Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Fourth State

Today, Vermont has become the fourth U.S. state to legalize gay marriage — and the first to do so with a legislature's vote. This happy news comes at the heels of the April 3rd legalization of same-sex unions in Iowa, the state I live in. On Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court legalized gay marriage by a unanimous decision. And today, Vermont did so by the legislature's vote. Of course, there is widespread uproar and unrest at these decisions. Already, opponents of the same-sex marriages are seeking constitutional amendments that will reverse these controversial laws.

I simply do not understand people who oppose same-sex marriage. I get that many people, for primarily religious reasons do not think that same-sex relations are right. And I am okay with religious institutions not accepting such unions. But why some people think that the non-religious state should discriminate against gay individuals (or indeed side with a religion on any issue) is beyond me! Homosexual individuals and their allies have yet to go a far way in their struggle. Congratulations to them on their second victory in the same week!


Andrew Bloomfield said...

For me, at least, the question is first, one of benefit to the State and the State's interest in sexual relations; and second, the freedom from judicial tyranny.

To the first: the only possible reason (historically and philosophically) that the State has an interest in the sexual relations of two people is that of procreation. If we as a society have determined that a fundamental aspect of sexual relations (the bearing and rearing of children) is to be removed from its context, then the State's interest in marriage is also removed. This is the motivation for laws prohibiting polygamy, consensual incest, bestiality, and prostitution.

Secondly, in the cases in which judicial fiat overrules a legislative action or direct populist referendum, the fundamental principal of a representative republic falls flat on its face. If we are to be an oligarchy, then so be it, but we oughtn't masquerade as a republic.

Personally, it has nothing to do with discrimination (as negatively understood), but to do with the future of society. The State supports and regulates marriage because it is the most stable institution in which the next generation is developed.

Azalea said...

I beg to differ about what you have said here. It is an interesting point, but a moot one. The legalization of same-sex unions does not in some way inhibit procreation. Procreation will go on, and the state will continue to be polulated by individuals: homosexual and otherwise. No state in the US prohibits homosexual sex. So, gay individuals who want to have sex will continue to do so and not procreate anyway. If the State was only interested in swelling it's ranks, then it would be sex that would be illegal, not marriage.

Therefore, it would seem that the issue at hand is indeed discrimination. While heterosexual couples who pay taxes and function as citizens can reap the State benefits that come from being a married couple, why is it illegal that homosexual couples who pay taxes and function as citizens get the same benefits?