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GAY MARRIAGE

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State Tennesssee judge upholds gay marriage ban

Talking Points Memo - A state judge in Tennessee has upheld a law banning recognition of same-sex marriages, snapping the extraordinary winning streak for marriage equality in several dozen state and federal courts since the Supreme Court ruling U.S. v. Windsor in June 2013.

Circuit Court Judge Russell E. Simmons ruled that Tennessee need not recognize the union of Frederick Michael Borman and Larry Kevin Pyles-Borman, who married in August 2010 in Iowa. The judge invoked Tennessee's state laws defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

"Tennessee's laws further provide that if another state allows persons to marriage who are prohibited from marriage in Tennessee, then that marriage is void and unenforceable in Tennessee," he wrote in a ruling.

Study: Children in same sex marriages healthier and happier

The largest-ever study of same-sex parents found their children turn out healthier and happier than the general population.

A new study of 315 same-sex parents and 500 children in Australia found that, after correcting for socioeconomic factors, the children fared well on several measures, including asthma, dental care, behavioral issues, learning, sleep, and speech.

""what this means is that people take on roles that are suited to their skill sets rather than falling into those gender stereotypes""

At the same time, two-thirds of the parents reported a perceived stigma on at least one issue tracked by the survey. These stigmas ranged from other people gossiping about an LGBT family to same-sex parents feeling excluded at social gatherings due to their sexual orientation.

Perceived stigmas were associated with worse scores for physical activity, mental health, family cohesion, and emotional outcomes. The stigmas, however, were not prevalent enough to negatively tilt the children's outcomes in a comparison to outcomes across the general population.

The study, however, comes with some caveats. The findings are based on reports from the parents who agreed to the survey, which could skew the results. The survey also focused on Australian same-sex parents, so there may be social and cultural factors at play that wouldn't apply perfectly to America's gay and lesbian parents. And the study doesn't compare same-sex parents directly with opposite-sex parents; it instead compares same-sex parents and their children to the general population.

A federal appeals court has joined 16 federal courts in approving gay marriage

Percentage of Democrats over sixty-five who support same-sex marriage: 62 .... Of Republicans under thirty who do: 61

Court case: Gay marriage ban is religious oppression

RNS - The United Church of Christ sued the state of North Carolina over its constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, saying the 2012 amendment violates the religious freedom of its clergy.

The liberal denomination of some one million members is the first in the country to attack a same-sex marriage ban on religious freedom grounds, taking a cue from religious conservatives who used the same argument over the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

In 1972, the UCC was the first denomination in the United States to ordain an openly gay pastor, and in 2005 was the first to endorse the fledgling movement to allow civil marriage for same-sex couples.

The suit asks the federal courts in the Western District of North Carolina to strike down the ban, which was passed by state voters. It argues that the ban limits clergy choices and violates the principle of “free exercise of religion” by requiring clergy to minister to one segment of the public.

A dozen non-UCC clergy and same-sex couples joined the suit.

“By preventing our same-sex congregants from forming their own families, the North Carolina ban on same-sex marriage burdens my ability and the ability of my congregation to form a faith community of our choosing consistent with the principles of our faith,” said the Rev. Nancy Petty, pastor of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, who joined the lawsuit.

As part of the state ban, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor for a minister to perform a marriage ceremony for a couple that hasn’t obtained a civil marriage license. In addition, the law allows anyone to sue the minister who performs a marriage ceremony without a license.

Federal judge rules Ohio gay marriage ban unconstitutional

Michigan gay marriage ban struck down

Justice Department to give married gay couples equal protection

2013


HUFFINGTON POST

Illinois governor signs same-sex marriage into law

Hawaii becomes 15th state to approve gay marriage

Pennsylvania governor compares gay marriage to incest

Pennsylvania compares gay marriage to 12 year olds getting married

Catholics now big supporters of same sex marriage


GOD'S PHOTOS

2012

Federal Judge Rules Nevada Can Ban Same-Sex Couples From Marriage

Obama bails out on gay marriage reform

Marriage equality case hits federal appeals court

Why a gay marriage ban is unconstitutional

IMGUR

Big businesses helping gay marriage drive

Federal judge rules DOMA unconstitutional

Gay marriage now legal in Washington state

The remarkably weak California case against gay marriage

Appeals court strikes down California's gay marriage ban

2011

72 mayors announce coalition to support marriage equality

Testimony

19 year old Zach Wahls tells the Iowa legislature why there's nothing wrong with gay marriage

DECEMBER 2007

SOME REASON GAY MARRIAGE IS UNAMERICAN

NOVEMBER 2007

WHY IS THE GOVERNMENT IN THE MARRIAGE BUSINESS AT ALL?

AUGUST 2007


CIVIL UNIONS EXISTED IN MEDIAEVAL TIMES

SCIENTIFIC BLOGGING - Opponents of gay marriage in the United States state that nuclear families have always been the standard household form. Turns out this may not be true. While gay marriage itself may not have happened in medieval times there is evidence that homosexual civil unions did and that could lend important historical insight to the debate.

Allan A. Tulchin of Shippensburg University writes on the topic in the September issue of Journal of Modern History and reviews historical evidence, including documents and gravesites, suggesting that homosexual civil unions may have existed 600 years ago in France. . .

As an example, he states in late medieval France the term 'affrèrement' - roughly translated as 'brotherment' - was used to refer to a certain type of legal contract, which also existed elsewhere in Mediterranean Europe. . . The new "brothers" pledged to live together sharing 'un pain, un vin, et une bourse' - one bread, one wine, and one purse. As Tulchin notes, "The model for these household arrangements is that of two or more brothers who have inherited the family home on an equal basis from their parents and who will continue to live together, just as they did when they were children." But at the same time, "the affrèrement was not only for brothers," since many other people, including relatives and non-relatives, used it.

http://www.scientificblogging.com/news/homosexual_civil_unions_an_old_tradition

FEBRUARY 2007

INITIATIVE WOULD DEFEND MARRIAGE BY DEMANDING PROOF OF PROCREATION

WDMA - The Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance seeks to defend equal marriage in this state by challenging the Washington Supreme Court's ruling on Andersen v. King County. This decision, given in July 2006, declared that a "legitimate state interest" allows the Legislature to limit marriage to those couples able to have and raise children together. Because of this "legitimate state interest," it is permissible to bar same-sex couples from legal marriage.

The way we are challenging Andersen is unusual: using the initiative, we are working to put the court's ruling into law. We will do this through three initiatives. The first would make procreation a requirement for legal marriage. The second would prohibit divorce or legal separation when there are children. The third would make the act of having a child together the legal equivalent of a marriage ceremony.

By getting the initiatives passed, we hope the Supreme Court will strike them down as unconstitutional and thus weaken Andersen itself. And at the very least, it should be good fun to see the social conservatives who have long screamed that marriage exists for the sole purpose of procreation be forced to choke on their own rhetoric. Initiative 957

If passed by Washington voters, the Defense of Marriage Initiative would:

- add the phrase, "who are capable of having children with one another" to the legal definition of marriage

- require that couples married in Washington file proof of procreation within three years of the date of marriage or have their marriage automatically annulled

- require that couples married out of state file proof of procreation within three years of the date of marriage or have their marriage classed as "unrecognized;"

- establish a process for filing proof of procreation

- make it a criminal act for people in an unrecognized marriage to receive marriage benefits.

http://www.wa-doma.org/Default.aspx

DECEMBER 2006

THE REAL REASON MARRIAGE MAY BE IN TROUBLE

SAVAGE MINDS - To anthropologists, the way marriage is discussed and deployed in these debates is laughable. We know that marriage as conceptualized by the American religious right at the dawn of the 21st century is neither the only - or even a particularly common - form of marriage in the world, nor the way marriage has always been in our own society. The Biblical marriage that religious conservatives hold up as their example and guiding principle would be (and is) almost universally condemned by today's Christians. Jacob, the central patriarch of the Biblical Hebrews, would be jailed as a bigamist today; the acceptance of Utah into the Union on the condition that they outlaw polygamy is demonstration enough that we view Biblical marriage norms as literally un-American. Marriage today is drastically different than it was even a century ago, even a half-century ago. A small extremist fringe contingent apart, few Americans would consider the marriage-as-property-arrangement attitude of the 19th century to be truly reflective of our modern notions of freedom and individual fulfillment. And hardly anyone would advocate a return to the way marriage was in the 1950's, when teen pregnancy was at its peak and fully 1 of 3 marriages involved a pregnant bride. Whatever one thinks of single parenting, I find it unlikely that most Americans would prefer marriage to be thought of primarily as something teenagers do when they get knocked up.

Be that as it may, I think conservatives are right about one thing: if the institution of marriage is going to survive, it does need defending. Not because marriage is the only or best source of truly moral living, but precisely the opposite: marriage is increasingly irrelevant in modern society. In the absence of many good reasons for marriage to even exist, those who value it as a tradition are going to be more and more hard-pressed to perpetuate it. . .

For the most part, marriage is meaningful in societies where food-production is labor-intensive and dependent on carefully-monitored social rules, which means mainly agricultural and pastoral (herding) societies. . . Marriage is so important in these kinds of society because the need for social networks through which labor and trading can be arranged is so important. . .

Close bonds between families are precisely what you do not want in an industrial society dependent on the mobility of labor to survive. Anthropologists have long noted that modern Westerners have much more similarity to foragers such as the Ju'/huansi and Hadza of Africa than we do to our pre-industrial ancestors of just a few generations ago. Foragers are typically organized into small, highly mobile groups whose membership fluctuates as the availability of resources changes - groups may swell during times of plentiful resources, and break up into smaller when resources get scarcer. . . .

Time was when the nuclear family - a man, his wife, and their 2 - 3 children- was the natural ideal for life in an industrial society. The needs of the household - income, procurement of goods, child-rearing, food-preparation, social involvement, housekeeping - were split up between the husband and wife, allowing the man to participate as fully as possible in the labor market while passing the responsibility for reproduction of both his labor (feeding, clothing, and taking care of him so he can go back to work the next day) and of society as a whole (creating a new generation of labor so the society can continue to function) to the woman. But this ideal was scarce - peaking at just over 50% of American households in the '50s and '60s and accounting for only a quarter of US households today - and dependent on a whole range of social, economic, and political interventions in the operation of the market that today are branded by many "un-American": strong labor unions, strong government regulation of business practices, heavy government investment in education, legal limitations on divorce and adultery, government-subsidized housing development and welfare systems, and so on. . .

If we run down the functions that anthropologists typically cite for marriage, we see that other institutions in our society meet nearly all of them, often better than marriage itself does. . . The huge number of single mothers (and much smaller number of single fathers) show that child-rearing can be performed quite effectively outside of marriage, and much of our child-rearing is handled by schools and other institutions anyway. Sexual access has already moved far beyond the bounds of marriage, with nearly every American having sexual relations outside of marriage at some point in their lives. Finally, the emotional satisfaction and sense of security that can be provided by marriage is apparently fleeting, with half of all marriages ending in divorce, and a goodly number of marriages harboring psychological, physical, and sexual abuse. Many people today find just as satisfying relationships with partners to whom they are not married, whether by legal restriction (e.g. same-sex partners) or by choice.

http://savageminds.org/2006/06/21/the-end-of-marriage/

JUNE 2006

POCKET PARADIGM

The simple solution: if you don't like gay marriage, don't marry a gay. - Sam Smith

SENATORIAL INQUIRY

Sam Smith

1. The Ten Commandments outlaw killing and adultery but that doesn't seem to bother your colleagues as much as gay marriage. Why do you think the Ten Commandments are less important to them than the gay marriage?

2. Would you accept a compromise in which we outlawed not only gay marriages but support of deadly wars or cheating on your wife? If not, why not?

3. The Ten Commandants say "You can work during the six weekdays and do all your tasks. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God your Lord. Do not do anything that constitutes work. [This includes] you, your son, your daughter, your slave, your maid, your animal, and the foreigner in your gates." You have not yet formalized this into a constitutional amendment and so your maids, slaves, animals and proximate foreigners are running around hog wild on Sundays. Isn't this more dangerous than a few gays getting married and shouldn't you tackle it first?

4. Exodus tells us to kill those who work on Sunday. This seems to conflict with the federal code, not to mention the Ten Commandments. Shouldn't we worry more about the need for increased Seventh Day slaughter than about gay marriage?

4. Since religions differ sharply on this issue, if this amendment passes it will directly conflict with the First Amendment which says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Which one should we then follow?

5. Since Republicans believe so firmly in the sanctity of marriage, how do you explain the following from the New York Daily News in August 2004: "With thousands of Republicans set to invade the city this summer, high-priced escorts and strippers are preparing for one grand old party. Agencies are flying in extra call girls from around the globe to meet the expected demand during the Aug. 30-Sept. 2 gathering at Madison Square Garden."

6. Explain the moral difference between a Republican politician opposing gay marriage and one participating in gay sex which, according to police and news reports, happens from time to time. Do we need an amendment preserving the sanctity of illicit sex?

7. If this were 1956 instead of 2006, would you have supported a ban on inter-racial marriages, which most states had? How does the current amendment differ in spirit - rather than merely the target - from the one proposed in 1911: "Intermarriage between negroes or persons of color and Caucasians . . . within the United States . . . is forever prohibited."

8. Have you ever had contact with a woman during her period of menstrual uncleanliness, something outlawed by the Bible? Should we have a constitutional amendment to prevent this sort of thing from happening again?

9. How would you deal with the issue raised by Professor Emeritus James Kaufman of the University of Virginia: "Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations." Do you think this biblical right should be also codified in a constitutional amendment? How will this affect our plans for construction of a border wall?

10. Leviticus reminds us of other sins far more prevalent than gay marriage. For example, "These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat. And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you. . . ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcasses in abomination." Do we need a constitutional amendment to ban the eating of shrimp, crab, lobster, clams & mussels?

11. Homosexuality has been found by scientists in 450 other species. Isn't it a bit late to be trying to suppress it in ours?

12. If gay marriages produce some gay children, why do heterosexual marriages do the same?

13. Since we're going back to first principles, would you mind adding a section that makes wives the husband's property?

14. Which of these other steps - all Biblically endorsed - should be taken to preserve the sanctity of marriage: allowing men to take on concubines in addition to their wives, stoning to death any new wife found not to be a virgin, requiring women to marry the man who raped them, banning interfaith marriages, and banning divorce?

15. Given the foregoing, is it fair to describe those pushing the marriage amendment as heretical, hypocritical and blasphemous Christians? History shows that such people are far more dangerous, on average, than gays. Shouldn't we do something about them before we worry about those gay weddings?

THE SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE IN THE NATION'S CAPITAL

AN exchange on the DC History bulletin board on why Washington attracted so many weddings reveals just how the sanctity of marriage used to be observed in the nation's capital right under the nose of the sort of legislators now demanding a constitutional amendment to preserve the sanctity of marriage. In fact, DC at the time was both under the complete control of Congress and a sort of East Coast Vegas

MICHAEL WASSERMAN - Based on my review of the statute applicable between 1901 and 1925, it seems to me that the reason [for easy marriages in DC] was the combination of (1) the slight requirements for obtaining a marriage license; (2) the absence of any waiting period or residency requirement; (3) the apparent validity under D.C. law of even an unlicensed marriage; (4) the rather small penalty imposed on the officiant of an unlicensed marriage (up to a $500 fine, no possibility of jail); (5) the apparent absence of any penalty on the parties to an unlicensed marriage; (6) the low age of consent for a valid marriage (16 for males and 14 for females); (7) the absence of any requirement for witnesses. . .

Section 1291 specified the requirements for obtaining a license from the clerk of the court. All that was needed was for the parties to answer under oath a series of questions regarding their identity and capacity to marry each other: ages, consanguinity, prior marriage, parental consent if under age (21 for men, 18 for women). If the questions are answered correctly, the clerk must issue a license.

Section 1288 allowed marriages to be celebrated by any "minister of the gospel"--who needn't be a resident of the District--"authorized by any justice of the supreme court of the District of Columbia," which was the trial court with general jurisdiction. The 1904 amendment made provision for members of religious societies "which does not by its custom require the intervention of a minister for celebration of marriages."

There doesn't seem to have even been a requirement that the marriage be witnessed by anyone other than the officiant.

Moreover, if the boy were between 16 and 21 or the girl between 14 and 18, but didn't have parental consent, they could still get married without a license as long as they found a "minister of the gospel" (previously authorized by a justice) who was willing to run the risk of a $500 fine, imposed by section 1290. (Of course, the minister was likely to be the only resident of the District who witnessed the "crime," although even that wasn't necessarily so.)

Sections 1283 and 1284 specify which marriages are absolutely void or merely voidable after judicial decree. Neither includes the absence of a license. Only purported marriages involving incest or bigamy were absolutely ineffectual. Marriages could be judicially declared void based only on mental or physical incapacity (i.e., inability to consent to or consummate a marriage) or if consent of a party was obtained by fraud. The fourth paragraph of section 1284 (added in 1902) specifically declares the age of consent to marriage to be 16 for males and 14 for females, and makes marriages in which one party is under age voidable at the suit of the party.

Section 1290 is the only section dealing with the consequence of the absence of a license. It provided: "No person authorized hereby to celebrate the rites of marriage shall do so in any case without first having delivered to him a license therefor addressed to him issued from the clerk's office ..., under a penalty of not more than five hundred dollars, in the discretion of the court, to be recovered upon information in the police court of the District." In fact, it may have been possible for anyone to "celebrate" a valid marriage, because section 1289 provides that anyone without proper authorization under section 1288 was subject merely to a $500 fine as well. It does not address whether the marriage so celebrated was or was not otherwise valid.

So, if you wanted to get married quickly and with a minimum of fuss -- and questions, D.C. was the place to be.

WILLIAM WRIGHT - Though there were couples from Pennsylvania and elsewhere, including New York, the majority of those coming here seemed to be from Virginia; there was even what the Post called the "Cupid Special," a train from Richmond that arrived every spring for more than twenty years. Most women on the train who were identified were under 21, but there were some exceptions.

http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/~dclist/

ANOTHER PROBLEM: LAWS CAN'T DEFINE 'MAN' & 'WOMAN'

WILLIAM O. BEEMAN, PACIFIC NEWS SERVICE - There are at least three ways one might try to codify gender under law -- biologically, psychologically and culturally. On close inspection, all of them fail.

Biologically, one must choose either secondary sexual characteristics -- things like facial hair for men or breast development for women -- or genetic testing as defining markers of gender. Neither method is clear-cut. Some women show male secondary characteristics, and vice versa. Before puberty, things are not necessarily any clearer. A significant proportion of all babies have ambiguous gender development. It has been long-standing -- and now, increasingly, controversial -- medical practice to surgically "reassign" such babies shortly after birth so that they will have only one set of sexual organs . . . .

Psychologically, another dilemma for those who seek to codify gender is the condition known as gender dysphoria, in which a person feels that their true gender is the opposite of that in which they were born. These individuals are often referred to as "transgendered." Some experts estimate as many as 1.2 million Americans are transgendered. Gender dysphoria is a matter of personal identity and has nothing to do with sexual orientation. A male-to-female transgendered person may be attracted to women or to men. . . .

Finally, human societies around the world recognize individuals who are culturally female or culturally male no matter what their physical gender. The "berdache" is an umbrella term used by Europeans to designate a man who is culturally classified as a woman, and who may be a "wife" to another man. The practice is perhaps best known among the Zuñ Indians of Arizona, but is widely seen in other tribal groups as well. Outside of North America, the hijra of India, a cultural "third gender," is important in ceremonial life. Hijra are classified as "neither man nor woman,"

http://news.pacificnews.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=d3362852002e314524ffb9ac8eac3c91

http://www.godhatesshrimp.com/

http://prorev.com/gaywed.htm

FEBRUARY 2006

GAY MARRIAGE IS GOOD FOR HEALTH

BBC - Gay marriage could boost the mental and physical health of homosexuals, doctors believe. Rates of depression, drug abuse and cancer are higher in the gay community than among heterosexual people. The report said civil partnerships, which were introduced in England and Wales in December, were likely to reduce prejudice and social exclusion. The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health article was based on previous studies in other countries.

Professor Michael King, of University College London, who co-wrote the article, said: "Civil partnerships are likely to break down some of the prejudice and promote greater understanding, including among staff working in the health service. Legal civil partnerships could increase the stability of same sex relationships and minimize the social exclusion to which gay and lesbian people are often subjected."

Research has shown that lesbians have higher risk of breast cancer, heart disease and obesity, while gay men have a higher risk of HIV, the article said.
Gay people are also more likely to suffer from depression, drug abuse and suicidal urges than heterosexual people.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4708710.stm

JULY 2004

PRESERVING THE SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE GOP STYLE

JOSE MARTINEZ, NY DAILY NEWS - With thousands of Republicans set to invade the city this summer, high-priced escorts and strippers are preparing for one grand old party. Agencies are flying in extra call girls from around the globe to meet the expected demand during the Aug. 30-Sept. 2 gathering at Madison Square Garden. "We have girls from London, Seattle, California, all coming in for that week," said a madam at a Manhattan escort service. "It's the week everyone wants to work." "It's going to be big," agreed one operator at a midtown escort service. . .

JUNE 2004

MAY 2004

LATIN0 COALITION OPPOSES MARRIAGE BAN

PATRICK LETELLIER, PLANET OUT - A coalition of Latino civil rights leaders and organizations declared their opposition Wednesday to the proposed U.S. constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. At a press conference on Capitol Hill, coalition organizers condemned the amendment and emphasized the longstanding support for gay civil rights in America's Latino communities.

The event began with a video clip of United Farm Workers leader Cesar Chavez addressing a crowd of several hundred thousand at the 1987 march for gay rights in Washington, D.C. "We want to shatter the notion that Latinos do not support civil rights for gays and lesbians," said Martin Ornelas-Quintero, director of the National Latina/o Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Organization, which organized the event. "Our leaders and people have been supportive of gay rights for decades," he said. . . A Field Poll of California voters in February found that 57 percent of Latinos opposed amending the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriages, while only 53 percent of non-Hispanic whites opposed the amendment.

APRIL 2004

VIRGINIA IS FOR HATERS

VIFH - The Virginia General Assembly passed a law April 21 banning all contracts between partners in homosexual relationships. Not just marriage, all contracts. At the center of HB 751 is this language:

"A civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement between persons of the same sex purporting to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage is prohibited. Any such civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement entered into by persons of the same sex in another state or jurisdiction shall be void in all respects in Virginia and any contractual rights created thereby shall be void and unenforceable."

This law not only prohibits civil marriage between same-sex partners, but actively seeks invalidate any and all legal contracts between these individuals. Durable powers of attorney, health care directives, even wills and property contracts are at jeopardy now that this law has been passed.

We aim to make being based in Virginia just as difficult for companies as it is for gay and lesbian couples. Did these companies do anything wrong themselves? Probably not. Nothing more wrong than the gay couples whose rights the Commonwealth of Virginia is abrogating. If these companies find our efforts unjust, they can take their newly sharpened sense of justice to the General Assembly and plead for redress--and for the withdrawal of HB 751. There are lots of companies with significant operations in Virginia. We're starting with an easy (if altogether innocent) target, J. Crew, a company many of us have patronized generously throughout the years. (That's right, boys and girls, until Virginia wakes up and restores the rule of law, no self-respecting homo will be seen in a roll-neck sweater or barn jacket.)

WITNESS LIST FOR MARRIAGE HEARINGS

NICK GILLESPIE, HIT & RUN - As Senate Republicans get set to execute a "full-court push to educate the public on the importance of marriage" by holding interminable hearings on the topic, they'll no doubt be looking for matrimonially friendly witnesses from the GOP ranks. Among the individual sessions they'll be running over the next few weeks are "Healthy Marriage: What is it and why should we promote it?"; "The Benefits of Healthy Marriage"; and "What social science can tell us about marriage, divorce and children."

No doubt the first witness on their list was the Senate's own sexual Iron Man, the multiply hitched and notoriously priapic segregationist Sen. Strom "Sperm" Thurmond (R-S.C.). But he's dead, missed even by the love child who posthumously complicated Strom's grotesque legacy of fomenting race-based hate in this sweet land of liberty.

But if the Senate is willing to dip into America's House of Commons, they can always interview folks like Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) about how important marriage is. Or better yet, ask the Hoosier's illegitimate kid about how important parents can be--especially, parents who actually acknowledge and support their out-of-wedlock children.

And the Senate Republicans might call in former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich for some riveting Whittaker Chambers-style testimony about the desanctification of marriage from one who knows the real deal. Gingrich, who doesn't seem to be doing very much these days anyway, once railed against Democrats for espousing "Woody Allen family values." That was back when Newt was only on wife number two (the one he married after dumping wife number one, his former high school math teacher). Now that he's on number three (happily wed to a former staffer), he surely has plenty of insight on the marriage issue.

As do a raft of other Republicans, including short-lived Speaker of the House and phone-sex freak Bob Livingston; former Sen. Helen Chenoweth (who helped put the 'ho back in Idaho during an extramarital affair for which she says God has forgiven her); Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.); and many more, no doubt to be named later by Larry Flynt after he stops fighting with fellow pornographer Rob Black over Reason's May cover story (on newsstands now).

LETTER TO DR. LAURA

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. ... End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Law and how to follow them:

1. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2. The passage clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/poly). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan,

James M. Kauffman, Ed.D.
Professor Emeritus
University of Virginia

THE HISTORY OF MARRIAGE ISN'T WHAT THE RIGHT THINKS

JOHN BORNEMAN AND LAURIE KAIN HART IN WASHINGTON POST - In the 1860s New York lawyer and anthropologist Louis Henry Morgan attempted a systematic cross-cultural study of the institution of marriage. Morgan's data were imperfect, but he was able to demonstrate that the record of human societies showed a startling diversity of socially approved forms of marriage. All societies had some form of regularized partnership, but no single standard human form could be identified. Generally, even within a society, there was a certain elasticity of marriage forms.

The most famous of these unions were the ones most foreign to Western Victorian society: marriage between a woman and several men; marriage between a man and several women; forms of "visiting" marriage, whereby a man might visit his wife but not live with her. As anthropologists assembled more reliable data, they found it difficult to produce a definition of human marriage that would hold true for all its socially legitimate forms. . .

As for sex, rarely if ever has marriage been able to restrict its varied practice to the relation of man and wife. In most cases, anthropologists agreed, what counted was that some socially approved form of marriage provided a secure place for the child in the social order.

But marriage has not been solely about children. In most societies known to us, everyone marries; it is an expected rite of passage and part of the normal life course of all adults. Only in post-classical Western societies do we find high numbers of unmarried people. Unlike other peoples, we consider marriage -- however desirable or undesirable -- optional.

MARCH 2004

SOME THINK GAY MARRIAGES ARE BORING

MICHAEL POWELL WASHINGTON POST - Some days, as he watches gay men button their tuxes and lesbians slip into wedding gowns, gay rights activist William Dobbs feels like screaming. "Some gay activist in California called for mass civil disobedience until we get the right to marry," Dobbs said, his voice growing louder. "God! What could be more dreary?" . . .

"Our movement has become about lusting for weddings and lavender picket fences," he said. "It's so embarrassing -- I feel like turning in my gay card." The gay rights activists and theorists and feminists who critique the campaign from the left are the voices less often heard in the battle over gay marriage. These critics are not opposed to gay marriage -- none would deny the emotional tug of marriage for tens of thousands of gay couples. But they are mortified at the fate of a revolution pasteurized. They wonder what happened to championing sexual freedom and universal health care, and upending patriarchy?

As the gay revolution moves from leather bars and ACT UP sit-ins to the marriage registry at Bed Bath & Beyond, the middle-class makeover can be disorienting. Jim Eigo, a radical gay rights activist, framed the dilemma a few years back: "What's the use of being queer if you can't be different?"

IT’S NOT JUST GAYS WHO ARE AN ABOMINATION
GOD ALSO HATES SHRIMP, CRAB, LOBSTER, CLAMS & MUSSELS

GOD HATES SHRIMP - Shrimp, crab, lobster, clams, mussels, all these are an abomination before the Lord, just as gays are an abomination. Why stop at protesting gay marriage? Bring all of God's law unto the heathens and the sodomites. We call upon all Christians to join the crusade against Long John Silver's and Red Lobster. Yea, even Popeye's shall be cleansed. The name of Bubba shall be anathema. We must stop the unbelievers from destroying the sanctity of our restaurants.

Leviticus 11:9-12 says: "These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat. And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcasses in abomination. Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.

Deuteronomy 14:9-10 says: "These ye shall eat of all that are in the waters: all that have fins and scales shall ye eat: And whatsoever hath not fins and scales ye may not eat; it is unclean unto you."

INTERRACIAL MARRIAGE BANS SHINES LIGHT ON ANTI-GAY EFFORTS

IF HOMOSEXUALITY IS TRULY UNNATURAL, WHY DOES IT OCCUR IN 450 DIFFERENT SPECIES?

TIL BUSH DO US PART

WONKETTE - Right after Bush announced his support of the amendment declaring gays and lesbians to count as 3/5 of a person, we heard rumblings about gay administration appointees resigning en masse. Apparently, he has: The Washington Blade reports that Donald Capoccia has stepped down in protest over the proposed amendment.

FROM A PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT, 1911: Intermarriage between negros or persons of color and Caucasians . . . within the United States . . . is forever prohibited.

RENFORD REESE, THE SOCIO-POLITICAL CONTEXT OF THE INTEGRATION OF SPORT IN AMERICA: Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion, he held the heavyweight title for seven years before losing it Jess Willard in Cuba in 1915. [The famous James Earl Jones' movie "The Great White Hope" was based on Johnson's life.] Johnson had a profound effect on race relations. His flamboyant personality and his incessant appetite for confrontation and white women ultimately led to his demise. Johnson married three white women and had numerous affairs with others. He was fearless and had little respect for the conventions of the day.

It was this behavior that earned him the name "Bad Nigger." A bad nigger, in black folklore, was a black man who did not play by the rules of convention; they dressed well and had unquenchable sex drives. They lived hedonistic lifestyles with a blatant disregard for death or danger. The term was used a badge of reverence among blacks.

In December of 1908, Johnson beat Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia for the heavy weigh title. In 1910, he beat former heavyweight champion, Jim Jeffries so badly that it humiliated whites. Not only did he beat him, but he taunted him and rubbed in the face of white Americans. Race riots ensued all over America as a result of this event.

Because of Johnson's arrogance and love for white women, many whites considered him a serious threat to racial order. After Johnson married Lucille Cameron (a white woman), two ministers in the South recommended lynching him. In a reaction to the Johnson-Cameron marriage, in 1911 Rep. Seaborn Roddenberry of Georgia introduced a constitutional amendment to ban interracial marriages. In his appeal to congress, Roddenberry stated that "Intermarriage between whites and blacks is repulsive and averse to every sentiment of pure American spirit. It is abhorrent and repugnant. It is subversive to social peace. It is destructive of moral supremacy, and ultimately this slavery to black beasts will bring this nation to a fatal conflict". Influenced by Roddenberry and others, miscegenation bills were introduced in 1913 in half of the twenty states where this law did not exist.

INTERNET SIGHTINGS
WHY HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE SHOULDN'T BE LEGAL

Homosexuality is not natural, much like eyeglasses, polyester, and birth control.

Heterosexual marriages are valid because they produce children. Infertile couples and old people can't legally get married because the world needs more children.

Obviously, gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage is allowed, since Britney Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage was meaningful.

Heterosexual marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are property, blacks can't marry whites, and divorce is illegal.

Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets.

Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why single parents are forbidden to raise children.

TIL BUSH DO WE PART

WONKETTE - Stop Him Before He Marries Again - The mayor of New Paltz, NY has been charged with 19 criminal counts for marrying same-sex couples. So this is what people were talking about when they referred to the "same-sex marriage frenzy." He is accused of "solemnizing a marriage without a license," which does sound kinda dirty. Anyways, we're just glad this serial solemnizer has been stopped. Who knows how many couples he could have united in a lifelong pledge of commitment, or what kind of bridesmaids dresses they would have made friends buy? (Meanwhile, the guy who married my parents is walking around a free man.)

ANDREW JACOBS, NY TIMES - Georgia's headlong rush to block gay marriages through a constitutional amendment has been stalled, for the moment, by an unlikely group of legislators: black members of the House of Representatives, many of them church deacons and ministers who already support the state's laws banning same-sex marriage. Last week, they provided 39 of 50 no votes and abstentions that helped the measure fall 3 votes short of the 120 needed for passage... "In my 30 years in the legislature, I don't think I've seen a vote so close and so impassioned," said Representative Calvin Smyre, chairman of the House Rules Committee, who is black. The battle over gay marriage here has put African-American lawmakers in a difficult position with voters and placed them in stark contrast to their white Democratic colleagues, most of whom have joined Republicans in calling for a constitutional bulwark against same-sex marriage. Many constituents, including their hometown church leaders, have been clamoring for them to approve the measure, but the state's Legislative Black Caucus has largely come to see it as denigrating a minority while playing into the hands of conservative Republicans seeking to spark a large turnout of their base in November. "I'm a pastor and I don't support gay marriage, but I resent people playing political football with our religious beliefs," said Representative Ron Sailor Jr., a Democrat whose suburban Atlanta district contains some of the state's largest and most conservative black churches.

FEBRUARY 2004

IN DEFENSE OF BIBLICAL MARRIAGE

PROTESTANTS FOR THE COMMON GOOD -- The Presidential Prayer Team is currently urging us to: "Pray for the President as he seeks wisdom on how to legally codify the definition of marriage. Pray that it will be according to Biblical principles. With any forces insisting on variant definitions of marriage, pray that God's Word and His standards will be honored by our government." This is true.

Any good religious person believes prayer should be balanced by action. So here, in support of the Prayer Team's admirable goals, is a proposed Constitutional Amendment codifying marriage entirely on biblical principles:

A. Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women. (Gen 29:17-28; II Sam 3:2-5)

B. Marriage shall not impede a man's right to take concubines, in addition to his wife or wives. (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chron 11:21)

C. A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed. (Deut 22:13-21)

D. Marriage of a believer and a non-believer shall be forbidden. (Gen 24:3; Num 25:1-9; Ezra 9:12; Neh 10:30)

E. Since marriage is for life, neither this Constitution nor the constitution of any State, nor any state or federal law, shall be construed to permit divorce. (Deut 22:19; Mark 10:9)

F. If a married man dies without children, his brother shall marry the widow. If he refuses to marry his brother's widow or deliberately does not give her children, he shall pay a fine of one shoe, and be otherwise punished in a manner to be determined by law. (Gen. 38:6-10; Deut 25:5-10)

G. In lieu of marriage, if there are no acceptable men in your town, it is required that you get your dad drunk and have sex with him (even if he had previously offered you up as a sex toy to men young and old), tag-teaming with any sisters you may have. Of course, this rule applies only if you are female. (Gen 19:31-36)

RECOVERED HISTORY
THE SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE IN THE NATION'S CAPITAL

A RECENT exchange on the DC History bulletin board on why Washington attracted so many weddings reveals just how the sanctity of marriage used to be observed in the nation's capital right under the nose of the sort of legislators now demanding a constitutional amendment to preserve the sanctity of marriage.

MICHAEL WASSERMAN - Based on my review of the statute applicable between 1901 and 1925, it seems to me that the reason was the combination of (1) the slight requirements for obtaining a marriage license; (2) the absence of any waiting period or residency requirement; (3) the apparent validity under D.C. law of even an unlicensed marriage; (4) the rather small penalty imposed on the officiant of an unlicensed marriage (up to a $500 fine, no possibility of jail); (5) the apparent absence of any penalty on the parties to an unlicensed marriage; (6) the low age of consent for a valid marriage (16 for males and 14 for females); (7) the absence of any requirement for witnesses. . .

Section 1291 specified the requirements for obtaining a license from the clerk of the court. All that was needed was for the parties to answer under oath a series of questions regarding their identity and capacity to marry each other: ages, consanguinity, prior marriage, parental consent if under age (21 for men, 18 for women). If the questions are answered correctly, the clerk must issue a license.

Section 1288 allowed marriages to be celebrated by any "minister of the gospel"--who needn't be a resident of the District--"authorized by any justice of the supreme court of the District of Columbia," which was the trial court with general jurisdiction. The 1904 amendment made provision for members of religious societies "which does not by its custom require the intervention of a minister for celebration of marriages."

There doesn't seem to have even been a requirement that the marriage be witnessed by anyone other than the officiant.

Moreover, if the boy were between 16 and 21 or the girl between 14 and 18, but didn't have parental consent, they could still get married without a license as long as they found a "minister of the gospel" (previously authorized by a justice) who was willing to run the risk of a $500 fine, imposed by section 1290. (Of course, the minister was likely to be the only resident of the District who witnessed the "crime," although even that wasn't necessarily so.)

Sections 1283 and 1284 specify which marriages are absolutely void or merely voidable after judicial decree. Neither includes the absence of a license. Only purported marriages involving incest or bigamy were absolutely ineffectual. Marriages could be judicially declared void based only on mental or physical incapacity (i.e., inability to consent to or consummate a marriage) or if consent of a party was obtained by fraud. The fourth paragraph of section 1284 (added in 1902) specifically declares the age of consent to marriage to be 16 for males and 14 for females, and makes marriages in which one party is under age voidable at the suit of the party.

Section 1290 is the only section dealing with the consequence of the absence of a license. It provided: "No person authorized hereby to celebrate the rites of marriage shall do so in any case without first having delivered to him a license therefor addressed to him issued from the clerk's office ..., under a penalty of not more than five hundred dollars, in the discretion of the court, to be recovered upon information in the police court of the District." In fact, it may have been possible for anyone to "celebrate" a valid marriage, because section 1289 provides that anyone without proper authorization under section 1288 was subject merely to a $500 fine as well. It does not address whether the marriage so celebrated was or was not otherwise valid.

So, if you wanted to get married quickly and with a minimum of fuss -- and questions, D.C. was the place to be.

WILLIAM WRIGHT - Thanks to all of you who had information about what would have made DC the East Coast version of Las Vegas, and some additional research confirmed most of the suggestions you made. Though there were couples from Pennsylvania and elsewhere, including New York, the majority of those coming here seemed to be from Virginia; there was even what the Post called the "Cupid Special," a train from Richmond that arrived every spring for more than twenty years. Most women on the train who were identified were under 21, but there were some exceptions.

ANOTHER PROBLEM: LAWS CAN'T DEFINE 'MAN' & 'WOMAN'

WILLIAM O. BEEMAN, PACIFIC NEWS SERVICE - There are at least three ways one might try to codify gender under law -- biologically, psychologically and culturally. On close inspection, all of them fail.

Biologically, one must choose either secondary sexual characteristics -- things like facial hair for men or breast development for women -- or genetic testing as defining markers of gender. Neither method is clear-cut. Some women show male secondary characteristics, and vice versa. Before puberty, things are not necessarily any clearer. A significant proportion of all babies have ambiguous gender development. It has been long-standing -- and now, increasingly, controversial -- medical practice to surgically "reassign" such babies shortly after birth so that they will have only one set of sexual organs . . . .

Psychologically, another dilemma for those who seek to codify gender is the condition known as gender dysphoria, in which a person feels that their true gender is the opposite of that in which they were born. These individuals are often referred to as "transgendered." Some experts estimate as many as 1.2 million Americans are transgendered. Gender dysphoria is a matter of personal identity and has nothing to do with sexual orientation. A male-to-female transgendered person may be attracted to women or to men. . . .

Finally, human societies around the world recognize individuals who are culturally female or culturally male no matter what their physical gender. The "berdache" is an umbrella term used by Europeans to designate a man who is culturally classified as a woman, and who may be a "wife" to another man. The practice is perhaps best known among the Zuñ Indians of Arizona, but is widely seen in other tribal groups as well. Outside of North America, the hijra of India, a cultural "third gender," is important in ceremonial life. Hijra are classified as "neither man nor woman,"

THE SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE

IT is our view that gay marriages are an extremely important issue, but if we're going to make marriage sacred we have to deal with some even more critical ones first. Therefore we are launching a campaign for a constitutional amendment that would require the death penalty for the following:

- A woman who is not a virgin at the time of the marriage

- Anyone who commits adultery.

- Any couple that dissolves their marriage by divorce.

One we've gotten these matters taken care of, we can turn our attention to all those claims of mutual commitment by gays and lesbians.

THE SANCTITY OF CAMPAIGN ISSUES

LIZ COX BARRETT, CAMPAIGN DESK - Question: "When did the president change his mind that the issue of gay marriage was not a matter for states and in fact was a federal issue?"

Press Secretary Scott McClellan: "The president has always firmly believed that marriage is a sacred institution ..."

Question is rephrased.

McClellan: "... [the president] believes marriage is a sacred institution ..."

Question is rephrased again.

McClellan: "... I dispute the premise of your question ..."

Different reporter asks the original question again.

McClellan : "What I'm telling you is that the president has always believed marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman; that it is an institution that should be protected."

The final tally? When discussing gay marriage McClellan employed the phrase "sacred institution" nine times during the 36-minute briefing. Close cousins "enduring institution" and "enduring and lasting institution" made eleven appearances.

While McClellan and his talking point may not have killed off the concept that Bush had in fact changed his mind about whether gay marriage was a state or federal issue (see the next day's Houston Chronicle), he did press the corps to get increasingly creative with their questions.

Highlights?

Would the president "like to see ... Britney Spears behave herself?"

Even that didn't faze McClellan. What did, however, was a question from the redoubtable Helen Thomas, who has been doing this for, oh, longer than some reporters present have been alive. Thomas finally nudged McClellan, however briefly, off his rote spiel:

Thomas: "What does [the president] think the penalty should be, [gay people who marry] should go to jail if they break this law that eventually he hopes to have?"

McClellan: "The president believes that we should protect and defend the sanctity of marriage, Helen. That's what this is about. And there are people --"

Thomas: "They should go to jail?"

McClellan: "No, Helen, that's not the way the president is looking at it."