a campaign promise to this constituency and chose not to pursue a recent executive order that would have diminished their rights on the advice of his daughter and son in law.

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