Nothing is Inevitable.

“I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.”

–William Ernest Henley

One of the most common things I’ve heard in the marriage debates here and elsewhere is the thought that gay marriage is the future, it is inevitable, it is unavoidable and those who disagree are going to find themselves “on the wrong side of history”.

As we look back on the massive wins of Proposition 8 in California, Question 1 in Maine, and the ripple effect those wins had in New York and now in New Jersey, it’s quite obvious that “inevitability” is what we make of it.

I read today on Maggie Gallagher’s site:

Maggie’s Top Eight Reasons Why Gay Marriage Is Not Inevitable

1. Nothing is inevitable.

2. Young people are not as unanimous as most people think.

In California, the young-adults vote split 55 percent to 45 percent. Is it so hard to imagine 5 percent of those young people changing their minds as they move through the life cycle?

3. The argument from despair is bait and switch.

They are trying push the idea that gay marriage is inevitable, because they are losing the argument that gay marriage is a good idea.

4.  Progressives are often wrong about the future.

Progressives told me abortion would be a dead issue by today, because young people in 1975 were so pro-choice. They told me there would be no more homemakers at all by the year 2000, because of the attitudes and values of young women in 1975. Some even told me the Soviet Union was the wave of the future. …

5.  Demography could be destiny.

Traditionalists have more children. …Religous groups are increasingly focused on the problem of how to transmit a marriage culture to the next generation (see the USCCB’s recent initiatives).

6. Change is inevitable.

Generational arguments tend to work only for one generation: Right now, it’s “cool” to be pro-gay marriage. In ten years, it will be what the old folks think. Even gay people may decide, as they get used to living in a tolerant and free America, they don’t want to waste all that time and energy on a symbolic social issue, anyway. …Inevitability is a manufactured narrative, not a fundamental truth.

7. Newsflash: 18-year-olds can be wrong.

Should we really say “Hmm, whatever the 18-year-olds think, that must be inevitable,” and go do that? I mean, would we reason like that on any other issue?

8. New York’s highest court was right.

From Hernandez v. Robles:
“The dissenters assert confidently that ‘future generations’ will agree with their view of this case (dissenting op at 396). We do not predict what people will think generations from now, but we believe the present generation should have a chance to decide the issue through its elected representatives. …”

The first and the last on the list are my favorite.  As Benjamin Franklin said, “He that waits upon fortune is never sure of a dinner.”  Nothing is inevitable.  Everyone gets the chance, and the responsibility to choose.

—Beetle Blogger

What is Marriage? Rift in Gay Marriage Effort Widens

See this from ProtectMarriage.com
Dear Friends,

I have previously shared reports of a rift within the same-sex marriage movement about whether to press ahead to attempt to invalidate Prop 8 by initiative in 2010, or to push off the effort to 2012 or later. This week, the chasm between the two camps reached a noteworthy summit: one of California’s largest LGBT grassroots groups (they claim 700,000 supporters), the Courage Campaign, announced the withdrawal of its support for a 2010 fight.

After the Courage Campaign spent a reported $200,000 on voter research, its founder, Rick Jacobs, told the San Francisco Chronicle, “We do not see a path to victory.”

This is significant news because last May the Courage Campaign was one of the first same-sex marriage advocacy groups to sponsor the 2010 initiative effort. It seems that the decisive victories for traditional marriage in California and Maine, the election of pro-marriage governors in New Jersey and Virginia and a pro-marriage Democrat Congressional candidate in New York have homosexual marriage advocates heading back to the drawing board.
In a press release issued this week, Courage Campaign’s Jacobs said:

“We are taking the lessons learned from last year’s Prop. 8 campaign, the campaigns in Maine and other states to understand the fundamental work that must be done before moving forward in California. We also must come together as a community to create a broad coalition and governance structure, put in place a strong manager and secure the resources to win. Right now, the pieces are not all in place to do so confidently.”

That leaves a coalition of small gay rights groups, with Love Honor Cherish as its leading proponent, behind the effort to repeal Prop 8 in 2010. California’s largest LGBT organization, Equality California, will continue to focus efforts on the re-launch of Let California Ring, its multi-year, multimillion dollar educational campaign which also aims to abolish Prop 8, but not until 2012.

While our opponent’s path to an electoral victory has been significantly – if not fatally – damaged by this week’s news, we continue our strategic work on the legal front. The federal lawsuit challenging the validity of Prop 8 is scheduled to go to trial in early January. And yesterday in Pasadena, a 3-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal heard our objections to recent orders to disclose internal campaign documents to opposing counsel.

We are literally working day and night to protect traditional marriage, and we appreciate your support to help us continue this critical fight.

Thank you for standing with us to protect the institution of marriage for this and future generations.

Sincerely,

Ron Prentice
Executive Director

You can donate to the Prop 8 defense fund at:
https://www.completecampaigns.com/FR/contribute.asp?campaignid=Prop8Legal

Jane Galt–A Libertarian View

libertarian

A Libertarian View

If this were an essay on economics, it would be the best essay on economics I’ve read in a year or more.
If this were an essay on social structures, it would be the best essay on social structures I’ve read on a year or more.
If this were an essay on conservative versus reformer mindsets, it would be the best essay on *that* that I’ve read in a year or more.
In fact, it was all three of those things, and I’m frankly stunned at how excellently you’ve made so many points in such a short space.
Bravo.

silhouette3.JPG From the desk of Jane Galt:

A really, really, really long post about gay marriage that does not, in the end, support one side or the other

Unlike most libertarians, I don’t have an opinion on gay marriage, and I’m not going to have an opinion no matter how much you bait me. However, I had an interesting discussion last night with another libertarian about it, which devolved into an argument about a certain kind of liberal/libertarian argument about gay marriage that I find really unconvincing.

Social conservatives of a more moderate stripe are essentially saying that marriage is an ancient institution, which has been carefully selected for throughout human history. It is a bedrock of our society; if it is destroyed, we will all be much worse off. (See what happened to the inner cities between 1960 and 1990 if you do not believe this.) For some reason, marriage always and everywhere, in every culture we know about, is between a man and a woman; this seems to be an important feature of the institution. We should not go mucking around and changing this extremely important institution, because if we make a bad change, the institution will fall apart.

A very common response to this is essentially to mock this as ridiculous. “Why on earth would it make any difference to me whether gay people are getting married? Why would that change my behavior as a heterosexual”

To which social conservatives reply that institutions have a number of complex ways in which they fulfill their roles, and one of the very important ways in which the institution of marriage perpetuates itself is by creating a romantic vision of oneself in marriage that is intrinsically tied into expressing one’s masculinity or femininity in relation to a person of the opposite sex; stepping into an explicitly gendered role. This may not be true of every single marriage, and indeed undoubtedly it is untrue in some cases. But it is true of the culture-wide institution. By changing the explicitly gendered nature of marriage we might be accidentally cutting away something that turns out to be a crucial underpinning.

To which, again, the other side replies “That’s ridiculous! I would never change my willingness to get married based on whether or not gay people were getting married!”

Now, economists hear this sort of argument all the time. “That’s ridiculous! I would never start working fewer hours because my taxes went up!” This ignores the fact that you may not be the marginal case. The marginal case may be some consultant who just can’t justify sacrificing valuable leisure for a new project when he’s only making 60 cents on the dollar. The result will nonetheless be the same: less economic activity. Similarly, you–highly educated, firmly socialized, upper middle class you–may not be the marginal marriage candidate; it may be some high school dropout in Tuscaloosa. That doesn’t mean that the institution of marriage won’t be weakened in America just the same.

This should not be taken as an endorsement of the idea that gay marriage will weaken the current institution. I can tell a plausible story where it does; I can tell a plausible story where it doesn’t. I have no idea which one is true. That is why I have no opinion on gay marriage, and am not planning to develop one. Marriage is a big institution; too big for me to feel I have a successful handle on it.

However, I am bothered by this specific argument, which I have heard over and over from the people I know who favor gay marriage laws. I mean, literally over and over; when they get into arguments, they just repeat it, again and again. “I will get married even if marriage is expanded to include gay people; I cannot imagine anyone up and deciding not to get married because gay people are getting married; therefore, the whole idea is ridiculous and bigoted.”

They may well be right. Nonetheless, libertarians should know better. The limits of your imagination are not the limits of reality. Every government programme that libertarians have argued against has been defended at its inception with exactly this argument.

Let me take three major legal innovations, one of them general, two specific to marriage.

The first, the general one, is well known to most hard-core libertarians, but let me reprise it anyway. When the income tax was initially being debated, there was a suggestion to put in a mandatory cap; I believe the level was 10 percent.

Don’t be ridiculous, the Senator’s colleagues told him. Americans would never allow an income tax rate as high as ten percent. They would revolt! It is an outrage to even suggest it!

Many actually fought the cap on the grounds that it would encourage taxes to grow too high, towards the cap. The American people, they asserted, could be well counted on to keep income taxes in the range of a few percentage points.

Oops.

Now, I’m not a tax-crazy libertarian; I don’t expect you to be horrified that we have income taxes higher than ten percent, as I’m not. But the point is that the Senators were completely right–at that time. However, the existence of the income tax allowed for a slow creep that eroded the American resistance to income taxation. External changes–from the Great Depression, to the technical ability to manage withholding rather than lump payments, also facilitated the rise, but they could not have without a cultural sea change in feelings about taxation. That “ridiculous” cap would have done a much, much better job holding down tax rates than the culture these Senators erroneously relied upon. Changing the law can, and does, change the culture of the thing regulated.

Another example is welfare. To sketch a brief history of welfare, it emerged in the nineteenth century as “Widows and orphans pensions”, which were paid by the state to destitute families whose breadwinner had passed away. They were often not available to blacks; they were never available to unwed mothers. Though public services expanded in the first half of the twentieth century, that mentality was very much the same: public services were about supporting unfortunate families, not unwed mothers. Unwed mothers could not, in most cases, obtain welfare; they were not allowed in public housing (which was supposed to be–and was–a way station for young, struggling families on the way to home ownership, not a permanent abode); they were otherwise discriminated against by social services. The help you could expect from society was a home for wayward girls, in which you would give birth and then put the baby up for adoption.

The description of public housing in the fifties is shocking to anyone who’s spent any time in modern public housing. Big item on the agenda at the tenant’s meeting: housewives, don’t shake your dustcloths out of the windows–other wives don’t want your dirt in their apartment! Men, if you wear heavy work boots, please don’t walk on the lawns until you can change into lighter shoes, as it damages the grass! (Descriptions taken from the invaluable book, The Inheritance, about the transition of the white working class from Democrat to Republican.) Needless to say, if those same housing projects could today find a majority of tenants who reliably dusted, or worked, they would be thrilled.

Public housing was, in short, a place full of functioning families.

Now, in the late fifties, a debate began over whether to extend benefits to the unmarried. It was unfair to stigmatise unwed mothers. Why shouldn’t they be able to avail themselves of the benefits available to other citizens? The brutal societal prejudice against illegitimacy was old fashioned, bigoted, irrational.

But if you give unmarried mothers money, said the critics, you will get more unmarried mothers.

Ridiculous, said the proponents of the change. Being an unmarried mother is a brutal, thankless task. What kind of idiot would have a baby out of wedlock just because the state was willing to give her paltry welfare benefits?

People do all sorts of idiotic things, said the critics. If you pay for something, you usually get more of it.

C’mon said the activists. That’s just silly. I just can’t imagine anyone deciding to get pregnant out of wedlock simply because there are welfare benefits available.

Oooops.

Of course, change didn’t happen overnight. But the marginal cases did have children out of wedlock, which made it more acceptable for the next marginal case to do so. Meanwhile, women who wanted to get married essentially found themselves in competition for young men with women who were willing to have sex, and bear children, without forcing the men to take any responsibility. This is a pretty attractive proposition for most young men. So despite the fact that the sixties brought us the biggest advance in birth control ever, illegitimacy exploded. In the early 1960s, a black illegitimacy rate of roughly 25 percent caused Daniel Patrick Moynihan to write a tract warning of a crisis in “the negro family” (a tract for which he was eviscerated by many of those selfsame activists.)

By 1990, that rate was over 70 percent. This, despite the fact that the inner city, where the illegitimacy problem was biggest, only accounts for a fraction of the black population.

But in that inner city, marriage had been destroyed. It had literally ceased to exist in any meaningful way. Possibly one of the most moving moments in Jason de Parle’s absolutely wonderful book, American Dream, which follows three welfare mothers through welfare reform, is when he reveals that none of these three women, all in their late thirties, had ever been to a wedding.

Marriage matters. It is better for the kids; it is better for the adults raising those kids; and it is better for the childless people in the communities where those kids and adults live. Marriage reduces poverty, improves kids outcomes in all measurable ways, makes men live longer and both spouses happier. Marriage, it turns out, is an incredibly important institution. It also turns out to be a lot more fragile than we thought back then. It looked, to those extremely smart and well-meaning welfare reformers, practically unshakable; the idea that it could be undone by something as simple as enabling women to have children without husbands, seemed ludicrous. Its cultural underpinnings were far too firm. Why would a woman choose such a hard road? It seemed self-evident that the only unwed mothers claiming benefits would be the ones pushed there by terrible circumstance.

This argument is compelling and logical. I would never become an unwed welfare mother, even if benefits were a great deal higher than they are now. It seems crazy to even suggest that one would bear a child out of wedlock for $567 a month. Indeed, to this day, I find the reformist side much more persuasive than the conservative side, except for one thing, which is that the conservatives turned out to be right. In fact, they turned out to be even more right than they suspected; they were predicting upticks in illegitimacy that were much more modest than what actually occurred–they expected marriage rates to suffer, not collapse.

How did people go so badly wrong? Well, to start with, they fell into the basic fallacy that economists are so well acquainted with: they thought about themselves instead of the marginal case. For another, they completely failed to realize that each additional illegitimate birth would, in effect, slightly destigmatise the next one. They assigned men very little agency, failing to predict that women willing to forgo marriage would essentially become unwelcome competition for women who weren’t, and that as the numbers changed, that competition might push the marriage market towards unwelcome outcomes. They failed to foresee the confounding effect that the birth control pill would have on sexual mores.

But I think the core problems are two. The first is that they looked only at individuals, and took institutions as a given. That is, they looked at all the cultural pressure to marry, and assumed that that would be a countervailing force powerful enough to overcome the new financial incentives for out-of-wedlock births. They failed to see the institution as dynamic. It wasn’t a simple matter of two forces: cultural pressure to marry, financial freedom not to, arrayed against each other; those forces had a complex interplay, and when you changed one, you changed the other.

The second is that they didn’t assign any cultural reason for, or value to, the stigma on illegitimacy. They saw it as an outmoded vestige of a repressive Victorial values system, based on an unnatural fear of sexuality. But the stigma attached to unwed motherhood has quite logical, and important, foundations: having a child without a husband is bad for children, and bad for mothers, and thus bad for the rest of us. So our culture made it very costly for the mother to do. Lower the cost, and you raise the incidence. As an economist would say, incentives matter.

(Now, I am not arguing in favor of stigmatizing unwed mothers the way the Victorians did. I’m just pointing out that the stigma did not exist merely, as many mid-century reformers seem to have believed, because of some dark Freudian excesses on the part of our ancestors.)

But all the reformers saw was the terrible pain–and it was terrible–inflicted on unwed mothers. They saw the terrible unfairness–and it was terribly unfair–of punishing the mother, and not the father. They saw the inherent injustice–and need I add, it was indeed unjust–of treating American citizens differently because of their marital status.

But as G.K. Chesterton points out, people who don’t see the use of a social institution are the last people who should be allowed to reform it:

In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”This paradox rests on the most elementary common sense. The gate or fence did not grow there. It was not set up by somnambulists who built it in their sleep. It is highly improbable that it was put there by escaped lunatics who were for some reason loose in the street. Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody. And until we know what the reason was, we really cannot judge whether the reason was reasonable. It is extremely probable that we have overlooked some whole aspect of the question, if something set up by human beings like ourselves seems to be entirely meaningless and mysterious. There are reformers who get over this difficulty by assuming that all their fathers were fools; but if that be so, we can only say that folly appears to be a hereditary disease. But the truth is that nobody has any business to destroy a social institution until he has really seen it as an historical institution. If he knows how it arose, and what purposes it was supposed to serve, he may really be able to say that they were bad purposes, that they have since become bad purposes, or that they are purposes which are no longer served. But if he simply stares at the thing as a senseless monstrosity that has somehow sprung up in his path, it is he and not the traditionalist who is suffering from an illusion.

Now, of course, this can turn into a sort of precautionary principle that prevents reform from ever happening. That would be bad; all sorts of things need changing all the time, because society and our environment change. But as a matter of principle, it is probably a bad idea to let someone go mucking around with social arrangements, such as the way we treat unwed parenthood, if their idea about that institution is that “it just growed”. You don’t have to be a rock-ribbed conservative to recognize that there is something of an evolutionary process in society: institutional features are not necessarily the best possible arrangement, but they have been selected for a certain amount of fitness.

It might also be, of course, that the feature is what evolutionary biologists call a spandrel. It’s a term taken from architecture; spandrels are the pretty little spaces between vaulted arches. They are not designed for; they are a useless, but pretty, side effect of the physical properties of arches. In evolutionary biology, spandrel is some feature which is not selected for, but appears as a byproduct of other traits that are selected for. Belly buttons are a neat place to put piercings, but they’re not there because of that; they’re a byproduct of mammalian reproduction.

However, and architect will be happy to tell you that if you try to rip out the spandrel, you might easily bring down the building.

The third example I’ll give is of changes to the marriage laws, specifically the radical relaxation of divorce statutes during the twentieth century.

Divorce, in the nineteenth century, was unbelievably hard to get. It took years, was expensive, and required proving that your spouse had abandoned you for an extended period with no financial support; was (if male) not merely discreetly dallying but flagrantly carrying on; or was not just belting you one now and again when you got mouthy, but routinely pummeling you within an inch of your life. After you got divorced, you were a pariah in all but the largest cities. If you were a desperately wronged woman you might change your name, taking your maiden name as your first name and continuing to use your husband’s last name to indicate that you expected to continue living as if you were married (i.e. chastely) and expect to have some limited intercourse with your neighbors, though of course you would not be invited to events held in a church, or evening affairs. Financially secure women generally (I am not making this up) moved to Europe; Edith Wharton, who moved to Paris when she got divorced, wrote moving stories about the way divorced women were shunned at home. Men, meanwhile (who were usually the respondents) could expect to see more than half their assets and income settled on their spouse and children.

There were, critics observed, a number of unhappy marriages in which people stuck together. Young people, who shouldn’t have gotten married; older people, whose spouses were not physically abusive nor absent, nor flagrantly adulterous, but whose spouse was, for reasons of financial irresponsibility, mental viciousness, or some other major flaw, destroying their life. Why not make divorce easier to get? Rather than requiring people to show that there was an unforgivable, physically visible, cause that the marriage should be dissolved, why not let people who wanted to get divorced agree to do so?

Because if you make divorce easier, said the critics, you will get much more of it, and divorce is bad for society.

That’s ridiculous! said the reformers. (Can we sing it all together now?) People stay married because marriage is a bedrock institution of our society, not because of some law! The only people who get divorced will be people who have terrible problems! A few percentage points at most!

Oops. When the law changed, the institution changed. The marginal divorce made the next one easier. Again, the magnitude of the change swamped the dire predictions of the anti-reformist wing; no one could have imagined, in their wildest dreams, a day when half of all marriages ended in divorce.

There were actually two big changes; the first, when divorce laws were amended in most states to make it easier to get a divorce; and the second, when “no fault” divorce allowed one spouse to unilaterally end the marriage. The second change produced another huge surge in the divorce rate, and a nice decline in the incomes of divorced women; it seems advocates had failed to anticipate that removing the leverage of the financially weaker party to hold out for a good settlement would result in men keeping more of their earnings to themselves.

What’s more, easy divorce didn’t only change the divorce rate; it made drastic changes to the institution of marriage itself. David Brooks makes an argument I find convincing: that the proliferation of the kind of extravagant weddings that used to only be the province of high society (rented venue, extravagant flowers and food, hundreds of guests, a band with dancing, dresses that cost the same as a good used car) is because the event itself doesn’t mean nearly as much as it used to, so we have to turn it into a three-ring circus to feel like we’re really doing something.

A couple in 1940 (and even more so in 1910) could go to a minister’s parlor, or a justice of the peace, and in five minutes totally change their lives. Unless you are a member of certain highly religious subcultures, this is simply no longer true. That is, of course, partly because of the sexual revolution and the emancipation of women; but it is also because you aren’t really making a lifetime commitment; you’re making a lifetime commitment unless you find something better to do. There is no way, psychologically, to make the latter as big an event as the former, and when you lost that commitment, you lose, on the margin, some willingness to make the marriage work. Again, this doesn’t mean I think divorce law should be toughened up; only that changes in law that affect marriage affect the cultural institution, not just the legal practice.

Three laws. Three well-meaning reformers who were genuinely, sincerely incapable of imagining that their changes would wreak such institutional havoc. Three sets of utterly logical and convincing, and wrong arguments about how people would behave after a major change.

So what does this mean? That we shouldn’t enact gay marriage because of some sort of social Precautionary Principle

No. I have no such grand advice.

My only request is that people try to be a leeetle more humble about their ability to imagine the subtle results of big policy changes. The argument that gay marriage will not change the institution of marriage because you can’t imagine it changing your personal reaction is pretty arrogant. It imagines, first of all, that your behavior is a guide for the behavior of everyone else in society, when in fact, as you may have noticed, all sorts of different people react to all sorts of different things in all sorts of different ways, which is why we have to have elections and stuff. And second, the unwavering belief that the only reason that marriage, always and everywhere, is a male-female institution (I exclude rare ritual behaviors), is just some sort of bizarre historical coincidence, and that you know better, needs examining. If you think you know why marriage is male-female, and why that’s either outdated because of all the ways in which reproduction has lately changed, or was a bad reason to start with, then you are in a good place to advocate reform. If you think that marriage is just that way because our ancestors were all a bunch of repressed bastards with dark Freudian complexes that made them homophobic bigots, I’m a little leery of letting you muck around with it.

Is this post going to convince anyone? I doubt it; everyone but me seems to already know all the answers, so why listen to such a hedging, doubting bore? I myself am trying to draw a very fine line between being humble about making big changes to big social institutions, and telling people (which I am not trying to do) that they can’t make those changes because other people have been wrong in the past. In the end, our judgment is all we have; everyone will have to rely on their judgment of whether gay marriage is, on net, a good or a bad idea. All I’m asking for is for people to think more deeply than a quick consultation of their imaginations to make that decision. I realize that this probably falls on the side of supporting the anti-gay-marriage forces, and I’m sorry, but I can’t help that. This humility is what I want from liberals when approaching market changes; now I’m asking it from my side too, in approaching social ones. I think the approach is consistent, if not exactly popular.

A quick extra note on gay marriage

There are a lot of libertarians who dismiss arguments about gay marriage with the declaration that the state shouldn’t be in the business of sanctifying marriage anyway. I don’t find that a particularly satisfying argument. It’s quite possibly true that in some ideal libertarian state, the government would not be in the business of defining marriages, or would merely enforce whatever creative contracts people chose to draw up. That’s a lovely discussion for a libertarian forum. However, we are confronting a major legal change that is actually happening in the country we live in, where marriage is, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, an institution in which the government is intimately involved. While I’m happy to debate about whether or not the state should define the form of marriage in my libertarian utopia, I don’t think that this is necessarily a good guide to the kinds of laws I want to see enacted in America, which in so many, many ways does not look like my utopia.

For example, in my libertarian utopia, there would be no social security. People would save for their own retirements; social insurance would be for people who had something actually unpredictable and unexpected happen to them.If there is anything more predictable than aging, I don’t want to run into it.

Does that mean that I would advocate, say, getting rid of Social Security today? Shut down the administration, turn off the check-writing machines, and tell our senior citizens to get a goddamn job?

Don’t be ridiculous. People planned their lives around this government assurance; you can’t just rip it away and let millions of people starve. You can’t just import one aspect of my libertarian utopia–no social security–without the crucial things that underpin it, like a population that knows it’s expected to save for its own retirement. Similarly, you can’t just import one feature of anarcho-capitalist life–anyone can marry anyone they want–as if all the vast social changes that an anarcho-capitalist or minarchist system would represent, are already there.

Update: A number of libertarians are, as I predicted, making the “Why don’t we just privatize marriage?” argument. I don’t find that useful in the context of the debate about gay marriage in America, where marriage is simply not going to be privatized in any foreseeable near-term future.

Also, a lot of readers are saying that I’m wrong about marriage always being between a man and a woman, citing polygamy. I have been told this is a “basic factual error.”

No, it’s not. Polygamous societies do not (at least in any society I have ever heard about) have group marriages. Men with more than one wife have multiple marriages with multiple women, not a single marriage with several wives. In fact, they generally take pains to separate the women, preferably in different houses. Whether or not you allow men to contract for more than one marriage (and for all sorts of reasons, this seems to me to be a bad idea unless you’re in an era of permanent war), each marriage remains the union of a man and a woman.

Original article found here: http://www.janegalt.net/blog/archives/005244.html

Maine, the New Bellwether State as Gay Activists Again Take Aim

maine

Transplants from California Hoping to Tip Election

After losing the marriage fight in California, it looks like EQCA is looking for a new view.

EQCA, one of California’s largest gay activist groups held a press conference announcing they will be diverting resources to Maine to help prop up Maine’s new anti-marriage bill.  The bill was rushed through the legislature without a proper public vetting and since it’s passage, the opposition has been gathering quickly.  Signatures for a “People’s Veto” were collected at breakneck speed, nearly twice as many as required, and gay activists are worried.

Equality California said that their reverse California gold rush will include sending “field operatives” to Maine.

“A victory in Maine,” said a spokesperson for Equality California, “is just as important as California and would be a sign that the gay marriage tide is turning.”

That’s what they said about California.  Californians spoke loudly and the court upheld their voice.  Though there have been a handful of state legislatures who flipped on marriage last spring, their brazen defiance of the people’s will won’t be forgotten.  State by state as the people get their chance, their voices will be heard.

The tide HAS turned.  Go Maine!

—Beetle Blogger

If you would like to volunteer to restore the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman in Maine, contact Stand for Marriage Maine at info@protectmarriage.com.

Prop 8 Team to Help Maine with People’s Veto

maine people's veto

Working for State Marriage Amendment

From Marriage News:

“After becoming the fifth state to legalize gay marriage on May 6, the State of Maine has seen its citizens rally to stop the law from going into effect. It appears that the new statewide strategy to oppose the redefined marriage law will follow California’s Proposition 8, which successfully amended California’s constitution to define marriage as being between one man and one woman.

[…]

The people of Maine have taken many cues from California’s 2008 strategy for protecting traditional marriage, even hiring Schubert Flint Public Affairs, the powerhouse public relations firm that managed the Proposition 8 campaign and helped win 52 percent of the vote in last November’s California election. The PR firm says it will play a consulting role to Maine’s citizens who seek to preserve historic marriage and family. Polling data suggest that the majority of citizens in Maine oppose same-sex marriage.”

Read more here

 

New York: Espada and Monserrate Flip to give Republicans Senate Leadership Again

Prayers for New York Working Already! Marriage Rally Tomorrow.

We don’t have too many details, but NY Senators Pedro Espada Jr. and Hiram Monserrate switched to the Republican party this afternoon. This switches the Senate control to the Republicans. The Democrats tried turning off the power to stop the vote. They’ll probably try to challenge it on Monday, but most likely everything followed protocol.

The good news: the marriage neutering bill is most likely dead for this year.

Keep up the phone calls to your representatives.

Keep up the prayers (hearts still need changing).

and find out about the NYCF marriage rally here.

<>the pomegranate apple

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see also

New York is the new California: Fast and Pray

worshiping_hands

God Can Do Mighty Things If We Ask

A while back, a friend from New York (who wants to remain anonymous) asked for help organizing an event. She is Christian, and wanted an event that would join Christians all across New York in prayer to change hearts. I think her approach is important.

At some point, hearts need to be changed so that truth is more easily seen.

There were many prayer events in California during the prop 8 campaign, and we saw real-life miracles. Lots of miracles, actually, leading up to the passage of prop 8 and then the CA supreme court decision.

A neutered marriage bill has already passed the NY assembly, and only five members in the senate block its passage there. [read bb’s post here] Prayer can help strengthen those who have already said they will not neuter marriage, and may change the hearts of others.

So! My friend finished the facebook event. She is asking Christians (though I would say anyone who believes in a higher and creative power) to pray and fast for marriage.

New York can use all the prayers possible, so please participate (and invite your facebook friends). The outcome in New York will likely effect many other decisions state and federal. Including the DOMA. 

Join Here: Fast and Pray New York

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<>pomegranate apple

photo: creative commons licensed, feel free to re-post, but do not modify.

The Real Pot

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This photograph was in my email this morning.  It’s titled “The real pot at the end of the rainbow?”

It just got me to thinking about Governor Lynch and his promises.

—Beetle Blogger

NOM Condemns the Passage of Same-Sex Marriage in New Hampshire -
Group Pledges to Make Gay Marriage Key Issue in 2010 State Election

(Concord, NH) – The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today condemned the New Hampshire Legislature and Governor John Lynch for breaking their promises to voters by passing same-sex marriage legislation in the state. NOM pledged to make gay marriage a key issue in the 2010 elections in New Hampshire.

“Governor Lynch and a narrow majority of the Legislature today have ripped a significant hole in the fabric of New Hampshire society by passing same-sex marriage legislation,” said Brian Brown, executive director of NOM. “The institution of marriage has served our country well since its founding. The vote of the legislature sends New Hampshire into dangerous waters. It will not be long before young children are taught in New Hampshire schools that they can marry someone of the same sex if they wish – that gay marriage is just as good as marriage.”

New Hampshire does not allow voters to decide controversial issues via a referendum or initiative, so the action of the legislature and governor cannot be overturned directly by voters.

“Thirty states in the country have voted on the marriage issue, and all thirty have decided that marriage should be between a man and a woman,” Brown said. “It is unfortunate that New Hampshire voters are being denied the right to decide this question themselves. We have no doubt that if voters could decide, they would vote to overturn gay marriage and restore the historic definition of marriage.”

While no binding statewide referendum is possible in New Hampshire, voters can cast ballots on nonbinding local referenda. “We intend to put this issue on the ballot on municipal elections across the state of New Hampshire,” Brown promised. “We want people to be able to express their views directly, even if it is nonbinding. We also intend to make the gay marriage issue the key issue of the 2010 state elections in New Hampshire. Legislators must be held accountable for their votes. And if Governor Lynch decides to seek another term, you can be certain that he will have to answer to voters over why he broke his word on this issue, despite repeated promises over the years that he did not support gay marriage.”

“Overall, this is a sad day for families and a sorry performance by the elected leadership of New Hampshire,” Brown said.

More Legislative Corruption: New Hampshire Removes Senator From HB73 Committee for refusing to Support Gay Marriage Bill

traditional marriage

Replaced with a Senator who Voted by Phone

Today, the committee of conference on the gay marriage amendment, HB73, met to "negotiate".

Senator Roberge offered 2 reasonable amendments:

  • allowing for "freedom of religious conscience" for private individuals and businesses
  • allowing a non-binding referendum on this issue for the citizens to vote on.

No one on the committee would even second the Senator’s motions!

Instead, the conference committee offered MINOR changes to the amendment that failed in the House and voted 6-1 to accept the changes (Senator Roberge was the one dissenting vote).

Because a committee of conference vote needs to be UNANIMOUS in order for it to be brought before the House and Senate again, the Senate President Slyvia Larson then REMOVED Senator Roberge from the committee and REPLACED her with Senator Houde, who "dialed in" his vote FOR the report.

Senator Houde was not even present!

No matter where you live, call Senator Larson at 603- 225-6130 and respectfully tell her that NH citizens do not want gay marriage being rammed through by a circumvention of the process. Enough is enough!

Now HB73 goes back to the full house and senate for a vote stay tuned.

from cpraction.org

<>posted by the pomegranate apple

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Video| New Hampshire: HB 436 Marriage Bill

More State Reps Present for Marriage Redefinition vote than Both Budget Votes!

From CPR Action:

Though we were very pleased with the outcome of the vote in the House this week to block Governor Lynch’s gay marriage amendment, the numbers tell the real story – where are their priorities?  Not only has the legislature spent more time and debate on the gay marriage issue, but as it turns out, there were more legislators present to vote on gay marriage than there were on the two budget bills!! Apparently the legislature sticking families with massive tax hikes, like the capital gains, estate, and gas taxes, just aren’t as important to them as gay marriage is!
Vote on the Lynch Gay Marriage Amendment:
188-186
(YEAS, NAYS) A NAY vote was against the Lynch Amendment

 

Today, CPR-Action Executive Director, Kevin Smith, commented on the statement from Governor Lynch’s Office that if the legislature passes legislation that maintains his "principles", he will sign the bill.

"Once again, we see the Governor going back on his word.  After declaring for years that he opposed gay marriage, the Governor then stated he had to ‘do what was best’ for the state only after the House and Senate passed gay marriage, breaking his word to the citizens of New Hampshire.  Now, after stating he would only sign the bill if the legislature passed ‘this language’, he is again hedging his word by stating it (only) needs to maintain its ‘principles’." 

Smith continued, "It is incredibly ironic at this point that the Governor would even be speaking of ‘principles’ when he can’t even abide by the simple principle of keeping ones word."

Confused about What is Going on in New Hampshire?

From Citizen Leadership of New Hampshire

Its been brought to my attention that Fox news has reported HB 436 as being defeated by the House …..  that is FALSE!  Only an amendment to the bill was defeated.

The bill is going to  Conference Committee where House Speaker Norelli gets to pick her favorites to participate in redesigning the bill and who knows what the bill is going to look like when they are done. 
The bill will have to go back to the Full House after the Conference Committee for another vote; then on to Gov Lynch.  We will still have another round to go at the State House.

Its important the citizens continue to call, email and write letters in defense of traditional marriage.

Gov Lynch needs to be held accountable to his public statement that if the amendments were not added he would veto the bill.
NH citizens have done a fantastic job motivating the Republican Representatives and Senators to get to the State House and VOTE!  There time and energy is paying off  because they all showed up yesterday!

Other articles:

Opine: NOM Director Urges NH Gov to Keep His word

Pearl: NOM and CPR Action Present: “I’m Confused”

Keyser’s Causes: Huge Victory for Marriage in New Hampshire

<>Pomegranate Apple

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