30 Issues: Marriage and Other Gay Rights

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

30 Issues in 30 Days is our election year series on the important issues facing the country this election year. Today: The issues at play for gay voters, and the role of gay rights in the election at large. Visit the 30 Issue home page for all the conversations.


Open Prep: Questions, Articles, and Links to Get You Started

Key Questions

  • What can -- or should -- the President do in terms of gay rights?
  • Should gay marriage remain an issue decided by individual states?
  • What is the future of DOMA?

What are your key questions on this topic? Post them below and get the conversation going!



William Eskridge, Yale law professor and the author of Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws In America (Viking Adult, 2008)


Got a Follow Up?

Each Friday we'll be following up on one of that week's issues. Got a particular follow-up question from this conversation? Comment below or tweet us. 

30 Issues Interactive from the WNYC Data News Team

Comments [16]

Osborn from USA

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Nov. 04 2012 02:19 AM
CG Lewis from Boise

Please see this Columbia Journalism Review's write-up on the award-winning graphic on this very topic from the Guardian (UK):

Oct. 23 2012 02:00 PM
jgarbuz from Queens


State sanctioned "marriage" is just more money for lawyers. All many of us want is that the word "marriage" be reserved as a religious obligation, not a state conferred "right." Civil unions are indeed state recognized unions which confer certain legal rights and possibly subsidies to those contractually entering into it. The intervention of the modern STATE into what was once essentially a religious function has caused a condundrum. I am for civil unions for any TWO people who want to sign on at a government office, but not to the use of the term "Marriage" to refer to it as.

Oct. 23 2012 11:48 AM
Marcia J from NJ

State sanctioned marriage represents a civil contract between two people that confer certain rights and obligations to the couple. Access to those rights,responsibilities and benefits is something that should be available to all citizens and is a matter of civil rights. Civil rights should not be subject to the whims of a popular vote.

The granting of the religious blessing of a union between two people is something that each religion should be allowed to decide and control. The protection of a religions right to do so should be vigorously defended.

The funny thing is that as a gay woman I can find leaders of almost any religion who are happy and willing to marry me to another woman. At the same time my basic civil rights are denied me. Most people give little thought as to what difficulties this creates for GBLT people. I would urge those people to do some research as to what the issues actually are.

Oct. 23 2012 11:41 AM
John A

What does a permissive society do? Give away "rights" to anyone wanting them regardless of the cost. Unfortunately FDR's "Freedom from Want" is illusory - there will always be another privilege that somebody wants - especially when that other guy just got one. Eventually the society bankrupts itself giving out rights.

Oct. 23 2012 11:40 AM
jgarbuz from Queens


Marriage is going into the scrap heap of history altogether, and technology will soon make it possible to produce children in factories, ala "Brave New World." The government will supervise child-manufacturing corporations, and individuals may be able to adopt, or perhaps many will be raised in government orphanages. The "family" is an obsolescent arrangement whose purposelessness is becoming increasingly apparent. No one belongs to anyone, and no one is his "brothers keeper" or his mother's keeper, or father's keeper, etc. The purpose of family has lost all touch with 21st century reality.

Oct. 23 2012 11:31 AM
pliny from soho

There is a difference between democracy
and mob rule.

Oct. 23 2012 11:25 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Christine - let's hope that marriage, one day, gets relegated to the status of Bar mitzvahs, christenings, and baptisms - where it belongs.

Oct. 23 2012 11:24 AM

Many people in this country -- who knows how many? feel as if they are being steamrolled into accepting gay marriage. If we step back and think of it, this MAJOR change in a basic tenet of society is being changed in the twinkling of an eye (no humor intended.)

Hence, the so-called "hysteria" that the guest ascribes to Romney & Co. I mean, after all, the gay-marriage movement is questioning a basic understanding that we all grew up with and that even most gays would have laughed at even a couple of decades ago (and did -- I heard them time and again.)

Just to put it all in perspective -- which we tend not to do very much these days.

Oct. 23 2012 11:20 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

So Ed, if people majority vote to outlaw Catholicism, you don't have a problem with that, I assume?

Oct. 23 2012 11:19 AM
RJ from prospect hts

I disagree completely and utterly with everything Romney is and stands for. However, I think Brian was accurate in calling the guest on the use of the word hysterical in the context of the 2 clips. Romney was making a speech to CPAC; Obama was sitting down in an interview with a reporter. Very different contexts, very different speech styles required.

Oct. 23 2012 11:19 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I agree with Christine. There should be no state marriage, only civil unions. "Marriage" should be confined to religion. Those who want to make a vow of permanency and marital loyalty before God and the community should do so in their church, synagogue, mosque or temple.
The government should only recognize civil unions for legal rights regarding property, child custody rights, taxation and such.

Oct. 23 2012 11:17 AM
John A.

This book has great research on the direction of the Supreme Court over the years (whether you like it or not) and I was able to get it remaindered on Amazon. Valuable and a real value.

Oct. 23 2012 11:15 AM
Christine from Westchester

Why not take the thing out of this that makes religious people concerned: make them ALL civil unions (man/woman or same sex). Let religions manage the marriages and let us all be civilly joined. If we all have a civil union for the state and decide to have a religious ceremony for our own personal reasons, would that not solve this?

Oct. 23 2012 11:12 AM

It's like Rachel Maddow said: They're called "rights"...which means they shouldn't be put up for a vote. The very idea that rights are subjected to a plebescite is exactly what the founders were trying to avoid: the tyranny of the majority. If the Black civil rights movement had been put to a vote, we would still have segregation.

Oct. 23 2012 11:01 AM
Ed from Larchmont

One can follow the debate in Maryland for all the arguments. I think it should be up to the people what they want our society to call marriage, it's a fundamental thing. And every time the people have voted on it, same sex marriage has been defeated.

Oct. 23 2012 08:24 AM

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