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Tags court decisions , gay marriage , Iowa politics , judicial activism charges

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Old 17th April 2009, 06:50 AM   #121
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
I'm wondering if someone closer to the action in Iowa can explain the whole "Let us vote" thing to me. What do they want, a direct referendum for the majority to squash the rights of a minority group?
Yes, that's exactly what they want. Sadly, many people only want protections for minority positions when they are part of said minority.
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Old 17th April 2009, 09:14 AM   #122
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
I'm trying to understand the Lt Gov's comments. They make absolutely no sense. At least, they show no indication that he has any clue about how the government works.

"The courts rule that the legislation is unconstitutional. So the governor should issue an executive decree."

Welcome to the world of a dictatorship. Or am I missing something?

My initial thought was, "He wants the Governor to pull a George Wallace?" Recall, Wallace later regretted his actions.
Did I miss comments buy the Lt. Governor of Iowa (Patty Judge)? The one who proposed the pig-ignorant notion of suspending the Court's decision via executive order was Bob Vander Plaats, who has said he wants to be the next governor and is trying to turn the issue into something upon which he can mount a campaign.

The Governor of the Iowa, Chet Culver, has said he is not going to do anything about the Supreme Court's decision. Thier is virtually no risk that he will try to "pull a Wallace" or otherwise defy the Court.

Some see Culver as vulnerable in the next election, and so it is no surprise that various wind-bags are trying to find a way to assert that the decision was somehow his "fault."

Culver's position (which is legally sound, unlike Vander Plaats's) is that it would be a waste of taxpayer money to try to oppose the decision by way of further court challenges or grandstanding stunts. Curiously, his opponents like to paint themselves as thrifty fiscal conservatives, and yet they seem to urge courses that will add to the citizens' tax bills ... unnecessarily.
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Old 17th April 2009, 09:33 AM   #123
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Originally Posted by Brown View Post
Did I miss comments buy the Lt. Governor of Iowa (Patty Judge)? The one who proposed the pig-ignorant notion of suspending the Court's decision via executive order was Bob Vander Plaats, who has said he wants to be the next governor and is trying to turn the issue into something upon which he can mount a campaign.
I might be confusing them. Judge may not have advocated the executive order, but I know she did a phone campaign, maybe to push the "let us vote" thing.


My in-laws got a recorded message call from Judge calling for action of some sort.
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Old 17th April 2009, 09:37 AM   #124
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The "Let us vote" business, putting the best face on it, means that the citizens ought to be allowed to amend the state constitution. It is of course possible to amend the constitution and citizen votes decide whether an amendment will be adopted, but it is not as easy to amend the constitution in Iowa as it is in other states. I expect that the anti-gay forces will solicit the help of various powerful out-of-state groups to produce television commercials that would show the horrors associates with allowing two people of the same sex to have their marriage recognized by the state.

Putting a more realistic face on it, the "Let us vote" crowd espouses the view that a minority ought not to have rights unless those rights are conferred by the majority. And further, the majority can choose to refuse those rights based upon whim or overt bigotry. In other words, the "Let us vote" attitude is a "majority rules" mentality.
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Old 17th April 2009, 09:55 AM   #125
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
Judge may not have advocated the executive order, but I know she did a phone campaign, maybe to push the "let us vote" thing.


My in-laws got a recorded message call from Judge calling for action of some sort.
This doesn't sound like something Patty would do, either personally or wearing her Lt. Gov. hat. One wonders whether someone is running a phone campaign falsely attributing the sponsor.

According to the Des Moines Register, an Assistant Attorney General authored a notice to all county recorders: "All county recorders in the state of Iowa are required to comply with the Varnum decision … and to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples in the same manner as licenses issued to opposite gender applicants."

The current tactic-of-the-day is
Quote:
[Republican Sen. Merlin] Bartz and other Republicans are pushing for a "conscience clause" that would allow county recorders to opt out of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples if their religion is opposed to gay marriage.
Discussion about this proposal has been at roughly the level of second-graders arguing about who is and who is not a poopy-head, although second-graders tend to be a bit more articulate. In the end, a state senator put some more careful thoughts into this statement:
Quote:
Well, here's the crazy part of it. For example, what if a county recorder is morally opposed to mixed race marriages? You know it used to be illegal under Iowa law for mixed race marriages. Well what if you were a county recorder at that time. Does Senator Bartz think they should be able to say 'no' to a mixed race couple?

What about divorced Iowans? Some religions believe it should be 'one man, one woman, one time.' And under the Bartz approach, your county recorder would be able to say: 'No, I'm a Catholic and you don’t get to have a second marriage. You had your one.'

Under the Bartz approach if your county recorder didn’t think Catholics should marry Baptists, that would be the law in your county. That’s just so wrong.

In Iowa, everyone is equal under the law. County recorders don’t get to decide for themselves which laws they will follow and which they won’t.
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Old 17th April 2009, 10:43 AM   #126
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Originally Posted by Brown View Post
This doesn't sound like something Patty would do, either personally or wearing her Lt. Gov. hat. One wonders whether someone is running a phone campaign falsely attributing the sponsor.
I didn't hear the call. My MIL answered the phone, and said it was the Lt Gov calling for some opposition to the court decision on gay marriage.

As for the state senator's comments, it always brings me back to the question that I continually ask: Honestly, how do the anti-gay people feel knowing that they are using the exact same arguments that are used by racists? You could take almost any anti-gay marriage rant and substitute "interracial" for "gay" and it would be something you would have heard 50 years ago.

Merits of the argument aside, such a realization would give me serious pause.
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Old 17th April 2009, 11:58 AM   #127
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
As for the state senator's comments, it always brings me back to the question that I continually ask: Honestly, how do the anti-gay people feel knowing that they are using the exact same arguments that are used by racists? You could take almost any anti-gay marriage rant and substitute "interracial" for "gay" and it would be something you would have heard 50 years ago.

Merits of the argument aside, such a realization would give me serious pause.
Actually, there is an importance difference between the two.

Let's assume that the question is whether dark-skinned people--a minority--ought to be allowed to vote. In the event that this right to vote is eventually put into place, the light-skinned people actually do lose something. In particular, their voting power is diluted. If more people enter the voting pool, the power of a single vote is reduced.

Or if a court ruling determines that minority students ought to be allowed to attend a school that was previously attended only by students of the majority, the majority could actually lose something: classroom space, teacher-to-student attention, convenience.

In the case of same-sex marriage, however, the granting of equal protection to same-sex couples deprives the opposite-sex couples of nothing. Voting power and schools are limited resources, but marriage is virtually an unlimited resource.

Indeed, the advocates argued to the Iowa Supreme Court that same-sex marriage would hurt opposite-sex marriage. The Court asked a simple question, "In what way?" There was no answer to this question that could withstand even modest scrutiny, and as far as I can tell there remains no reasonable answer today. Some people feel that they have been hurt by the ruling, but they are unable to say how.
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Old 17th April 2009, 02:21 PM   #128
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Originally Posted by Brown View Post
Indeed, the advocates argued to the Iowa Supreme Court that same-sex marriage would hurt opposite-sex marriage. The Court asked a simple question, "In what way?" There was no answer to this question that could withstand even modest scrutiny, and as far as I can tell there remains no reasonable answer today. Some people feel that they have been hurt by the ruling, but they are unable to say how.
There is a thread on this over in Social Issues, where I have pointed out that they DO say how they have been harmed. It is usually something like, "Gay marriage would tell my kids that homosexuality is acceptable, but our religion says it is wrong."

(admittedly, that isn't really harm to heterosex marriage, but to heterosexual parents)

Of course, translated, what they are saying is, "Gay marriage would undermine my attempts to teach my kids that homos are evil." It's not a surprise that this argument doesn't hold up in court.

It also begs a lot of questions about society. TV shows, for example, also show homosexuality to be normal. The state allows that, too. In the end, the biggest problem these people face is the fact that homosexuals really AREN'T evil, outside of a "God hates fags" perspective. As homosexuality becomes more commonplace in today's society, it becomes more and more apparent that they aren't a problem. This is the thing that scares the anti-gay people more than anything. Kids these days are so used to seeing homosexuality all over that they don't care, and they can't see what all the fuss is about.

It's pretty obvious why the anti-gay crowd in Iowa is adament about getting it banned NOW. They realize that if they wait even a couple of years with legal gay marriage, everyone will realize that Iowa has NOT been swallowed up by God's minions, and, in fact, gay marriage is no big deal. Shoot, even after 5 years most citizens of Iowa still won't know any married gay couple. How can anyone believe that it is a problem when most people don't see any difference?

As I said, the anti-gay people know that when this happens, they don't have a prayer in the world of stopping it. So act now with predictions of doom before reality has a chance to get in the way.
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Old 17th April 2009, 03:01 PM   #129
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
As for the state senator's comments, it always brings me back to the question that I continually ask: Honestly, how do the anti-gay people feel knowing that they are using the exact same arguments that are used by racists? You could take almost any anti-gay marriage rant and substitute "interracial" for "gay" and it would be something you would have heard 50 years ago.
Honestly? Most of them would have no problem with that.
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Old 17th April 2009, 04:39 PM   #130
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
There is a thread on this over in Social Issues, where I have pointed out that they DO say how they have been harmed. It is usually something like, "Gay marriage would tell my kids that homosexuality is acceptable, but our religion says it is wrong."

(admittedly, that isn't really harm to heterosex marriage, but to heterosexual parents)

Of course, translated, what they are saying is, "Gay marriage would undermine my attempts to teach my kids that homos are evil." It's not a surprise that this argument doesn't hold up in court.
That was an excellent post of yours. Well said.

If I can summon up the spirit of George Carlin for a moment, there seems to be a pscychotic concern about "the children." Oh heavens, how can we explain homosexuality to the children? What will the children think? To which George Carlin said, and I'm paraphrasing, "Eff the children."

Homosexuality is part of life. Deal with it.

Marital infidelity is part of life, too, and we heard the same concerns when it became clear that Bill Clinton was having trouble with his self-control. Oh, how can we explain that to the children?? There was, of course, marital infidelity among people of all political persuasions, but it seemed that the parents were troubled only about explaining Clinton's infidelity.

And good grief, war is an unfortunate part of life. Did anyone ever suggest that WWII not be fought because it would be hard to explain the horrors of war to the children?

And financial ruin is a part of life, too. And natural disasters. And birth defects, and shootings and cancer and gangsterism and torture and homelessness and Alzheimer's and terrorists and plane crashes and drug abuse and religious fanaticism and nuclear weapons.... Is a homosexual marriage more difficult to explain to kids than any of these?

There's a lot of awful stuff in life, some of which parents may wish didn't exist, but it does. They need to deal with it.
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Old 19th April 2009, 09:29 AM   #131
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Originally Posted by Brown View Post
Marital infidelity is part of life, too, and we heard the same concerns when it became clear that Bill Clinton was having trouble with his self-control. Oh, how can we explain that to the children?? There was, of course, marital infidelity among people of all political persuasions, but it seemed that the parents were troubled only about explaining Clinton's infidelity.
I find the adultery aspect to be a very difficult problem for the religious case against gay marriage. Adultery is forbidden, apparently, by one of the ten biggie commandments of their religion, but, amazingly, the US doesn't have a law against it! Shouldn't this cause parents concern that the state is undermining their authority? And while there are always calls for the lipservice of posting the 10 commandments, no one ever tries to outlaw adultery.

Where are the parents complaining, "I am trying to teach my children that adultery is wrong, because it is against my religion, but the state is harming that because it is not illegal"? Honestly, given that adultery is far more widespread than homosexuality, you'd think it would be a bigger concern.

As such, the arguments against gay marriage end up being special pleading. Gay marriage is bad and needs to be outlawed because of X. What about adultery, which also contains X? Oh, we'll ignore that... (conveniently, btw)

What it tells me is that their opposition to gay marriage is NOT because of X, and they are just using X as an excuse.
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Old 20th April 2009, 06:03 AM   #132
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Originally Posted by linusrichard View Post
A contract is neither a public Act, record, or judicial proceeding.
I think this is where the sticking point in your argument lies. Civil marriage can be both a contract, and a public Act. Washington state law, for example (I use Washington state law as an example because it's where I live), explicitly states that "marriage is a civil contract between a male and a female who have each attained the age of eighteen years, and who are otherwise capable" (italics mine). However, it also requires that "before any persons can be joined in marriage, they shall procure a license from a county auditor [...]," and that the contract be solemnized by a person authorized to do so by the state.

That imprimatur of the state is what sets marriage apart from standard business contracts as also being a public Act. It really has to be, since marriage is not merely a contract between two parties with no resulting legal consequences for others, but one that everyone else (e.g. financial institutions, medical facilities, etc.) is legally obliged to respect.
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Old 20th April 2009, 07:08 AM   #133
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I don't disagree that marriage is a public act, although I'm not sure whether it's a public act within the meaning of the Full Faith and Credit Clause (I lean toward thinking it is). But I remain unconvinced that marriage is a contract in any true sense, even if a state statute contains a recitation that it is a contract. It just is too unlike a contract on any but the most superficial level.
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Old 20th April 2009, 08:59 AM   #134
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Originally Posted by linusrichard View Post
I don't disagree that marriage is a public act, although I'm not sure whether it's a public act within the meaning of the Full Faith and Credit Clause (I lean toward thinking it is). But I remain unconvinced that marriage is a contract in any true sense, even if a state statute contains a recitation that it is a contract. It just is too unlike a contract on any but the most superficial level.
It involves property rights, as anyone who's had a divorce can tell you. In that it is a voluntary agreement which addresses property rights, it's a contract.
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Old 20th April 2009, 09:22 AM   #135
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Originally Posted by ImaginalDisc View Post
It involves property rights, as anyone who's had a divorce can tell you. In that it is a voluntary agreement which addresses property rights, it's a contract.
That's like saying "in that a clock has two hands, a face, and knows what time it is, it's a human being." (ETA - on second thought, that's a little harsh. The point is, not every contract involves property rights, and not everything that involves property rights is a contract.)

A will is voluntary and involves property rights, but it's not a contract.

And a divorce is not a breach of contract claim.

If you can show me a breach of contract suit that was maintained (in modern times) where the contract alleged to have been breached was a marriage (not to be confused with a marriage contract, which is a promise to marry and not a marriage itself), then I might back off a little from my claim that marriage is not really a contract. (But I will probably stick to my opinion that marriage shouldn't be considered a contract.) The fact is that the promises made in a marriage are just not legally enforceable in the same way contracts are.

Just to be clear, I'm not claiming that my view is the consensus view of legal scholars and that those in this thread who call marriage a contract just don't know what they're talking about. I think there is a debate about this Out There, and I'm sure there are good minds and good arguments on both sides.
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Old 27th August 2009, 07:41 AM   #136
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In a story that is of no surprise at all, Iowa has been targeted by an anti-gay marriage group. According to stories published today by the AP and others, the "National Organization for Marriage," as part of its "Reclaim Iowa Project," is mobilizing to try to elect candidates who support submitting the gay marriage issue to Iowa voters.

The goal of the group, of course, is to overturn the Supreme Court's decision.

I have not checked to determine whether this self-proclaimed "National" organization "for Marriage" (which oddly enough is taking a stand AGAINST marriage, at least they are against the marriage of people they deem to be the wrong kind of people) represents out-of-state interests and out-of-state money. But I have a suspicion ....
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Old 27th August 2009, 08:10 AM   #137
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Originally Posted by Brown View Post
I have not checked to determine whether this self-proclaimed "National" organization "for Marriage" (which oddly enough is taking a stand AGAINST marriage, at least they are against the marriage of people they deem to be the wrong kind of people) represents out-of-state interests and out-of-state money. But I have a suspicion ....
I think that's the group who gained some notoriety over using the footage of the beauty contest person saying she believed marriage was between a man and a woman.

Yeah, here they are.

They also produced this gem.
YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the JREF. The JREF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE


Help! Help! They're repressing my freedom to repress other people's freedoms!
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Old 27th August 2009, 09:04 AM   #138
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Gay marriage! What is the world coming to? As a middleaged white heterosexual male, my feeling of entitlement and importance is slowly eroding. We gave rights to women, blacks and who knows what. Pretty soon the only way to salvage some of it is to start carrying a gun, even though i have no interest in weapons. Am i going to be reduced to a gun nut?
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Old 27th August 2009, 10:04 AM   #139
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Originally Posted by Upchurch View Post
Help! Help! They're repressing my freedom to repress other people's freedoms!

Their name is also pretty ironic. "National Organisation for Marriage". But their message is that they are against (gay) marriage.
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Old 31st August 2009, 02:30 PM   #140
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Originally Posted by me View Post
In a story that is of no surprise at all, Iowa has been targeted by an anti-gay marriage group.
In the newest developments, several people are crossing state lines to get married in Iowa. There are the expected Republican (capital R) bluster bites that vow to make this sort of thing a campaign issue, plus a modest effort to try to use the ballot box to recall the justices of the Iowa Supreme Court.

The head of the National Organization for Marriage has denied that the group supports bigotry. (How could anyone possibly have mistaken this organization's lofty civic goal--that of allowing the people of the State to have their say--with the nefarious goal of preventing people from getting married merely because they don't like them, even though they don't know them? Of course, if the voters decide that the sky hasn't fallen and that the state constitution ought not to be changed, this group will accept that decision and go away. Won't it?)

Another development is that in an election for the Iowa House, the Democratic candidate has raised $42,882, and the Republican candidate has raised $63,101. But the "New Jersey-based National Organization for Marriage, a group that opposes marriage for same-sex couples, has spent $86,080 on television ads in support of" the Republican candidate.

The notion of out-of-state influence is often a sore point, with many Iowans preferring to say that Iowans will mind their OWN business, thank you very much, and they do not need out-of-staters telling them what they ought to do. Right now, the notion of influence is raising its head in Iowa in a different context: Senator Chuck Grassley, a major recipient of campaign contributions from the so-called health industry, is being taken to task for apparently representing that industry rather than the people of Iowa. Grassley's position is: the campaign contributions have no effect on his positions. Meanwhile, good ol' Chuck is overtly raising funds on a platform of defeating "Obama-care."
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Old 31st August 2009, 03:06 PM   #141
KingMerv00
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Originally Posted by Darth Rotor View Post
I am not so sure I get his "due process" finding...
I haven't read the link yet but I'll bet he is referring to "substantive due process".
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Old 2nd September 2009, 06:07 AM   #142
Brown
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Well, here's a new development, from the Des Moines Register:
Quote:
Democrats retained a fiercely contested House seat in a special election Tuesday, turning aside Republican hopes to showcase a victory as a sign that Iowa's political tide has turned.

Democratic candidate Curt Hanson, a retired schoolteacher, won against GOP candidate and Jefferson County Supervisor Stephen Burgmeier by 3,932 to 3,825 votes, according to unofficial tallies.
...
Campaign reports filed five days before Tuesday's election show that Burgmeier and Hanson had raised nearly $313,000 in cash and in-kind contributions. That total doesn't include money raised in the last days of the election or the $86,080 spent on television ads on behalf of Burgmeier by the National Organization for Marriage in Washington, D.C. Both candidates support allowing a constitutional vote on whether Iowa should ban same-sex marriage. (emphasis mine)
So the self-proclaimed National Organization for Marriage didn't get its man elected, but on the other hand, the group's opponent said that he favored letting the citizens vote on amending the constitution.

So more than $400,000 was spent, and fewer than 8,000 people voted. This may be the most expensive Iowa House race in history.

Jefferson County (the part of Iowa where the fictional James Ryan from "Saving Private Ryan" was raised) is hardly a hotbed of political intrigue. The Republicans tried to say that the issues in question were national--spending, bailouts and national health care reform, taxes. The Democrats said the issues were local issues. But apparently same-sex marriage (a local issue with national impact) was not one of the major decisive questions.
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Old 2nd September 2009, 06:38 AM   #143
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post

Their name is also pretty ironic. "National Organisation for Marriage". But their message is that they are against (gay) marriage.
No you see that's the whole point because Marriage is between a Man and a Woman because uh... Anyway they can have the same thing, just with a different name, that's the same rig.. ?



Oh.
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Old 3rd September 2009, 07:36 AM   #144
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Spin, baby, spin. From the Des Moines Register:
Quote:
A group opposed to same-sex marriages failed to secure victory for Republicans in Iowa this week, but the massive injection of out-of-state money on the issue foreshadows what's to come in next year's elections, political scholars said Wednesday.

Despite the loss, the National Organization for Marriage succeeded in making gay marriage an issue, the head of the group said Wednesday. He vowed that its "Reclaim Iowa Project" will remain active in the 2010 state elections. (emphasis mine)
What a hoot! With this standard of "success," then I suppose the Hindenburg landing at Lakehurst was a success. The group spent more on this election than either candidate raised. And the group's man lost anyway.

Ah, but he only lost by 107 votes, and Obama won in this district by over 1,400 votes. But missing from the story is any mention of how many total voters turned out for a presidential election as opposed to a special election for the Iowa House. Might that little tidbit of fact make a difference?

This story really isn't much of a story. The piece is basically reaction to news, which is not, in and of itself, news. There are several other instances of individuals quotes in this story who claim victory... even though their man LOST.
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Old 3rd September 2009, 12:53 PM   #145
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
If Massachussetts falls to pieces because of their legalization of gay marriage, then we can act. But if they don't, then why bother?
Well we've been having gay marriages for 6 years now and the state hasn't fallen apart yet. It's pretty much a big non-issue in these parts.
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Old 3rd September 2009, 12:55 PM   #146
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Remember when all the hippies thought: "well when we get older and the old people around NOW die out we're gonna legalize weed"

it didn't happen.

While all the demographic trends point to a shift happening wherein once the dinosaurs stuck in the muck of backwards Victorian morality die out that we'll finally be able to shed all of this anti-gay stuff - is the same thing going to happen?

In other words, are there enough NEW bigots being made to hold the status quo beyond our expectations?
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Old 3rd September 2009, 01:15 PM   #147
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Originally Posted by Praktik View Post
Remember when all the hippies thought: "well when we get older and the old people around NOW die out we're gonna legalize weed"

it didn't happen.

While all the demographic trends point to a shift happening wherein once the dinosaurs stuck in the muck of backwards Victorian morality die out that we'll finally be able to shed all of this anti-gay stuff - is the same thing going to happen?

In other words, are there enough NEW bigots being made to hold the status quo beyond our expectations?
No. For a few reasons:
  • People cease using marijuana as they get older - they don't stop being gay. Age itself (not just generational differences) is more of a factor.
  • The Federal government is much more heavily involved in drug laws than marriage laws
  • Racism is really the most apt analogy, and we have solid evidence of changing values over time there.

I expect to see legal gay marriage come about throughout most of the US in the next decade.
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Old 3rd September 2009, 01:20 PM   #148
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Originally Posted by aerosolben View Post
No. For a few reasons:
  • People cease using marijuana as they get older - they don't stop being gay. Age itself (not just generational differences) is more of a factor.
  • The Federal government is much more heavily involved in drug laws than marriage laws
  • Racism is really the most apt analogy, and we have solid evidence of changing values over time there.

I expect to see legal gay marriage come about throughout most of the US in the next decade.

Ok well that was heartening. Thank you for alleviating my afternoon pessimism.

(and here's hoping the roomie was successful in his bid to refresh our herb supplies when I get home)
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Old 4th September 2009, 07:12 AM   #149
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Originally Posted by aerosolben View Post
No. For a few reasons:
  • People cease using marijuana as they get older - they don't stop being gay. Age itself (not just generational differences) is more of a factor.
  • The Federal government is much more heavily involved in drug laws than marriage laws
  • Racism is really the most apt analogy, and we have solid evidence of changing values over time there.
Also - and maybe this is really just a rewording of your third point - the marriage laws are discriminatory, while the weed laws are not. Marijuana is banned across the board, while marriage is banned only for certain people. That kind of thing gets harder to stomach over time.
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