23 May 2008

Let's Talk About the Big Elephant in the Room, or Let's One of Us, and the Other Can Sit There Wondering If This Maybe Wasn't the Best Idea

Hi. I just had a coughing fit from cereal and tea. Might not be over. Enjoy this video.


Adam said...

This clip is posted on every site I read, and it makes me ineffably happy.

For the first time in a long time it feels like we're winning (and by 'we' I mean, of course, 'people with a clue').

isaac butler said...

This is the part of it that I find a bit troubling...

McCain's stated position on this subject (on the Ellen show, that is, his actual position is slightly different) isn't very different from Obama's or Clinton's. All three of them believe that people should have the right to form some kind of legal partnership that allows them access to certain things (McCain believes, for example, in health insurance) but that they should not be allowed to get legally married.

Now I have a feeling that, given that he doesn't mention the phrase "civil unions" McCain is against formally codifying that partnership status under that name, which would make his position worse than Obama and Clinton's. But not much worse. Civil Unions are still a separate-- and unequal-- way of giving full rights to gays and lesbians.

Adam said...

I think that slightly misrepresents the spirit (if not the letter) of Obama's position (though not Clinton's from what I can tell).

The best I can gather he thinks/says this:

Insofar as marriage is a legal arrangement, everyone should be protected equally; the mechanics ought to be the same. If that means that straight couples have to get civil unions in addition to getting married (or if getting married has to entail a civil union) for everyone to be happy with the taxonomy, then so be it. Point is, the law (thanks, 14th amendment!) already covers everyone, and it's incumbent upon the states to live up to that standard (and the courts to hold them to that obligation).

Marriage insofar as it's a social/religious custom, however, is none of the government's business. Legislating that sort of thing one way or the other is exactly what this country isn't supposed to be about.

It's exactly the sort of position you'd expect someone with a strong legal background to have because, unfortunately, it's pretty much the 'correct' one. As much as I wish I could make East Jesus Congregation X perform/recognize/celebrate love no matter who loves whom, that's something we promised not to do when we started this whole thing. So if we have any intention of abiding by the constitution, we'll just have to let them be backwards until the cultural war of attrition is won, sort of the same way as with miscegenation.

Sorry for the derail from the cereal-snarfing goodness that is watching McCain squirm; I was just so refreshed to hear a reasoned law-based view on the issue from Obama that I get really squirmy when I hear people describe him as 'pro civil-union, anti marriage' because I think that hugely understates his view and the (very important) reasoning behind it.

isaac butler said...


Before I reply... i should just note that i'm an obama supporter. Okay, now that that's out of the way... Your depiction of Obama's position is inaccurate. . If Obama's position were:

"Marriage insofar as it's a social/religious custom, however, is none of the government's business. Legislating that sort of thing one way or the other is exactly what this country isn't supposed to be about. "

He would be for eliminating the legal category of marriage and replacing it with civil unions for all (That's my position). He's not. He's calling for the creation of a separate category for gays and lesbians called "civil unions" if gays and lesbians are only allowed to legally codify their relationships in a separate relationship with a different name that opens the door to (I'd argue inevitable) legal discrimination, because you can change the rights/privileges in one category (civil unions) without changing the other (marriages). It will create a separate but unequal system.

Obama supports a *better* version of McCain's bad position. But it's still lame.