Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Arguments: Day 2

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of the 1996 law, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). President Clinton signed it, but no longer supports it and neither does President Obama's justice department. Emily Bazelon, senior editor at Slate and panelist on Gabfest Radio, dissects yesterday's arguments.


Emily Bazelon

Comments [20]

Some comments from this thread have been removed. Please remember to keep your comments brief, on-topic, and free of explicit content.

Mar. 28 2013 03:00 PM

@ jgarbuz:
"My argument is that "marriage" should remain a religious function, and the government should only issue civil unions certificates, like in ISrael"

i couldn't be farther from you politically, but you are dead right on that. There are a lot of people who feel the same way - if this gets kicked back to states I am sorely tempted to start a petition/initiative to remove marriage entirely from secular state

Mar. 28 2013 01:43 PM

Independent_Noach, is your intent sway readers' opinions by arousing feelings of discomfort and disgust? Or are you simply exposing your own preoccupations?

Because I cannot fathom any connection between the subject at hand, whether the Defense of Marriage Act is constitutional, and where you are trying to direct this discussion.

Mar. 28 2013 12:06 PM

Independent_Noach wrote, "Every child deserves to have someone unambiguously /female/ to play the role of /mother/ and someone unambiguously /male/ to play the role of /father/. This is one of the most basic, elementary, fundamental human rights."

Basic, elementary, fundamental human rights are self-evident to all. However, your assertion is not self-evident.

Why must every child be reared by a mother and a father (and an "unambiguously female" mother and "unambiguously male" father at that)? That's just your opinion. You are entitled to it, but that doesn't make it a fundamental human right.

That every child deserves unconditional love and nurturing is a basic, elemental, fundamental human right. The love and nurturance can be provided by all sorts of caregivers. They need not be biologically related to the child, nor "unambiguously male" and "unambiguously female."

Mar. 28 2013 11:30 AM
JM from JM

Well if you are an Israeli or Jewish you can separate marriage and Civil unions. I know people tend to ofrget this in New York but the USA is not Israel and I am not a jew. (sort of like Chinese people calling me a "Lao wai" (foreigner) in flushing when that is what THEY are ! ha ha .....
So over here we can define what ever we want the way we want . It is that whole biblical claptrap that has us in this predicament any way. Keep your religion and nationalist leanings to your own private lives, temples, houses of worship etc , mean while the REST of the planet will redefine as we please if we choose to do so

I am poly amorous and our day is coming soon ....

Mar. 28 2013 11:26 AM

"JM from Queens" wrote,

"that is EXACTLY the same tactic that right wing moralists use to attack gay mariage and interracial marriage."

Invoking objections to interracial marriage here is a straw man red-herring.

When was the last time you heard anyone other than a clearly /fringe outlier/ oppose /inter-racial/ marriage?

Mar. 28 2013 11:21 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Noach

Some people are better off being raised by wolves ;) I don't know which arrangement is proven superior to any other. It depends on social norms and assigned roles. And I can point to many people raised in orphanages who have graduated to become perfectly normal, well socialized citizens as well as those raised by loving mothers and fathers who turned out to become serial killers.

My argument is that "marriage" should remain a religious function, and the government should only issue civil unions certificates, like in ISrael
As you well know, there is no civil marriage in Israel, only civil unions. "Marriage" should not be a government function. I personally think that the main harm in giving gay couples the right to adopt will be that it makes the competition against childless couples that much tougher. In that sense, "gay marriage" harms childless couples.

Mar. 28 2013 11:06 AM
Bill from New Rochelle

Also, "president" G W Bush refused to enforce many laws, especially regulating finance and energy.
Mr Bush even scoffed at his obligation to follow new laws with his 'signing messages.'

Mar. 28 2013 11:03 AM

"jgarbuz from Queens" wrote,

"As for adoption, that will depend only on the assessment by the authorities regarding the suitability of that couple to provide a safe and flourishing home for a child."

Every child deserves to have someone unambiguously /female/ to play the role of /mother/ and someone unambiguously /male/ to play the role of /father/. This is one of the most basic, elementary, fundamental human rights.

In the case of /adoption/, people argue that being /adopted/ by a loving, stable same-sex couple is still preferable for a child to life in an orphanage or foster care. But that argument, regardless of anything else about it, would only apply to cases where adoption by a loving, stable /heterosexual/ couple is not an option.

Furthermore, such arguments do not apply at all to the use of /surrogate motherhood/ and /reproductive technology/. To /create/ a /new/ child to be born to anything other than a stable, heterosexual couple within reasonable range of natural child-bearing age is simply unconscionable.

Thus, aside from any other concerns and objections, any definition of marriage that would include the automatic, blanket right of adoption, and certainly, the right to use surrogate motherhood or reproductive technology to create children, is simply a non-starter for any civilized, enlightened society with any moral and ethical sensibility.

Mar. 28 2013 10:57 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Acacia, well that's exactly Scalia's point..

Mar. 28 2013 10:40 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Civil unions would allow the same financial benefits as does "marriage" today without any objections regarding sexual orientation, or any other factor. As for adoption, that would depend on meeting the same criteria that heterosexual unions must meet right now.

As for polygamy and polyandry, nothing wrong with them, excepting that they are an unfair distribution of males to females. It made sense when due to war or whatever, one of the two sexes was in short supply, and there was a need to make up the population decline of the tribe due to war or famine or whatever. But under normal conditions, monogamy is the closest we can get to a "fair" distribution of males to females.

Mar. 28 2013 10:37 AM
JM from Queens

If gay people present like the tired, often false, so called hetero paradise marriage. Then it's ok? but to fend off the right of consenting adults to arrange them selves in any types of relationship that they see fit for example polynomy and polygamy, you start bringing up the "child abuse " and marital abuse bogy man? (why is it always a MAN?). What is this crap? that is EXACTLY the same tactic that right wing moralists use to attack gay mariage and interracial marriage. LEAVE your sex based prejudices out of this. IF you do not then it's fair game to use these tactics against the groups YOU are trying to protect .... and we can find a great deal of moral looseness in Their and our own lifestyles.
There is nothing wrong with a woman choosing to enter into a relationship with multiple men or a man with multiple women. Its already being done and called serial monogamy amongst people that do not lie to themselves. I don't want to hear any crap to restrict consenting adults... no matter what they wish to do . ,

Mar. 28 2013 10:37 AM
Acacia from Brooklyn, NY

I wish the guest (who is not a constitutional law expert; would be nice if you chose one of those to discuss the case, rather than a blogger) would have been able to point out that the Obama Administration is REQUIRED by law to enforce laws passed by Congress until they are declared unconstitutional. It is not cowardice that leads to this contradiction, but law. It's disgusting that Justice Scalia either doesn't know the laws of the land well enough to know this, or that he is once again offering overtly political opinions from the bench.

Mar. 28 2013 10:36 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Judge Scalia exposed the shameful timidness and hypocrisy of the Obama administration, regarding DOMA and marriage equality.

If the Obama administration doesn't want to defend DOMA, they should've tried to have had it repealed via the legislature. They haven't even tried.

Mar. 28 2013 10:32 AM

It is clear from the Congressional report on its original intent, DOMA dealt with an "unpopular" and scorned group of people, and the clear intent was to make LGBT Americans less than equal. It's the same malign animus behind the 1934 German Nuremberg Race Laws, which made Jews and Gypsies less than "aryan" Germans and was the first step in what ultimately became the Final Solution.

Interestingly enough, the drafters of the Nuremberg Race Laws consulted our own "Jim Crow" laws.

To uphold the Constitutionality of DOMA and Prop. 8 makes a mockery of Constitutional guarantees of equality.

Mar. 28 2013 10:28 AM
Anonymous from Manhattan

Tired of this conversation.

Mar. 28 2013 10:28 AM

If the Justices don't over turn DOMA, what are the alternatives? Is there middle ground between over turning or upholding it?

Mar. 28 2013 10:27 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

It's time to END MARRIAGE as we "know it" once and for all! "Marriage"is dead! The only thing the government should is issue civil union certificates to any TWO adults who wish to apply for any benefits and subsidies that such a recognized civil union provides! As for adoption, that will depend only on the assessment by the authorities regarding the suitability of that couple to provide a safe and flourishing home for a child.

"Marriage" should be returned to the religious authorities in accordance to their criteria.

Mar. 28 2013 10:19 AM
Jean from Midtown

Can the guest clarify why both Verilli and Kaplan were so unwilling to state that this case involves a federalism issue? I don't understand why they didn't both state that Congress does not have the ability to regulate marriage and could not expand marriage rights to gays nor can it remove those rights.

Mar. 28 2013 10:17 AM
Bill from New Rochelle

Am I missing something, or are Article I and IV not pertinant?


Article 1, Section. 10.

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.


Article. IV. Section. 1.

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

Section. 2.

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.


Mar. 28 2013 10:13 AM

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