Friday, December 20, 2013

Flimsy reasoning in a good cause.


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A federal judge struck down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban Friday in a decision that brings a nationwide shift toward allowing gay marriage to a conservative state where the Mormon church has long been against it.

Judge Shelby justified his decision,, at least in part, by this argument:  "The state failed to show that allowing same-sex marriages would affect opposite-sex marriages in any way." This argument is nonsensical. The following would be justified under this reasoning:

1. People marrying their cousins (of either sex) does not affect regular opposite sex marriages in any way. They should be legal.
2. Many people are attached to their pets. The state should have no right to prevent them from marrying them; after all it doesn't affect others' people's marriages.
3. Some men (certainly not me) might like 7 or 8 wives. That doesn't affect other marriages, either. Live and let live!

Dear skeptical reader:

Before you denounce me as a homophobe, please explain why these "marriages" are any less legitimate than same-sex marriage. 

The Utah government officials, rightly,  asserted it’s not the courts’ role to determine how a state defines marriage. That's the principle of federalism-- different states can make different laws for their domestic institutions. There are of course, limits to federalism, e.g. environmental laws that do not stop pollution from going  into neighboring states, human sacrifice, creation of  a state currency,etc. But gay marriage is different fundamentally

None of what I have said in this post should be interpreted as personal opposition to same-sex marriage. I happen to think it will (and should) pass democratically in every state in the country. But let's not trample the democratic process on such dubious constitutional grounds.


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