Archive for the ‘marriage law’ Category

The press is quite pleased with President Obama’s proclamations on gay marriage. The evolutionary process appears to have finally come to a conclusion. Yet, it might be useful to place the President’s epiphany in historical context. To assist in the process, I have placed several quotes from past and present elected officials on the issue of gay rights, civil unions and marriage. Lets see how many readers can correctly identify the speaker (answers below…no cheating)

Quote Number 1

The big thing is to make this country, along with every other country in the world with a few exceptions, quit discriminating against people just because they’re gay. You don’t have to agree with it, but they have a constitutional right to be gay. And that’s what brings me into it.

Quote Number 2

Well, I think that freedom means freedom for everyone. … I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish. Any kind of arrangement they wish. The question of whether or not there ought to be a federal statute that governs this, I don’t support. I do believe that historically the way marriage has been regulated is at the state level. It has always been a state issue, and I think that’s the way it ought to be handled today, that is on a state-by-state basis. Different states will make different decisions. But I don’t have any problem with that. I think people ought to get a shot at that.

Quote Number 3

 I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix…. . I am not somebody who promotes same-sex marriage, but I do believe in civil unions. I do believe that we should not — that for gay partners to want to visit each other in the hospital for the state to say, you know what, that’s all right, I don’t think in any way inhibits my core beliefs about what marriage are. I think my faith is strong enough and my marriage is strong enough that I can afford those civil rights to others, even if I have a different perspective or different view.

Quote Number 4

I don’t think we should deny people rights to a civil union, a legal arrangement, if that’s when a state chooses to do so. … I view the definition of marriage different from legal arrangements that enable people to have rights. And I strongly believe that marriage ought to be defined as between, a union between a man and a woman.

Quote Number 5.

I’ve just concluded that– for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that– I think same-sex couples should be able to get married. Now– I have to tell you that part of my hesitation on this has also been I didn’t want to nationalize the issue. … I continue to believe that this is an issue that is gonna be worked out at the local level, because historically, this has not been a federal issue, what’s recognized as a marriage.


1. Barry Goldwater, July 1994 (source)

2. Dick Cheney, July 2009 (source)

3. Barack Obama, August 2008 (source)

4. George W. Bush, October 2004 (source)

5. Barack Obama, May 2012 (source)

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The New Hampshire House, dominated 3-to-1 by Republicans, has just voted by an approximately 2-to-1 majority to kill a bill that would have repealed same-sex marriage and reinstate civil unions. Along with passage of marijuana decriminalization (by a single vote), this vote helps to demonstrate the increasingly libertarian, live-and-let-live character of the New Hampshire GOP.(*)

Meanwhile, the NH Senate just passed a bill to give businesses tax credits for funding private and out-of-district public school scholarships.

(*) I am of two minds on same-sex marriage. I support it on a personal level, as I do not see any good reason for government or anyone else to discriminate against same-sex couples. At the same time, I recognize that some people have deeply held religious objections to same-sex unions and object to having their tax dollars pay for government endorsement of these unions. For that reason, I favor getting government out of marriage licensing altogether.

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Popular support for gay marriage has been rapidly increasing in the last two years, and several polls now show that support for gay marriage is a plurality or majority position in the American public, according to research by Nate Silver. This shift in public opinion is happening far too rapidly to be due to generational replacement, so it must be the case that many people have changed their minds. What could be the reason for the sudden shift in many Americans’ views? Silver points out that parties and candidates are placing less stress on opposition to gay marriage than they once did, creating a feedback loop in which public opposition to gay marriage further softens. It may also be that once public opinion reaches a tipping point at 50%, opposition rapidly declines because Americans don’t wish to see themselves as being on the losing side of history.

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To my knowledge, HB 569 is the first bill ever drafted and introduced in a legislature that would abolish government marriage licensing. The bill is the brainchild of libertarian Republican members of the New Hampshire state house. Currently, New Hampshire has same-sex marriage, but with the current Republican supermajority in both houses of the legislature, that policy is in serious jeopardy.

The libertarian position on marriage is that it is a contract that should be recognized and applied by the courts, but that the government has no business, in general, decreeing who may or may not make the contract or imposing any prior conditions, as licensure does. (There is a libertarian case against recognizing consensual adult incestuous relationships.)

While some conservatives are making positive noises about HB 569, it has come under harsh attack from the left. Check out this discussion at the shrill left-wing site bluehampshire.com if you have the stomach. Democrats are insisting that the bill “abolishes marriage,” because (more…)

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