Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Kent Greenfield Writes Like an Ally For Full Marriage Equality

At the American Prospect, Kent Greenfield sees the logic in supporting full marriage equality. Good for him!
As a matter of constitutional rationale, there is indeed a slippery slope between recognizing same-sex marriages and allowing marriages among more than two people and between consenting adults who are related. If we don’t want to go there, we need to come up with distinctions that we have not yet articulated well.
Rather than struggling to concoct convoluted schemes for determining which adults will get their rights and which won't, how about doing the simple, honest, and fair thing of actually supporting equality?
What it boils down to is that when the government wants to exclude groups from something important like marriage, it has to show good reasons for the exclusion. And prejudice—simply thinking something is “icky”—doesn’t count as a reason.

Correct. That is Discredited Argument #1.

In private conversations with leaders in the marriage movement, I often hear two responses. The first is that there is no political energy behind a fight for incestuous or polygamous marriages.

That is more or less Discredited Argument #3. How many Vietnamese were there in the US when African-Americans fought for civil rights based on race? Not a lot, but does that mean the Vietnamese Americans shouldn't have their rights?
The second is that they would be fine if those restrictions fell as well but, in effect, “don’t quote me on that.” 

Yes, I get that, too.

Greenfield then goes on to go over what the objections are to full marriage equality, especially relating to the polygamous and consanguineous freedoms to marry, doing a good job of exposing Discredited Arguments #1, 6, 8, 9, 17, and 18.

Polygamy and Incest are Choices.

If the coercion argument doesn’t persuade, we could swing the other way and say sexual orientation is hard wired, but polygamy and incest are choices. In equal-protection analysis, the Court has suggested that discrimination based on immutable characteristics is more suspect, meaning the government has to show a more significant justification for the classification.

But arguments from immutability are awkward in this context. Maybe I am speaking out of school here, but arguments for marriage equality do not really depend on the claim that people have no choice about who they are. Rather, the argument that resonates most with Americans is that LGBTQ people have the same right to make choices about their families as straight people. Let’s be honest: If science revealed tomorrow that sexual orientation is fluid and changeable, the arguments in favor of marriage equality would essentially be the same, wouldn’t they? Just like our arguments for religious liberty do not depend on whether people are destined by biology to be a Methodist, our arguments about the liberty to marry need not depend on science. In any event, if we throw all our eggs in the “it’s about the hardwiring” basket, are we sure we have made the distinction we want? Are we confident that science will show that people who are polyamorous or who are attracted to a cousin are not hardwired that way?

Some people are people who are polyamorous as who they are. We also do not choose who are genetic relatives are going to be. So, we are born that way.

LGBTQ Groups are Less Politically Powerful.

The conventional view of the equal protection clause is that it empowers courts to step in to protect—in the words of the leading Supreme Court case on point—“discrete and insular” groups that are systemically disadvantaged in the political process. So to make this argument, we’d have to say that gay-rights groups are less influential in mainstream politics than those who advocate for polyamory and consensual incest. That seems flat wrong. Political successes with regard to same-sex marriage are only recent, to be sure. But the political trend is clear, and marriage equality will be a reality for most same-sex couples in America in the foreseeable future. If anything, the argument from political disenfranchisement cuts the other way—that polygamous and incestuous couples deserve more constitutional protection than same-sex couples.
It's very simple. We need to adopt into law something along the lines of the Marriage Equality Amendment. That is a statement of equality rather than division, othering, and discrimination. I call on the progressive states to take the lead and set an example in their own law, and thereby reaping the financial benefits of more weddings.
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  1. I agree with what he was saying about how naturalism isn't the argument they should be making, saying how in the end the real arguments for or against it would be the same, and how they could just as easily prove other things. From my own experiences, I can't say for certain if I was born with a orientation towards my younger half-sister, I can say that I've never felt strong attraction much less arousal from anybody else. I suppose I could claim I was born this way, but their arguments would not go away. I would have to refute them before the "born this way" argument holds merit, and it would merely be another talking point. By proving that two siblings who love each other are not hurting anybody and showing how arguments against them are blown out of proportion or even lies consanguinamory would lose opposition, not by showing how they were born that way. We already have a phenomenon known as GSA and even people who met for the first time, are prosecuted using the same arguments used against those who have known each other for all of their lives. And even then they base their arguments on worst case scenarios, especially ones they allowed to occur so they could strengthen their arguments for their arguments. It's all politics and self-fulfilling prophecies. I mean if you take away all good relationships you'll only be left with the bad. Those in loving relationships wouldn't speak out because they could be punished, so they no longer count in the statistics. And then we encourage (read pretty much force) people to become victims, and when they don't agree, we punish them. There always has to be a monster, one will be the monster, and the other either a victim, accomplice, or another monster altogether.

    Oh and to be clear, I agree with full marriage equality, my arguments were to highlight how naturalism doesn't make somebody right or wrong. If proof came out tomorrow that people can be born thieves, it wouldn't make stealing right. I believe it is much more effective to prove on other merits, such as how it is harmless. I love my little half-sister, and I would never hurt her. I think being gay doesn't hurt anybody either. The absence of harm or even the presence of benefits are what matters, and things have to be taken on a case by case basis, rather than brushed over broadly.

    1. A great comment, Anonymous.

      Yes, arguing about whether something is natural or not and taking the stance that natural is good, artificial is bad is silly when someone is doing it using electronic devices, wearing artificial clothing, etc.

    2. Sadly the argument you pose lacks all natural, honest science perspective. The natural science of procreation eliminates all same gender exclusive preference. The poorly-informed who point their blind fingers at same gender animals sexual activity never stop to also see those same animals either practice opposite gender procreation, or themselves die out with their utterly unreproductive sexual preference causing genocide to their particular sexual bent.

      Sadly the closed mindedness of so-called "liberals" with their heads covered by the shifting sands of opinion completely miss the natural order we people are gifted to maintain our presence on this speck of cosmic dust by so doing, namely the practice of all individuals sharing sexual intercourse with the opposite gender.

      If the homosexual preferring individuals continue to demand that everyone be homosexual, which throughout recorded history they always do, they will self-eliminate, or worse, cause a massive upheaval and great war, which has been recorded in history in a few instances.

      Those who have insight know; those who refuse insight, don't.


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