DOMA, Prop 8 and Bruce Majors’ guide to the arguments for and against marriage equality
With its decisions announced today striking down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and its two-fer decision that effectively struck down Prop 8 because the proponents in the appeal did not have standing to object to the district court’s 2010 ruling against Prop 8, the Supreme Court today declared that lesbians and gays are almost 30 percent human and endowed by their Creator with semi-alienable rights, the exact alienability of which they will decide in the future.
The good news for conservatives in the DOMA decision is that it just made gays and lesbians a gettable constituency for opposing death taxes — the federal ones, that is, and those in the 13 states plus the District of Columbia that allow marriage equality. That’s because the lawsuit was brought by Edie Windsor over the $368,000 federal estate taxes she had to pay after the death of her wife, thanks to DOMA, which DOMA-approved widows and widowers do not owe.
I’m calling the Prop 8 decision a two-fer because it let stand the district court’s ruling against Prop 8 (read Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision here, it’s very entertaining) but also as a standing ruling — a decision on who is allowed to challenge a lower court ruling — it was a decisive smackdown that will discourage others from this tactic for a good while.
Over at DoubleThink Online, dear gay libertarian Bruce Majors has the best summary I’ve ever read of the major arguments for and against marriage equality. I’m very honored that he writes I am the first to make one of them (read the whole thing):
But my favorite argument in the debate, and one of the newer ones, was elaborated by blogger Cynthia Yockey (A Conservative Lesbian) just a couple of years ago. Ms. Yockey notes that some churches (synagogues, etc.), like the gay oriented Protestant Metropolitan Community Churches, perform gay marriage. So if the government defines a church sacrament, marriage, to mean only one set of churches (and their sacraments) are recognized in the law, and other churches and their sacraments are not, the government has established a church (or set of churches) as approved State churches. This is a violation of the First Amendment. Ms. Yockey concludes that gay marriage must be legally recognized because of the First Amendment clause supporting freedom of religion and prohibiting the establishment of a state church.While I wholly agree with Ms. Yockey, and take delight both in her original argument and in the fact that I am friends with someone who has produced an original argument, I also would like to emphasize my corollary to her argument: traditional marriage (at least state establishment of traditional marriage) also violates the First Amendment.
I’m also the first person to point out that the anti-gay religions funding and driving the opposition to marriage equality are after a much bigger prize than denying equality to lesbians and gays. To wit, the anti-gay churches have as their ultimate goal grabbing from government ALL the powers over married couples, both civil and religious, in order to gain virtually absolute contrfollowers. For example, under the Catholic definition of marriage, Catholics cannot divorce. However, thanks to the government’s control of the civil rights of marriage, which levels the playing field regarding all religions, Catholics CAN divorce AND re-marry, and their church only gets to deny/stigmatize their subsequent marriage(s) but not preclude them.