Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Google-mapping "catacombs"

An appeals court has ruled 2 to 1 that California's Prop. 8, which banned gay marriage, is unconstitutional:

Federal Appeals Court Rules Prop. 8 Ban On Same-Sex Marriage Unconstitutional
February 7, 2012 12:15 PM
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that Proposition 8, California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, is unconstitutional because it violates the 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection under the law.
But backers of the controversial, voter-approved law quickly signaled that they planned to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The court ruled 2-1 to uphold the decision of a lower court judge, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker of San Francisco, who determined in Aug. 2010 that Prop. 8 was a violation of the civil rights of gays and lesbians. The panel also rejected claims that Walker, now retired, was biased in his ruling because he is gay and in a long-term relationship with another man.
Yea. The judge who issued the original ruling was gay and living with his boyfriend. No bias there.

“Although the Constitution permits communities to enact most laws they believe to be desirable, it requires that there be at least a legitimate reason for the passage of a law that treats different classes of people differently. There was no such reason that Proposition 8 could have been enacted,” the ruling stated.
The traditional (i.e. real) definition of marriage is 'voluntary legal union between one adult man and one adult woman'.  That definition treats all groups equally. It makes no reference at all to sexual orientation.

"But", you say, "gay people should have the right to marry anyone they want, just like heterosexual people do."

"You're wrong",  I'd say. No one-- gay or straight-- has the right to marry "anyone they want". No one can marry a child, or a blood relative, or ten people, or himself/herself, or an animal, or an inanimate object, etc.

More generally:

Defining marriage is not the same thing as unconstitutionally restricting marriage.

If Prop 8 had said:

"straight people may marry any adult they choose, but gay people may not marry any adult they choose" 

... that would be a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. But defining marriage is not intrinsically a violation of equal protection. It is, in fact, a prerequisite for any meaningful legislation about marriage.

Any legal definition of marriage excludes someone. Heck, just defining marriage as "between two people" pisses off a few sheep farmers and half the State of Utah.

"But", you ask, "what about the Loving v Virginia case, which overturned anti-miscegenation laws? Isn't Prop. 8 analogous to anti-miscegenation laws, and thereby discriminatory and unconstitutional?"

"No", I'd reply. Anti-miscegenation laws were primarily about race, not about marriage. They were in fact the unconstitutional imposition of racial categories on the inherently color-blind tradition of marriage. In a sense, the imposition of gay marriage resembles anti-miscegenation laws, in that it imposes criteria on the legal definition of marriage that have nothing to do with marriage itself, which has always and everywhere meant the union of a man with a woman.

Both anti-miscegenation laws and gay marriage are the imposition of irrelevant ideologically-driven criteria-- racism and gay hegemony-- on the institution of marriage.

"Gay hegemony?", you ask?

I point out that gay marriage has already given rise to legal action against people who for reasons of conscience oppose gay marriage. Claims of privilege based on gay marriage have already compromised freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, and free exercise of religion. There are reasons for the fervent pursuit of legal recognition that only a tiny percentage of gays will actually request.

Gay marriage is less an end than a means.

Judge Stephen Reinhardt, the author of the majority opinion, went on to write: “Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples. The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort.”

The Gay Marriage Clause of the Constitution is right there next to the Abortion Clause of the Constitution and the Separation of Church and State Clause of the Constitution. Those parts of the Constitution are difficult for ordinary Americans to find, even with diligent search of the venerable document. It's analogous to the difficulty that leftist judges have in finding the 2nd and 10th Amendments, which are actually there.

The Constitution was written by men who would have responded to the assertion that "by a vote of 2 to 1 a panel of judges ruled that the Constitution and its Amendments subsume habitual buggery with sacramental marriage-- thereby nullifying the direct vote of millions of American citizens--" by reminding us that certifiably insane judges shouldn't issue rulings when drunk.
Reihardt, who was appointed to the appeals court by President Jimmy Carter, was joined in the majority opinion by Judge Michael Hawkins, an appointee of President Bill Clinton.
Judge Randy Smith, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, dissented, saying he disagreed that Prop. 8 served no purpose other than to treat gays and lesbians as second-class citizens.
So if one of the majority judges had voted the other way, then the Constitution would have meant the opposite-- that Prop. 8 was Constitutional?

This isn't rule of law. It's a scene from Alice in Wonderland.
Tuesday’s ruling did not mean, however, that gay marriages would resume in California anytime soon as the decision of the three judges appeared to pave the way for a likely Supreme Court showdown over the issue.
“No court should presume to redefine marriage. No court should undercut the democratic process by taking the power to preserve marriage out of the hands of the people,” Brian Raum, one of the lawyers hired to defend Prop. 8, said in an e-mail sent to CBS San Francisco.
“We are not surprised that this Hollywood-orchestrated attack on marriage — tried in San Francisco — turned out this way. But we are confident that the expressed will of the American people in favor of marriage will be upheld at the Supreme Court,” Raum added.
Margaret Russell, a professor of constitutional law at Santa Clara University School of Law, told CBS San Francisco that the Supreme Court did not need a conflicting circuit-court decision in order to take up the case, but rather just four justices who deem it worthy of review.
Prop. 8 passed with 52 percent of the vote in 2008 and outlawed same-sex marriages just five months after they became legal in California. Two same-sex couples then brought a lawsuit in 2009 seeking to overturn the measure.
American Foundation for Equal Rights President Chad Griffin, who formed the legal team that waged the court battle on behalf of the two couples, called the three-judge panel’s ruling “a historic victory.”
More than 150 people who gathered outside the federal courthouse at Mission and Seventh streets in downtown San Francisco also greeted ruling with cheers. They held signs and waved rainbow flags.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris hailed the decision too. In a statement sent to CBS San Francisco, she called it “a victory for fairness, a victory for equality and a victory for justice.”
The Attorney General’s Office had declined to defend Prop. 8 in court, leaving it in the hands of proponents of the measure to mount a defense, after concluding that the law could not be defended on constitutional grounds.
By a single vote, two judges disenfranchised 13,402,566 Americans based on a batshit interpretation of the 14th Amendment-- the Amendment which was actually ratified to protect Americans (e.g. recently liberated slaves) from... wait for it... disenfranchisement.

The "living Constitution" is not without little sparkles of irony. But aside from the stunning betrayal of the Constitution and of democratic principles and the betrayal of simple logic, I don't think this ruling will matter much anyway. Neither will the Supreme Court ruling, sure to come. Gay marriage is gaining rapidly in public opinion polls, and the thugs will soon no longer need Alice-in-Wonderland court rulings to get their way.

I'm a pessimist here. Americans have been so dumbed-down by public education (how many high school seniors could tell you what the Fourteenth Amendment really says) and jaded by execrable popular culture (millions of Americans would only pay attention to a court ruling if it involved fornication, Lady Gaga, and a car-chase scene) that I think we've lost the culture.

Gramsci won. I'm google-mapping "catacombs". 


  1. Michael,

    I'm wondering what your last link has to do with this thread. It's an article on the Australian government broadcaster's website, claiming that the 'left' has managed to get a stranglehold on public policy by making gay marriage a policy of the ruling federal social-democrat party.

    Not very successfully. There's a bill coming up for consideration making gay marriage legal. The conservative opposition will vote against it as a bloc. The government has given its member a conscience vote, so the bill will not pass.

    Californian voters split 52/48% yes/no to Proposition 8, so the electorates is divided., like the Federal appeal judges. You're a bit inconsistent, insisting that the public overwhelmingly supports the traditional definition of marriage, and then claiming that public opinion will eventually accept gay marriage. Well, what is it?

    I thought it was humor in poor taste suggesting that sheep farmers are upset at marriage being confined to just the traditional form. At least you didn't suggest as PZ Myers did once suggesting that Australians had too close a relationship with their sheep. I protested in the comments, noting that it was silly for an entire nation to be impugned in such a manner.

    And anyway, everyone knows that it's the New Zealanders who have the problem with bestiality.

  2. When Mike puts on his thinking cap, the results are often hilarious. Take this one, for example:

    The traditional (i.e. real) definition of marriage is 'voluntary legal union between one adult man and one adult woman'. That definition treats all groups equally. It makes no reference at all to sexual orientation.

    The quotes suggest that this is a well-established definition of marriage that Mike is citing. A quick search on the internet turns up exactly one instance of this phrase, right here, in this thread. To put it bluntly, Mike made up the quote to support his own thesis.

    So let's see how anthropologists have actually defined marriage. Here are a few actual quotes from treatises on the subject of marriage from the early and middle 20th century, courtesy of Wikipedia:

    "a more or less durable connection between male and female lasting beyond the mere act of propagation till after the birth of the offspring."

    "a relation of one or more men to one or more women that is recognized by custom or law."

    "a union between a man and a woman such that children born to the woman are the recognized legitimate offspring of both partners."

    I'll point your attention to the middle quote, which mentions polygamy. Yes, in the good old days, men could (and sometimes even should) have more than one wife. The Bible says so. That tells us that marriage wasn't restricted to a union of one man and one woman at one point. It came to that later. So, relying on traditions may have unintended consequences, Mike. Be careful there, my friend.

    As to half the Californians being disenfranchised by the appeals court, that's rubbish. They were prevented from disenfranchising a minority. Their own rights were not in any way compromised. They can still marry and their marriages is not diminished if gays are allowed to marry.

  3. "Yea. The judge who issued the original ruling was gay and living with his boyfriend. No bias there."

    No more bias than if the judge had been straight and living with his girlfriend. But that thought never occurred to you, since you don't seem to actually think when you write these so much as parrot talking points.

  4. Voting doesn't mean what you think it means. Go ahead, vote all you want. Argue politics and donate to candidates. Blog about whatever turns you on. In the end, three dudes in black robes will tell you what you can and cannot do and there's not a thing you can do about it.

  5. The claim that the equal protection clause requires California to grant SSM is pure flatulence. The Constitution must be read in the sociohistorical context in which it was written and amended, and the equal protection clause does not and cannot mean what SSM advocates claim it means.

    Oh, and cultural anthropologists are essentially worthless and have nothing intelligent to add to this controversy.

  6. The funny thing is, gay marriages are extremely rare, even in those places where they are legal. In each case where it's legalized, a number of gays get "married" in the immediate aftermath to make a point, but then it quietly dies down to a tiny trickle. The entire push for "gay marriage" has been driven almost entirely by straight liberals attempting to force their radical secularist-egalitarian ideology down everyone's throats, and not by actual gays who want to marry, because the latter group is too vanishingly small to even form a movement. "Marriage" simply doesn't fit the gay lifestyle for the most part.

    The end result of the gay marriage push will never be to make gay marriage common. The endgame will be a return to polygamy. It's not really possible to make a coherent argument for gay marriage that doesn't apply equally well to polygamy, and if gay marriage is legalized everywhere, polygamy will definitely be on the cards. Unlike gay marriage, however, there *is* a high demand among the human race for polygamy, and always has been. Men like variety, and women like high-status men, sometimes even if they have to share.

    Of course, polygamy is totally out of step with the radical egalitarian values of secular leftists. And it will be a huge boon to those religious groups that practice it, most especially in those areas of the world (like the Scandinavian countries) where secular egalitarian sheep, acting in the name of egalitarianism, have invited those religious groups in large numbers to replace them. Meanwhile, liberal secularists will continue to reproduce in the same paltry numbers they do now (their own sterility, after all, is what allows them to convince themselves that marriage has nothing to do with reproduction). The one nice thing you can say about liberal secularists is, they're constantly planting the seeds of their own undoing.

    1. Pretty dumb and misinformed comment.

      The funny thing is, gay marriages are extremely rare, even in those places where they are legal.

      In the Netherlands 2% all marriages are between same-sex couples. I wouldn't call that extremely rare, since it's not much below the percentage of people self-identifying as gay.

      Furthermore, that 2% has been quite stable after an initial boom in the first two years after legalization.

      The rates of divorce do not differ between same-sex and opposite-sex marriages, but interestingly it's about twice as high among female couples than male couples.

      The one nice thing you can say about liberal secularists is, they're constantly planting the seeds of their own undoing.

      Being liberal is not a genetic trait. It can spread horizontally as well as vertically.

    2. A perfect example of a mindless undirected process!

    3. "A perfect example of a mindless undirected process!"

      You could not have described yourself any better.

    4. I'm not sure there is an end goal other than to advance the cause of self-gratification. After watching the Occupy folks, it seems apparent that organization and purpose is something they lack. I would bet that lazy moral relativism and the desire to eliminate all rules and societal mores is the primary goal. It's more amorphous than polygamy.

  7. "The Gay Marriage Clause of the Constitution is right there next to the Abortion Clause of the Constitution and the Separation of Church and State Clause of the Constitution. Those parts of the Constitution are difficult for ordinary Americans to find, even with diligent search of the venerable document."

    You need a lawyer like Anonymous to find it. And when he tells you it's there, just believe him. Don't ask questions. It's there because he says it is. If you ask him to refer you to the Article or Amendment, he will refer you to a landmark legal case instead because he knows that he can't find it in the Constitution either.

    "It's analogous to the difficulty that leftist judges have in finding the 2nd and 10th Amendments, which are actually there."

    Well, yeah. As Anonymous so aptly demonstrated, any part of the Constitution can be interpreted to means its opposite. Congress shall make no law restricting the free exercise of religion can be construed to mean that Congress can make any law they please restricting the free exercise of religion. And if you don't accept that, you're paving the way for Muslims to kill apostates.

    But on a more serious note, I'm so glad we have these judges around. They tell us that the Constitution doesn't mean what it says, and that it DOES mean what it doesn't say. They cut and paste with wild abandon. They find emenations in the penumbras. They make crap up.

    We mere mortals aren't qualified to critique them.

    The Torch

    1. If the Constitution is that flexible, then it can be made to bend both ways. That society right now is leaning towards the libertines is fine for them. It may not always be thus. They may rue the day they decided to turn it into a living document. Living things need food and it may just end up eating them.

  8. "But on a more serious note, I'm so glad we have these judges around. They tell us that the Constitution doesn't mean what it says, and that it DOES mean what it doesn't say."

    Yes. Leftist judges like Scalia, Alito, Roberts, and so on who have declared that laws of general applicability override religious objections, an interpretation that has remained the same for pretty much the entire existence of the United States.

  9. The perfect gay marriage sounds like this:

    Patrick Fitzgerald do you take Gerald Fitzpatrick here present as your lawful wedded (to be filled in)?


    1. Husband. Was that so hard?

      You made this joke before and nobody reacted. Take a hint.

    2. Pepe,

      Well actually, 'husband' means a male partner in a marriage, so in a gay marriage there are two husbands or two wives.

      Reminds me of Tom Lehrer's joke about 'husbandry' in 'An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer'.

      "Now, I'm sure you're all aware that this week is national gall-bladder week. So as sort of an educational feature at this point I thought I would acquaint you with some of the results of my recent researches into the career of the late doctor Samuel Gall, inventor of the gall-bladder. Which certainly ranks as one of the more important technological advances since the invention of the joy-buzzer and the dribble-glass. Doctor Gall's faith in his invention was so dramatically vindicated last year, as you no doubt recall, when, for the first time in history, in a nation-wide poll the gall-bladder was voted among the top ten organs. His educational career began interestingly enough in agricultural school, where he majored in animal husbandry, until they caught him at it one day. Whereupon he switched to the field of medicine in which field he also won renown as the inventor of gargling. Which prior to that time had been practiced only furtively by a remote tribe in the Andes who passed the secret down from father to son as part of their oral tradition. He soon became a specialist, specializing in diseases of the rich. He was therefore able to retire at an early age. To the land we all dream about, sunny Mexico of course. The last part of which is completely irrelevant, as with the whole thing I guess, except, it's a rather sneaky way of getting into this next type of popular song which is one of those things about that magic, and romantic land south of the border".

    3. Pépé:

      I would use prick

      I'm sure you would. Don't forget to use a condom as well.

    4. Good to see you coming out, Pepe. That "queer" who told you was just a friend, eh?

  10. Pepe, so, do you have any actual intelligent commentary on this subject or are you just sitting there giggling to yourself about gays? And making awful 'jokes.'

    To you people who are against gay marriage: Who cares? WHY do you care? And dont just parrot "because marriage is between a man and a woman."

    How does it affect you? It doesnt.

    The point i'm getting at is its a religious issue. Admit it or not, but deep down, thats whats spurring the hatred.

  11. Mulder. It's an ontological issue. It is about what is real and what is not real. There simply is no such thing as 'gay marriage'. It is like a 'martini' made of yogurt and orange soda. It has the wrong ingredients and is not a 'martini' no matter how vehemently your bartender insists that it is.

    Mulder. A thing exists before we choose the word which describes it. If the word you choose is so broad that it includes almost everything, then the word becomes meaningless. Every interrogation procedure is not 'torture', just as every violation of the law is not a felony. Words need to have some specificity in order to adequately describe a thing. The perversions indulged in by homosexuals don't evoke hatred in me. They evoke sadness and pity. And they bore me. What affects and annoys me is your perversion of the language. Language is important, and you are not going to be allowed to go all Humpty Dumpty on us without a fight.