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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Monday, January 19 2004

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Defense of marriage

One of the hottest topics right now, apart from the Iowa Caucuses, is "defense of marriage." The topic has been elevated throughout the past year by everything from the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that sodomy is no business of the nation's or its respective states' laws, to Britney Spears' 55-hour marriage to an old high school pal in Las Vegas earlier this month. The biggest single contributor to the wide interest, however, was a ruling by a Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in November that laws prohibiting same-sex marriage are "incompatible with the constitutional principles of respect for individual autonomy." Based on the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decisions, no one is betting that the Massachusetts ruling would be overturned there.

Public opinion polls since the Massachusetts decision have found that a large majority of Americans are opposed to redefining marriage to include same-sex unions. And as the Republican platform for this year's Presidential elections is expected to include a promise to do whatever it takes to prevent marriage from being redefined, it's likely to be another vote-getter for President Bush. But to make the topic even hotter, polygamy advocates in Utah and environs have begun pressing their claim that the Texas and Massachusetts court findings support their case for plural marriages.

The impression that this topic is currently one of the hottest in the culture took form in my consciousness last week when a serious examination of the polygamists' case appeared in the Boston Globe, written by Jeff Jacoby. The fact that the Globe is one of the most prestigious liberal daily newspapers in the nation, owned by the New York Times, made this "conservative" position on the redefinition of marriage all the more noteworthy. The nub of Jacoby's argument is this:

The essence of civil marriage, said the [Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusett] in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, is simply "the exclusive and permanent commitment of the married partners to one another."

Well, if that, constitutionally speaking, is what makes a marriage—the intimate union of permanently committed partners—why shouldn't the trio in Utah be allowed to marry? On what principled ground can they be denied the protections and benefits of matrimony?

To be sure, Utah isn't Massachusetts, and federal court isn't the SJC. But logic is logic. If judges in one jurisdiction can decide that the right to marry includes the right to change the definition of marriage, judges in another jurisdiction can do the same.

His complete article is linked here. Later, we'll look at the arguments for and against "defending" marriage as it has been traditionally defined.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

Signs (last of series)

At the electric company: "We would be delighted if you send in your payment. However, if you don't, you will be."

In a restaurant window: "Don't stand there and be hungry. Come on in and get fed up."

In the front yard of a funeral home: "Drive carefully. We'll wait." "

—Sent by Mary Ann Losiewcz 

Thought for today

Age is strictly a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.

— Jack Benny

Top daily news stories linked from our sister webpage
Xnmp, news that signifies
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