Court ruling on California same-sex marriage ban discussed on campus

By , Reporter  |  Wednesday, February 8, 2012 11:34 PM


A ruling on same-sex marriage has attracted attention on the St. Thomas campus as it moves one step closer to the U.S. Supreme Court. A federal appeals court Tuesday ruled California’s ban on gay marriages unconstitutional, saying it serves no purpose other than to “lessen the status and human dignity” of gays.

On Wednesday, Washington state lawmakers voted to approve gay marriage, setting the stage for that state to become the seventh in the nation to allow same-sex couples to wed.

The California case is expected to go to the nation’s highest court, but a ruling may not be reached before Minnesotans vote in November on a proposed amendment that would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Senior J.T. Schuweiler, St. Thomas Allies club president, said that he realizes the California ruling is one of many steps that must happen before gay marriage becomes legal, but he feels the gay community on campus will feel a lot more optimistic if Minnesota rejects the amendment in November.

“Kids don’t feel comfortable coming out at St. Thomas,” Schuweiler said. “There are a lot of issues about, ‘What are my roommates going to think?’ Am I going to receive a lower grade if I start talking about … opening up my feelings in class on whether or not I believe that homosexual acts are immoral or moral?’”

The Allies club works to promote respect for all members of the St. Thomas community no matter their sexual orientation.

St. Thomas law professor Teresea Collett, who opposes gay marriage and has testified in front of several state legislatures, including Minnesota, said that “Minnesota voters won’t be changing the law” on this issue.

“We’ll just be taking the present law and putting it in the state constitution and saying if you want to change it, you have to come talk with the people about it,” Collett said.

Collett said that marriage should continue to be defined as the union between a man and a woman. Gay marriage has been illegal in Minnesota since 1997.

“Somebody is going to decide what the state constitution defines marriage as, and it’s either going to be the Minnesota courts or the voters, just like in California,” Collett said. “I find it remarkable that if the court got it wrong, the people don’t have the right to correct them on their constitutional interpretation.”

Dale Carpenter, a University of Minnesota constitutional law professor, has been a same-sex marriage advocate for the past 10 years and said that while the California ruling is a step forward, there is still a ways to go.

“The irony is if you want to keep marriage the way it is in Minnesota, you ought not support this amendment because the amendment makes it really clear the federal courts will be involved,” Carpenter said. “The difference is that California previously had gay marriage in the state, and we do not have those in Minnesota. No matter what is decided in November, ultimately the federal courts could have the last say on this.”

Kristopher Jobe can be reached at

Graphic was created by Cody Levin.

This item was posted in More News, News and has 44 comments so far.


  1. Michael Blissenbach
    Feb. 9, 2012 12:51 PM

    Thanks for this article. I’m a 2009 alumnus of St. Thomas, and I agree with Professor Collett and many others on this issue. Government did not create marriage, but chose to recognize it primarily to protect the rights of children generated by the marriage to grow up in an intact home with the man and woman who brought them into the world. This is why marriage is recognized by the state and endowed with legal and financial benefits. Same-sex couples certainly have love and affection between the two people, but their love lacks a procreative capacity and thus the government has no reason to recognize such unions, just as the government doesn’t issue friendship licenses.

  2. Stefan Wolf
    Feb. 9, 2012 2:23 PM


    I must oppose your viewpoints once again.  First, the use of the term “intact” household to refer to a nuclear family seems to suggest that a gay couple provides a somehow not-intact household and environment for a child.  It seems to me that everything a child needs for a healthy and positive upbringing can be found in a gay household as well.  

    You go on to say that the purpose is to “protect the children generated by the marriage…with the man and woman who brought them into the world.”  This statement privileges nuclear children and leaves out foster children, adoptions, etc.  Do you think the government has some concern for them, too?  

    Finally, you mention the “procreative capacity.”  First of all, there are many, many children up for adoption who could use a healthy, loving home (which can be provided by gay parents).  Secondly, this definition of marriage would also leave out people who physically do not have the capability to procreate, even if straight.  Should we not let them get married?

    The point is that your definition is one that rests heavily on the religious definition of marriage.  Churches can make that choice.  However, this is political marriage, one that affords tax benefits, etc.  It should not be informed by…

  3. Michael Blissenbach
    Feb. 9, 2012 3:25 PM

    I actually addressed those objections thoroughly in a post on my blog, which can be viewed here:

  4. Brendan Ekstrom
    Feb. 9, 2012 9:35 PM

    Michael, on your blog you respond to the adoption argument by saying that same-sex marriage is a “is a statement by the state that the influence of a mother and father on a child’s life doesn’t matter, because it allows for the deliberate deprivation of children of a relationship of one or both of their biological parents.” You continue, arguing that children adopted by same-sex couples lack either a male or female role model.

    These ideas fail to establish why same-sex couples should be denied their fundamental right to marriage. Your first statement implies that all adoption is bad, regardless of the foster parents’ sexual orientation. Even straight couples who adopt are “depriving” children a relationship with their biological parents. Why is this only unacceptable when it comes to same-sex parents who adopt? Furthermore, 173,000 persons who never married adopted children in 2002 ( Do you take issue with them adopting children too since a parent of the opposite sex is missing? More generally, I think basing an argument against gay marriage on children ignores the important relationship-based virtues of marriage.

  5. Elizabeth Harris
    Feb. 9, 2012 10:58 PM

    Yay Stefan! I agree with everything you’re saying!

    EQUALITY FOR ALL! “Legalize gay marriage because you fall in love with a person, not with a gender.”

  6. Chris Huber
    Feb. 10, 2012 12:02 AM

    I read your blog post. Looks like a lot of speculation, devoid of any empirical evidence. For example:

    “Same-sex marriage, on the other hand, is a statement by the state that the influence of a mother and father on a child’s life doesn’t matter, because it allows for the deliberate deprivation of children of a relationship of one or both of their biological parents. They thus grow up lacking either a male role model or female role model in their household, as well as a piece of who they are, since they are a living instance of their mother and father becoming one.”

    Couching deep-seated right-wing authoritarian beliefs in philosophical terms is all very nice, but what you really need is some hard evidence that children of gay couples are really lacking something important. It seems to me that philosophical arguments and rhetoric can only get you so far in the absence of anything substantial to back it up. Especially in the face of mounting empirical evidence that children of gay couples turn out as well as straight couples’ children (Erich, Leung, & Kindle, 2005; Erich, Leung, Kindle, & Carter, 2005; Averett, Nalavany, and Ryan, 2009; Farr, Forssell, & Patterson, 2010).

  7. Michael Blissenbach
    Feb. 10, 2012 10:18 AM

    Brendan, the ideal situation is for a child to grow up in a home with their biological mother and father. In some situations, of course, this is not possible, which is why we have the adoption system. It’s important, though, for children to grow up in a home with a male and a female role model, and, in the case of being adopted by a single person or a same-sex couple, the government is deliberately depriving a child of the opportunity to grow up in the best environment possible.
    Chris, those studies you cite have been thoroughly discredited because the studies did not employ random sampling, and, thus, are biased and not credible studies.

  8. Chris Huber
    Feb. 10, 2012 2:07 PM

    Assume for a moment that you are correct, and these studies are all worthless (though I see no citation for this claim). That still leaves us where we began, with you making a claim for which you have no evidence and denying a group of people should have the right to marry and adopt based on that claim. As it happens, you are also not correct about the studies.

    True random selection is always the ideal, of course, but in practice psychological research usually has to rely on convenience sampling and is still perfectly credible. Literally every study in existence has some methodological weakness, which is why we insist on replication rather than simply taking the results of one study in isolation. Those who know little about science and have a bone to pick with a particular finding are prone to prey on these weaknesses, not realizing that pointing out the inevitable does not automatically refute the results of a body of research.

    However, I still decided to check your claim by picking an article at random. Farr, et al. (2010) recruited participants from five cooperating adoption agencies, and they did so by attempting to recruit ALL eligible families. Now, technically recruiting everyone is not random sampling. But it is superior to random sampling when technically…

  9. Michael Blissenbach
    Feb. 10, 2012 3:21 PM

    So the notion that every child deserves to grow up in a home with a mom and dad constitutes “right-wing authoritarianism”? Do you really believe that?

  10. Michael Blissenbach
    Feb. 10, 2012 4:37 PM

    First of all, I was a biology minor (and started out as a biology major), and I know about scientific studies. The studies gather data, but data must be interpreted, and can, many times, have different interpretations depending on the biases of the scientist involved. In a politically charged issue such as gay marriage and parenting, studies are funded and conducted by people on both sides with an agenda to prove, and so they can’t be used as objective evidence.
    Secondly, let me pose you a couple questions: How would you define marriage and what, in your view, is the state’s rationale and reasoning for recognizing marriage?

  11. Chris Huber
    Feb. 10, 2012 4:38 PM

    Homophobia and opposition to gay rights correlate strongly with the psychological trait right-wing authoritarianism (for reviews, see Altemeyer, 1996; Altemeyer, 2006). So yes, the sentiment behind that rather loaded notion probably does indicate some level of RWA thinking. The correct question to ask is whether every child deserves to grow up in a safe and nurturing environment, and according to the empirical literature the variable of parental sexual orientation is not relevant to that question.

  12. Paul Milner
    Feb. 10, 2012 6:59 PM

    I could only find Farr, et al. It sampled only children ages 1-5. Hardly supports your conclusion. Predictably, the news reports that covered the study also failed to mention that. Maybe the other sources are better, but I doubt it. You have a history of overstating the conclusions of the studies you find.

    I mentioned this on facebook, but I figured I’d bring it up here too, in the spirit of fairness to Chris. Your argument doesn’t support the conclusion “thus the government has no reason to recognize such unions”. I assume you’ll find the gaps yourself. 

    As a supporter of the Minnesota marriage amendment, I must say, Prop 8 seemed blatantly unconstitutional. I encourage you all to read the original court brief. Good stuff. 

  13. Michael Blissenbach
    Feb. 10, 2012 7:14 PM

    Thanks for your point! I meant to say ” Thus, the government has no reason to recognize such unions as marriages.”

  14. Kathryn Pogin
    Feb. 10, 2012 11:48 PM

    Regarding how children of same-sex couples fair, this is of interest:,8599,1994480,00.html

    Regarding what rationale the state could have for recognizing same-sex marriage: Marriage is a formalization of a loving commitment; an institutionalization of pair-bonding that encourages love, care, and dedication even when more fleeting forms of affection fade. That kind of stabilizing force could, of course, have much civic and social value. A sort of covenantal view of marriage is also much more clearly consistent with granting marriage rights to heterosexual couples who are unable to, or uninterested, in procreating than is a reproductive view of marriage.

  15. Kathryn Pogin
    Feb. 10, 2012 11:49 PM

    Regarding the conversation in general, of course I recognize that some people have deep religious commitments that conflict with the morality of same-sex marriage. But, still (and aside from whether or not the state should give preference to what is, at least in origin, a religious view of marriage) the history of humankind is a history laced with the impulsion to resist the truth when it threatens the status quo—to resist the testimony of the disenfranchised when its acceptance would alter how we experience the world. We resisted the notion that women ought to be treated as persons rather than property. We resisted the notion that denying women an education or the right to vote was an affront to equality. We resisted the notion that even slavery was discriminatory. We resisted the notion that separate was unequal. We resisted the notion, even before the Civil Rights Act, that blacks were treated unequally in our society. In the face of this history- in the face of the fallibility of our beliefs regarding those who are different from us—when a group of people on the fringes of our social power structure has the courage to stand up and tell us that something is wrong, rationality ought to compel us to try and set aside our assumptions, even our convictions, and really try to…

  16. Kathryn Pogin
    Feb. 10, 2012 11:49 PM


  17. Paul Milner
    Feb. 11, 2012 1:14 AM

    Nice to hear (read?) from you again. Forgive me for being a cynic, but I trust Time magazine even less then Chris to correctly represent studies. I did find the actual study (I think) and I’ll read through it. The rest of your argument was rather baffling. The reason this is a topic of debate is obviously because the “reproductive view” of marriage isn’t as unconventional as you suppose. 

    The question is rather simple. Do we as a society believe that the state has a legitimate interest in subsidizing the production of children? If yes, (excluding artificial insemination for simplicity’s sake) then obviously hetero couples should receive compensation for the service they provide. If no, then obviously the couples should be treated equally. The strength of your position on the marriage debate is determined by the justification of your answer to this question, whatever that answer may be. Unfortunately, most refuse to address this question, preferring instead catch phrase arguments that fit on small to medium sized bumper stickers (as evidenced by Elizabeth above). 

    But, and I can’t stress this enough, asking whether or not homo couples deserve more recognition is a completely different question then whether or not they need equal. 

  18. Paul Milner
    Feb. 11, 2012 1:19 AM

    (continued…) Its annoying that arguments such as yours equate these questions. I’d certainly agree with one, but not the other. 

    I panned on saying more, but I’m tired. Night. 

  19. Brett Brakefield
    Feb. 11, 2012 11:26 AM

    It’s been a while, good to see you four are as lively as ever (Paul, Chris, Michael, and Kathryn). 

    Regarding Kathryn’s comment: The equivocation between gay marriage and the other issues you mentioned should not be assumed. The notion of “[resisting] the truth” is steeped in idealism, and not reality. The “truth” is “we” are part of a widely diverse population with as many opinions as members of society (if not more). It isn’t a “truth” that we are looking for, but an agreement that codifies the most agreeable opinions on the matter. As such, the constant comparison to other movements baffles me. The merits of those issues (women’s suffrage, racial equality, etc) were established at the end of the conflict. See, “history is written by the victor”. It’s not a comforting thought in the slightest, but imagine if those movements had failed. Would you compare the gay rights movement to the (then) failed women’s issue? Of course not. Using the privilege of separate hardships to lend weight to gay rights is both unnecessary and disingenuous. Took summarize my point, it’d be no more acceptable to compare the gay rights movement to the polygamy movement. Please, in making your argument speak to the merits of what you want and why. I do agree we should, as we…

  20. Brett Brakefield
    Feb. 11, 2012 11:43 AM

    …are, listening and discussion the issue. As per Kathryn’s conclusion. 

    On social studies,

    For better or for worse, studies alone will never dictate social policy. The posting and question of sources essentially serves as a red herring. The unanswered question is, “so what?” Even if the studies showed the benefit of heterosexual couples over any other configuration would you expect gay marriage advocates to just pack it in? “Sorry guys, science says we are statistically less likely to be….” Does that honestly matter to you? We are talking about people, their lives, and the quality of them. The question is (and I’m glad it has been asked) does the state, and by extension the people, have a vested interest in the legalization of gay marriage. Saying “it can’t be any worse then the status quo” does not establish anything. Personally, and as cold as this may make me sound, I do not have a personal interest in this debate. There are societal benefits to both outcomes, and a wide berth of unexplored compromised. My desire to comment here was sparked by the absurdity of how this topic is being debated, and not a personal interest in either side’s argument. If religion is your motivation, fine. If it is dictated by scientific studies, so be it. People have value…

  21. Brett Brakefield
    Feb. 11, 2012 11:57 AM

    *People have different value sets.
    **Tommiemedia needs to fix their character count! 

    One thing I would be interested in hear from you all on. Assuming the Supreme Court rules on this issue (in opposition to your personal belief), what is the “damage” society will face as a result? Perhaps I undervalue the institute of marriage, but either way I do not see the acceptance or denial of gay marriage effecting country-wide ramifications. Is this matter as important as the two opposing factions make it out to be? 

    I can see the religiously-driven rationale for banning gay marriage. As such, I wouldn’t support forcing opposing religious institutions to wed gay marriages against their ideology. On the other hand, if (with or without some tangible benefit) society wants to recognize gay marriages I have no issue with addressing Mr. and Mr. LastName. It doesn’t harm me. I’m curious what is the threat or negative consequence the other side threatens?

  22. Chris Huber
    Feb. 11, 2012 1:26 PM

    Oh my, lots of comments. Perhaps it is fair to say that I overrepresented the studies I cited. My analysis of them would be that we have looked for evidence that gay couples may be poor parents and found none. Thus, I think it is perfectly reasonable to ask anyone claiming otherwise based on philosophical notions about what children need to put up or shut up, as it were, by providing some substantial evidence of their own. Thus far I seem to be the only one citing empirical evidence at all, though it is also true that some posters are interested in other questions of a more philosophical nature.

    Michael, in regards to your reply, I can only stress the contradiction of refusing to accept scientific evidence because of possible bias while simultaneously asserting that children need a mom and a dad based on…what exactly? Your own informed opinion? I’ll take my chances with the best evidence available over no evidence whatsoever.

    You would like my definition of marriage. I suppose I would loosely view it as a cultural institution to recognize a certain type of commitment between two people which at some point was recognized by the government. However I’m not particularly keen on debating semantics.

  23. Chris Huber
    Feb. 11, 2012 1:47 PM

    In regards to your second question about the rationale for state-recognized marriage, I suspect the answer you would give has something to do with a vested interest in the making of babies. Considering projections that the world population will reach unsustainable levels before the end of the century and then plummet, I would hesitate to anchor the institution of marriage in such a questionable interest. The uses of marriage are not limited to multiplication.

    My own answer is that the state may have many reasons for recognizing marriage. The simple fact that it is considered culturally important may be one. In the case of gay marriage, other values may play a role, since America professes to be a nation of equal opportunities where everyone has the right to the pursuit of happiness. The opponents of gay marriage often cite the importance of keeping the Family strong. The same claim could also suffice to justify a state interest in gay marriage once we eschew our prejudices about it.

    In closing, economic arguments about the production of children largely miss the point. If this were really the main issue any of us cared about, we should be equally passionate about making sure no benefits go to married couples who elect not to reproduce.

  24. Kathryn Pogin
    Feb. 11, 2012 5:43 PM

    Now we just need Heaney, and it’ll be like old times! I didn’t mean to imply that the reproductive view is unconventional, but rather that I think it’s unsatisfactory. Regarding the simple question, I just don’t think that’s the question. I think the question is, does the state have a legitimate interest in subsidizing the production of children, and is that primarily what marriage does, and either way we answer the second, is that what marriage should do. Let’s just grant that the state has an interest in subsidizing the production of children for the sake of the argument. Now is that what marriage, either exclusively or primarily, does? Given that we grant full marriage rights to hetero couples who are unable or uninterested in procreating, it’s hard to see how we could think this is what marriage does without the result that its rights are granted discriminatorily. Of course that’s not itself an argument that same-sex marriage should be legalized; one could just say that’s an argument that marriage rights should only be granted to couples who are capable of reproducing, and that marriage obligates such couples to reproduce.

  25. Kathryn Pogin
    Feb. 11, 2012 5:43 PM

    Or we can say that the state’s interest in marriage is primarily aimed at broader social goods that are equally well brought about by hetero couples that do reproduce and hetero couples that don’t (e.g., the goods involved in a covenantal view of marriage), and that the states subsidization of the production of children is sometimes related to marriage but not intrinsic to it (and of course the way tax breaks for dependents operate is consistent with this).

  26. Kathryn Pogin
    Feb. 11, 2012 5:54 PM

    @ Brett, regarding whether or not it’s appropriate to reference past injustices and a collective failure to recognize them, I suspect that both Paul and Michael are committed to a moral reality. In other words, you might think my comment was steeped in idealism—but it’s probably something more like moral realism. I suspect that both Michael and Paul are committed to justice (in the sense of what is, in reality, the just thing to do), but my disagreement with them is about what justice calls for. I suspect that they also think slavery, segregation, and the subjugation of women is, in fact, unjust, and so it doesn’t seem irrelevant or disingenuous at all to point out the historical collective cognitive resistance to what we agree is just when it entailed that large social change was called for. And that’s not an argument for legalizing same-sex marriage; it’s an argument for epistemic humility whenever our beliefs have the potential to impact other human beings given a history of unreliable mechanisms operating in such beliefs. And now I’m done arguing semantics with you.

  27. Brett Brakefield
    Feb. 12, 2012 6:51 PM

    Not to be offensive, but you and Chris both seem to have a poor understanding of “semantics”. If (as the case is here) you are using poorly, or simply incorrect, definitions in making a point you need to re-evaluate your argument. It’s unacceptable to expect your redefinition of “moral” or “just” as it merely applies to your personal worldview. It comes as no surprise that given the disparity between what you think a word means, and how others are interpreting it these arguments tend to circle themselves endlessly. If that challenge is regarded as “arguing semantics” you’ve essentially disregarded all opinions save your own as correct. With that you are correct, we should not (nor could we) continue this argument. 

    If marriage is viewed as (by definition) the union between a man and a woman, gay couples cannot be wed. This is the nature of semantics, by the way. If the argument is that homosexual couples should not be entitled to the governmental benefits of marriage, I see no reason why bundling these “rights” into a different package would be objectionable. It is my understanding that civil unions of today fail to do this. That doesn’t mean they are incapable of doing so. Relegate marriage to the Church, and legal benefits to the government,…

  28. Kathryn Pogin
    Feb. 12, 2012 7:29 PM

    Brett, my comment regarding semantics was strictly limited to your comment about idealism, and my response to that comment.

  29. Chris Huber
    Feb. 12, 2012 8:21 PM

    Establishing civil unions for gays would in essence create a “separate but equal” institution. I think we might do better than repeating the travesty that was outlawed with Brown vs the Board of Education, even if it would be technically legal in this case.

  30. Paul Milner
    Feb. 12, 2012 8:48 PM

    General response I guess (since many people brought up this point),
    I don’t think we should be giving full marriage benefits to those who elect not to reproduce. So that line of questioning doesn’t really hurt the argument. Ideally anyways. Unfortunately, given the current marriage laws, this would be almost impossible to enforce (or, at the very least, impractical).  

    And a return question for Kathryn. If procreation isn’t inherent to marriage, then why do we have restrictions concerning the marriage of immediate family members? It seems that some aspect of the law directly imply the intention of procreating, well it certainly true that an increasing number or people enter this union without this intention. Perhaps procreation was once inherent to marriage, but the social perception of the union has simply changed. Either way, I think it’s obvious from this discussion and from the current state of divorce that the legal institution of marriage needs some serious reworking. At which point we’re back the the question; what is (or should be) the purpose of marriage? Or perhaps the government should get out of the business all together?

  31. Paul Milner
    Feb. 12, 2012 8:50 PM

    Almost forgot. Chris, you’ve forgot to provide empirical evidence to support your over population claim. Make sure your sources are up to date and include the rate of population growth. 

  32. Kathryn Pogin
    Feb. 12, 2012 10:44 PM

    Paul, I think you’re right on a number of things there. Regarding family members marrying though, I think I could make the argument that even though procreation isn’t a necessary feature of marriage, it certainly may well create circumstances (as you noted) in which procreation is more likely– so we prohibit it in such cases. To be honest though, I think (for a variety of historical reasons) that has more to do with social disgust than procreation.

  33. James Heaney
    Feb. 13, 2012 12:45 AM

    Whoa. Hello, TommieMedia! We’re all here, all of us, like we were always meant. Who takes the Pandorica takes the uni– no, wait, I mean: I didn’t realize it was time for the one-year reunion already!

    I offer a couple of *little* thoughts, because I really am trying to stay away from TM now that I’ve matriculated. I noticed Pogin’s over in the Dean of A&S’s office (congratulations!), but what’re the rest of you still doing around here?

    I’ve never seen any serious argument for overpopulation other than more or less scienced-up, dressed-up, gussied-up versions of the same tired old Malthusianism. You’d think, after two centuries of defeating Malthus’s dismal science at every turn, with world population growth declining and projected to stabilize mid-century, we pro-natalists would catch a break, or at least a breather, from the population skeptics. Bah. But I’m just cranky in my old age.

    I actually agree with Chris on civil unions. He reads rather too much into the holding of Brown v. Board, on “separate but equal,” which is more limited than the school system generally teaches, but civil unions make gay marriage more likely, not less — and more legally justifiable, not less.

    I don’t want to hit the character limit unexpectedly, so new post.

  34. James Heaney
    Feb. 13, 2012 12:55 AM

    Seriously, though, TM, you do know your character limit thing is broken and ALWAYS has been, right? It looks like Greg’s Comment Length Limiter Plugin is getting the right values from textarea.value.length, so it may be something happening between client and server. Are you converting any characters to entity references, or adding any other HTML that could be prematurely limiting the available character space?

    Time Magazine aside, the evidence for the health and well-being of the children of gay parents is actually quite promising. ALL studies on the subject suffer from short duration, small sample size, methodological shortcuts, or all of the above, in no small part because gay parenting is pretty new under the sun — but the results are nevertheless *promising*.

    I hesitate to embrace these results, however, because this is *exactly* what the science was saying in the late 1960s at the advent of no-fault divorce. Science couldn’t be sure yet, but it looked like children of divorce did, on average, as well as, or maybe even slightly better than, other kids. It took another twenty years before this was conclusively proved false in every respect, and another ten after that for sociologists to accept this.

    Family is fragile. Caution must be taken. Cheers, all!

  35. Brendan Ekstrom
    Feb. 13, 2012 8:30 AM

    What I take solace in is that history and tradition cannot be the only arguments considered when deciding an issue such as this. If the opposite were true, we would still have laws prohibiting interracial marriages, and we would still do things like sterilize “immoral” criminals, and we would still have segregation. After all, that’s what we did historically and what the tradition was at the time-—until people stood together in protest and the government, usually through the courts, decided to give everyone equal rights and protection under the law.

    Fundamental rights can develop and change over time along with our society as it progresses and evolves. Thankfully, we have a government that can adapt to such changes. And if you disagree with this, thankfully we have a government that allows you to feel that way, and you can take solace in knowing that no one will ever make you marry someone you don’t want to.

    But please remember that just because you or your religion disagrees with something does not mean that everyone has to disagree. The Constitution protects everyone, including minorities.

  36. Kathryn Pogin
    Feb. 13, 2012 10:19 AM

    Heaney! Ok, what I want to know is, where are the current UST students? PS- I’m actually in grad school now (so no one can blame the dean’s office for my comments) but I sort of figure as long as Blissenbach is hanging around to comment on these issues, I’ll hang around to voice the opposition.

  37. James Heaney
    Feb. 13, 2012 1:58 PM

    @Kathryn: LIKE.

    @Brendan: Interestingly, the actual text of both Skinner and Loving reinforce the anti-redefinition position, not the pro-position. Check out Baker v. Nelson, the only U.S. Supreme Court precedent dealing specifically with the concept of same-sex marriage. (Interestingly, it came out of the Minnesota court system.)

    Fundamental rights do NOT develop and evolve over time. Slavery was always unjust. Segregation was always unjust. Anti-miscegenation laws were always a perversion against human nature and fundamental rights. The fact that we took so long to recognize this is a fact of lasting national shame, not an instance of rights suddenly springing up when, up until then, slavery was perfectly fine for people of that time.

    The pro-redefinition team cannot simply rely on broad references to the movement of history (which moves backward as well as forward — look at our human rights record on abortion). For the equal protection argument to succeed, an injustice against same-sex persons must be demonstrated. Personally, I think the prudential case for SSM is much stronger.

  38. Brendan Ekstrom
    Feb. 13, 2012 3:34 PM

    Thanks for the clarifications, James. I appreciate it.

  39. Paul Milner
    Feb. 13, 2012 8:08 PM

    I think I agree with your last point, but certainly they can’t be excluded from the union simply because of social disgust! That would be discriminatory…

    I am amused. 

  40. Chris Huber
    Feb. 13, 2012 8:41 PM

    Here’s one, Paul. I didn’t forget, I just decided not to bother since no one else was citing any.

    Incidentally, a simple solution under your paradigm would be to allow gays to marry but not give full benefits to couples of any sexual orientation unless they reproduce (or adopt, I would argue). Not that I agree with most of your underlying assumptions, but since your argument still allows for gay marriage the rest doesn’t particularly interest me.

  41. Kathryn Pogin
    Feb. 13, 2012 10:57 PM

    Paul, I am amused that you are amused.

  42. Paul Milner
    Feb. 13, 2012 11:39 PM

    Nowhere did that article claim that the worlds population growth was unsustainable. I’ve been struck with a sudden terror. If this is how you read news articles, how poorly do you read my arguments? *shivers* 

  43. Chris Huber
    Feb. 14, 2012 11:25 PM

    That would be because I got the source after the fact and just picked the first of many articles out there. As I said, I don’t particularly see the point in playing the game of “attack Chris’s sources to distract from the fact that we provide none of our own”. Seems to me I can’t win that game, so why bother to try? In a real debate I would win quite easily, but here it isn’t worth the effort of doing extensive research knowing that the end result will be either a sudden change of subject or another ad hominem attack.

  44. Neil Hanbury
    Jun. 15, 2012 8:10 PM

    Wisconsin recognises domestic partnerships on a state-wide level, and have since 2009. Minnesota does not have civil unions or domestic partnerships.

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