Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Theodore Olson, US Solicitor General for the Bush administration and who represented Bush in Bush v. Gore 2000, and David Boies, who was the lawyer for Gore in Bush vs. Gore in 2000, have teamed up to challenge the California Supreme Court's upholding of  Proposition 8, a voter initiative that passed in the November 2008 elections and which struck down the gay marriage rights passed by Sacramento legislators.

Recently, in a discussion on TRUTH 101's blog, a commenter wrote this when I gave my opinion on California's Prop 8 and other states that prohibit gay marriage:

SHAW KENAWE: "This piece of bigotry will not stand."   

COMMENTER TO SHAW KENAWE:  "Yawn. Typical left-wing McCarthyism."

SHAW KENAWE'S REBUTTAL:  It is a fact that this country, bless it, always moves in the direction of extending civil rights to minorities. The resistance to gay marriage is predicated solely on religious sensibilites. This country does not recognize religion as a basis of it civil laws. This piece of bigotry will not stand. You’ll see this in your lifetime. Believe me.

Theodore Olson, writing in a recent Newsweek magazine issue, thoroughly demolishes all arguments against granting civil rights to our gay and lesbian citizens, and in doing so, enforces my answer to the commenter who believes standing up for equality and calling any movement to deny equality "bigotry" is "left-wing McCarthyism."

But I'll let Attorney Olson explain his supremely logical and pro-American, pro-equality reasons for supporting gay marriage. 

"My involvement in this case has generated a certain degree of consternation among conservatives. How could a politically active, lifelong Republican, a veteran of the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, challenge the "traditional" definition of marriage and press for an "activist" interpretation of the Constitution to create another "new" constitutional right?

My answer to this seeming conundrum rests on a lifetime of exposure to persons of different backgrounds, histories, viewpoints, and intrinsic characteristics, and on my rejection of what I see as superficially appealing but ultimately false perceptions about our Constitution and its protection of equality and fundamental rights.

Many of my fellow conservatives have an almost knee-jerk hostility toward gay marriage. This does not make sense, because same-sex unions promote the values conservatives prize. Marriage is one of the basic building blocks of our neighborhoods and our nation.


The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly held that marriage is one of the most fundamental rights that we have as Americans under our Constitution. It is an expression of our desire to create a social partnership, to live and share life's joys and burdens with the person we love, and to form a lasting bond and a social identity. The Supreme Court has said that marriage is a part of the Constitution's protections of liberty, privacy, freedom of association, and spiritual identification. In short, the right to marry helps us to define ourselves and our place in a community. Without it, there can be no true equality under the law.

It is true that marriage in this nation traditionally has been regarded as a relationship exclusively between a man and a woman, and many of our nation's multiple religions define marriage in precisely those terms. But while the Supreme Court has always previously considered marriage in that context, the underlying rights and liberties that marriage embodies are not in any way confined to heterosexuals.


The simple fact is that there is no good reason why we should deny marriage to same-sex partners. On the other hand, there are many reasons why we should formally recognize these relationships and embrace the rights of gays and lesbians to marry and become full and equal members of our society

No matter what you think of homosexuality, it is a fact that gays and lesbians are members of our families, clubs, and workplaces. They are our doctors, our teachers, our soldiers (whether we admit it or not), and our friends. They yearn for acceptance, stable relationships, and success in their lives, just like the rest of us.


California's Proposition 8 is particularly vulnerable to constitutional challenge, because that state has now enacted a crazy-quilt of marriage regulation that makes no sense to anyone. California recognizes marriage between men and women, including persons on death row, child abusers, and wife beaters. At the same time, California prohibits marriage by loving, caring, stable partners of the same sex, but tries to make up for it by giving them the alternative of "domestic partnerships" with virtually all of the rights of married persons except the official, state-approved status of marriage. Finally, California recognizes 18,000 same-sex marriages that took place in the months between the state Supreme Court's ruling that upheld gay-marriage rights and the decision of California's citizens to withdraw those rights by enacting Proposition 8

So there are now three classes of Californians: heterosexual couples who can get married, divorced, and remarried, if they wish; same-sex couples who cannot get married but can live together in domestic partnerships; and same-sex couples who are now married but who, if they divorce, cannot remarry. This is an irrational system, it is discriminatory, and it cannot stand.

Americans who believe in the words of the Declaration of Independence, in Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, in the 14th Amendment, and in the Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and equal dignity before the law cannot sit by while this wrong continues. This is not a conservative or liberal issue; it is an American one, and it is time that we, as Americans, embraced it."

I urge everyone to read the entire article here.


Anonymous said...

Gay marriage will pass. It may take a few more years with more seto backs, as happened during the Civil Rights movement, but the right to marry the person you choose will happen.

Jim said...

I say why deny a certain part of society the fabulous experience of divorcing a very angry apouse?

dmarks said...

Jim: And how about the marriage penalty in the new healthcare plan? Why deny gays the right to experience this, also.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

I've never really understood why people are so threatened by gay marriage. I don't feel like my marriage will somehow suddenly collapse if two women get married down the street, and I don't think society will suddenly crumble into hopeless anarchy if two men decide they'd like to get married and then go do it.

Where I think the problem lies here is in the word 'marriage'. Marriage is, essentially, a religious concept, a religious ceremony, not a civil one. It's only by common consent that we extend legal sanction of this particular religious ceremony (the only one, I believe, that carries that kind of legal ramification).

I think the way to fix this is to go in the opposite direction: to simply require that ANY two adults (men, women, transgender, whoever) who want to get 'married' have a civil ceremony, performed by a justice of the peace, to obtain legally recognized status. If people want to go ahead and get a church wedding after that, fine. What this would do would be to take away that 'legal' status conferred by a religious ritual, and get that out of the church altogether, where it doesn't belong to begin with.

Of course, people would go equally insane over this, but what it would do would be to put ALL 'marriages' on the same basis, and essentially take it out of the hands of the church.

Now, regardless of what rule passes on this, I don't think any particular church should be 'required' to marry any two people that want to. We were refused by the Catholic church on purely religious grounds. That's their right. It doesn't matter. But I think by giving a religious ritual the privelege of law (in terms of that it changes one's legal status), we're crossing that line between church and state, and forcing everyone to abide by religious principles they may not personally adhere to.

Jim said...

Satyavati devi dasi, I and my wife got married by a JP. The law recognizes secular as well as a religious ceremony. The law makes no difference as to validity of the ceremony.

The issue then is between male and female bonding as it pertains to marriage. What is best for society as a whole? It takes a stable environment to foster the progress of a system. Does the loosening or the complete rewriting of definitions of words a stable replacement for centuries of growth? I don't know, however there is one glaring example in history of the collapse of a society due to the lowering of the common understanding of societal rules. Read the fall of the Roman Empire. Very interesting.

TOM said...

As the debate has grown over the years, the attorneys have stepped in at the right time to win their case.
Irrationality and unequal application of the law, is exactly what a court must decide.
There is no mention of marriage, or its definition in the Constitution.
Many laws regarding marriage could be found unconstitutional, and should be.
Trying to prove that homosexual marriage is detrimental to society, or its values, is a losing battle. The facts do not exist, because that reality is not true.
As with most Civil Rights law, we have to push the bigots into the light of what equality of justice means.
The Supreme Court has decided that these proceedings cannot be televised. This too will change when the Court realizes that it is in the best of American values, to have transparent processes of all government.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

What I'm saying is take that legal recognition away from a church ceremony. The church has no business making legal contracts (marriage being a contract)between people. It needs to deal in religious issues, not legal ones.

What is best for society as a whole? It takes a stable environment to foster the progress of a system.

So basically, in a society where the heterosexual divorce rate is near 50%, you believe allowing gay couples to marry will promote instability in the environment? Seems like the straight environment's unstable by itself.

Just because something's been done one way for a long time doesn't make it right, and isn't a valid reason to keep on doing it if it's wrong.

Jim said...

But is the instability caused by heterosexual divorce rates being high not due to the relaxation of the grounds for divorce? Or the ease in getting a divorce? Is the true issue being the failure of commitment?

Satyavati devi dasi said...

What does a lack of commitment in the heterosexual community have to do with whether gay marriage should be made legal?

Will allowing gays to marry somehow make MORE heterosexuals have LESS commitment?

My point is that in no way will allowing gay people to marry affect straight people who marry.

Shaw Kenawe said...

States grant marriage licenses, not religious organizations. Couples apply for marriage licenses, and when they are granted by the state, the couple can get married by a JP in a civil ceremony, or in a religious service. But it is the state that allows a couple to enter into a marriage contract.

Marriage is a CIVIL contract. It also has a religious component if that is the tradition of the couple who marry.

Here are the various the various requirements for the fifty states.

I agree with Saty that all couples who apply for a marriage license should be granted a legal civil marriage. They can then opt for a religious ceremony, or not. Many couples already do this.

Homosexuality has been with us since humans first walked the earth. The problem is that Stone Age tribal leaders didn’t understand it, were frightened by it, and used their positions as religious elders to demonize what they didn’t understand. Then it became codified as an abomination in religious law, which in turn allowed the majority heteros to visist the worst possible misery, punishments and deaths on their minority brothers and sisters.

We are in the 21st century. It’s time to come to our senses and end this inhuman and unConstitutional treatment of our fellow citizens.

rockync said...

You know, once it was against the law to marry outside your basic ethnic (race) circle.
Once it was against the law for people to live together without getting married.
And now it is against the law for same gender people to marry.
Societies grow and change and things that were once acceptable are no longer - like slavery and segregation.
In the eyes of the law, marriage is a civil union, allowed to be bestowed by certain professions which include judges, justices of the peace and clergy.
I have always been of the same contention as Satyavati that no church or religious organization should be forced to perform a marriage that goes against their doctrines, but that should not be reflected in the law.
ALL our citizens deserve equal rights - and that includes the right to marry whoever they wish, as long as they're another consenting adult.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

Thus far, this debate has taken place in state legislatures ... a giant mistake, in my opinion.

Equality is defined in the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution. Equality under Law should never be left to the whims and caprices of voters or state legislators. If we left it up to voters, we'd still have slavery!

That is why the Federal court system must take up the matter ... and override the damage done to the Constitution by homophobic bigots.

Pamela Zydel said...

Octo: You stole some of my thunder. I was going to use the term: Ignoramous Bigots!

I don't believe this is a religious issue because you need a license to "get married", which is provided by the state, regardless of where your wedding ceremony takes place. That's not to say that churches should perform ceremonies that go against their beliefs--they shouldn't, but I don't think gays should be denied the right to marriage which to me falls under the "pursuit of happiness" category.

Anonymous said...

Satyavati devi dasi said...

I've never really understood why people are so threatened by gay marriage.

Saty, are you Gay?

And how do you feel about abortion?

Anonymous said...

Saty, please do not be offended, I was just curious.

Anonymous said...

It only makes sense that you are Gay, judging by your posts about Gays and your philosophy about abortion.

Anonymous said...

From my understanding, and from what I have read from a variety of sources that abortion has been severely disapproved of in the Buddhist tradition, so why would you approve of it?

Anonymous said...

I just want you to know that I won't be following this blog anymore.
I have come to the conclusion that you have finally crossed the line between sanity and insanity.

Shaw Kenawe said...


You need to be careful about who you accuse of being insane.

"I just want you to know that I won't be following this blog anymore."--"Anonymous"


Not a Troll with no blog said...

Anonymous's claim that Buddhism severely disapproves of abortion needs some clarification:

Buddhism and abortion

There is no single Buddhist view on abortion:

..."Most Western and Japanese Buddhists come away believing in the permissibility of abortion, while many other Buddhists believe abortion to be murder."

Lives in the balance

Buddhists face a difficulty where an abortion is medically necessary to save the life of the mother and so a life will be lost whether there is or isn't an abortion.

In such cases the moral status of an abortion will depend on the intentions of those carrying it out.

If the decision is taken compassionately, and after long and careful thought then although the action may be wrong the moral harm done will be reduced by the good intentions involved.

Also, why would it matter if Saty is gay or not?

Anonymous said...

Also, why would it matter if Saty is gay or not?

Just curious.

Not a Troll with no blog said...

"Anonymous said...
Also, why would it matter if Saty is gay or not?

Just curious."


Are you heterosexual?

Just curious.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

Anon: I have come to the conclusion that you have finally crossed the line between sanity and insanity.

Five consecutive comments, plus one additional postscript, is an example of "pressured speech," a symptom of persons with an obsessive-compulsive or personality disorder. When such a person accuses another of crossing "the line between sanity and insanity," this is an example of projection whereupon the disturbed person tries to attribute the disturbed behavior to another.

If Anon will only make good on the threat to NOT FOLLOW this blog anymore, that would be most welcome indeed.

Pamela Zydel said...

Why has "Anonymous" singled out Satyavati? I posted that "I" agreed with gay-marriage and I'm also pr-choice...does THAT mean I'M gay, too? Or what about Shaw? Or the REST of the posters?

I would have to agree with Octo that this "Anonymous" troll is PROJECTING and should seek psychiatric help ASAP! Insanity is NOT something to mess with!

Shaw Kenawe said...


I'm pretty sure, but can't prove, that was Beth, since the issue of abortion, which is not a subject of this post, was introduced into the discussion, and the last line about "crossing the line" into insanity sounds like something she'd write.

James' Muse said...

I saw this on another blog as well. There are those within the GOP (such as myself) who see this as it is: religious bigotry trying to justify yet another form of persecution. I have no problem with churches not wanting to marry gays in their own walls. That is fine, and their belief. But to deny a secular marriage in a secular state (which the US is) is ridiculous. Many of the same arguments used today by "christians" were used to justify slavery.

Joe "Truth 101" Kelly said...

Perhaps if Gays promised to go to church and refrain from birth control other then the rythem method, then conservative would be amenable to gay marriage.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

TRUTH 101 "
Perhaps if Gays promised to go to church and refrain from birth control ...

Holy Jeebus! If the whole durn country used Trojans, we'd have a huge condom-nation on our hands!

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Just for the record, I'm not gay.

I've been married (to the SAME guy!) for almost eighteen years. We have us a big old time.

This discussion isn't about abortion, so I feel no need to go there.

Have yourself a great day.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

Thank you, Satyavati devi dasi.

Let that be a lesson to all trolls who make sweeping generalizations, stereotype, mischaracterize, and jump to conclusions about people whom they know nothing about.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Plus, if the troll had taken the time to visit Saty's blog, it would have seen that she is not a Buddhist. But this particular troll probably wouldn't know the difference--stupid is as stupid does.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

This is SOP, Shaw:

The facts are irrelevant to the trolls. This particular troll posted the Buddhist question on my blog, thus proving either they didn't read a single thing on it or read it and didn't know the difference.

Facts? They don't need no stinkin facts!


Anonymous said...

[url=]hip hop jewelry[/url],[url=]hip hop pendants[/url],hip hop watches,[url=]bling bling[/url] ,hip hop,[url=]hip hop chains[/url],hip hop bling,[url=]iced out chains[/url],[url=]wholesale chains[/url]
hip hop jewelry
wholesale hip hop watches
hip hop rings