July 20, 2009

Even if you are a same-sex marriage supporter...

...You should be embarrassed by the bogosity of the arguments in this piece...

Davis Boies, Gay Marriage and the Constitution - WSJ.com:

...The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the right to marry the person you love is so fundamental that states cannot abridge it. In 1978 the Court (8 to 1, Zablocki v. Redhail) overturned as unconstitutional a Wisconsin law preventing child-support scofflaws from getting married. The Court emphasized, "decisions of this Court confirm that the right to marry is of fundamental importance for all individuals." In 1987 the Supreme Court unanimously struck down as unconstitutional a Missouri law preventing imprisoned felons from marrying....

This is as if I wanted to change the definition of "US citizen" to anyone with a Green Card — and I then quoted various voting-rights cases in support of this. And then went all sob-sister about how the Supreme Court holds that the right to vote is fundamental, and how can bigots deny our resident alien-citizens their inalienable rights?

That would be a dishonest argument, because the cases assume that citizenship is a certain thing. Similarly, cases like those mentioned in the quote are not applicable because they all assume that marriage IS a certain thing. Gay-marriage advocates want to change the definition of marriage.

The article is intellectually fraudulent because it assumes a priori that same-sex couples already have the right to marry, a right that has been denied to them out of policy. Just like that law "preventing imprisoned felons from marrying." It assumes that the new definition already exists; is already accepted.

No issue can be discussed without assuming that words mean what we commonly think they mean. If you want to give a word a different meaning in an argfument, then the rules of discourse require that you say so up front. The author is pulling a fast one by slipping in a new definition as if it is something we've already accepted.

Or consider this:

...Gays and lesbians are our brothers and sisters, our teachers and doctors, our friends and neighbors, our parents and children. It is time, indeed past time, that we accord them the basic human right to marry the person they love. It is time, indeed past time, that our Constitution fulfill its promise of equal protection and due process for all citizens by now eliminating the last remnant of centuries of misguided state discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The argument in favor of Proposition 8 ultimately comes down to no more than the tautological assertion that a marriage is between a man and a woman. But a slogan is not a substitute for constitutional analysis. Law is about justice, not bumper stickers...

But the authors here make the equally "tautological" assertion that marriage is with ONE other person. How can you justify that, Mr Boies? What if I love two people? Do I not have the "basic human right" to marry the persons I love? Do I not deserve equal protection? Should we not end centuries of discrimination against "triads?"

Posted by John Weidner at July 20, 2009 9:26 AM
Weblog by John Weidner