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Congratulations!

Paul Starr will no doubt be mad, but I'm glad to see a New York court is demanding that gays and lebsians be granted civil marriage rights. Clearly, I'm not an expert in the constitution of New York State. Nevertheless, I assume it includes some of the usual sorts of guarantees of equal treatment under the laws which are, I think, sufficient to ground a claim of gay marriage. One important note for readers, however. Strangely, the "Supreme Court" of New York is not the state's highest court. As you'll see, it's actual a trial court with several layers of state appelate courts sitting on top of it. So it remains to be seen where this will go in the immediate future. In the long term, though, there can be no question that progress will continue to be made on this issue.

February 4, 2005 | Permalink

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Comments

"Paul Starr will no doubt be mad..."

Paul Starr is right.

No to gay marriage through the courts. Yes to legislating civil unions with full marriage rights.

I'm not willing to trade the entire progressive agenda in exchange for standing proudly on a matter of semantics.

Posted by: Petey | Feb 4, 2005 6:26:42 PM

So it remains to be seen where this will go in the immediate future.

It goes to the Appellate Division, 1st Department, which is the intermediate level appellate court. The potentially to the Court of Appeals, which is the top court in NY.

Good for the court. There'll probably be some celebrating in Chelsea tonight.

Posted by: Al | Feb 4, 2005 6:38:21 PM

What happens if NYC just doesn't appeal? Bloomberg's election is coming up, and NY isn't San Francisco but even so...they no longer have to pull a Newsom.

Posted by: Katherine | Feb 4, 2005 6:41:28 PM

Ah. The state could appeal too. But Spitzer is pro-gay marriage. But the 2006 governor's race is coming up, and arguably the AG has to defend the law. But if it's not challenged, it only applies in New York City. All very weird & very interesting.

Posted by: Katherine | Feb 4, 2005 6:44:10 PM

"I'm not willing to trade the entire progressive agenda in exchange for standing proudly on a matter of semantics."

Fortunately no one will be naming you supreme leader of the left anytime soon. While there is little point in pushing this issue on the national level now, anyone who claims to be a creature of the left and doesn't cheer the potential triumph of full equality (not simply "separate but equal" civil unions) anyhwere (though especially a solid blue state like New York) - no matter how it is achieved - is a complete douchebag. But then again we already knew that about you Petey...

Posted by: Green Dem | Feb 4, 2005 6:50:27 PM

Green Dem,

"anyone who claims to be a creature of the left and doesn't cheer the potential triumph of full equality ... is a complete douchebag. But then again we already knew that about you Petey."

Fuck you, buddy. You're both a practitioner of personal invective and a dim bulb at the same time - an outstanding combination.

Anyone who claims to be a "green dem" but opposes Social Security and Medicare ain't much of a creature of the left in my book.

Anyone who advises the left to "smoke their bongs" for a generation while the right governs ain't much of a creature of the left in my book.

Posted by: Petey | Feb 4, 2005 7:02:22 PM

"Fuck you, buddy. You're both a practitioner of personal invective and a dim bulb at the same time - an outstanding combination."

Right back at you mofo. You are little more than a shallow, bigoted, opportunistic piece of shit who would sell out any embattled minority - indeed any of America's most vulnerable - for power. There's a reason you were banished from Kos, and that reason is well in evidence in your comments on this (not to mention most other) threads.

"Anyone who claims to be a "green dem" but opposes Social Security and Medicare ain't much of a creature of the left in my book."

I support increasing social security benefits, and expanding medicare to all Americans. I also support dramatically downsizing defense expenditures so that my generation is not plunged into economic ruin.

"Anyone who advises the left to "smoke their bongs" for a generation while the right governs ain't much of a creature of the left in my book."

This is what's so funny about you Petey. You pride yourself on strategic political brilliance, but you fail to understand that Democrats are doomed for at least several more cycles, and quite possibly for much of the coming generation, without a solid commitment to mideast democracy. You're neither principled nor do you know how to win, which really makes you a pandering idiot.

Posted by: Green Dem | Feb 4, 2005 7:12:36 PM

"I assume it includes some of the usual sorts of guarantees of equal treatment under the laws which are, I think, sufficient to ground a claim of gay marriage."

And polygamy?

Posted by: John T. Kennedy | Feb 4, 2005 8:10:37 PM

And polygamy?

It's still illegal. I don't think it's too much to ask that the state have a non-insane reason to ban something. There doesn't seem to be a reason for banning gay marriage, whereas one can come up with many form banning polygamy.

At any rate, the interesting thing about the opinion is that it more or less issued a direct challenge to the higher court. The court of appeals had declined in an earlier case to address whether sexual orientation is an OK basis for discrimination before the law. In the section on equal protection, the judge more-or-less seemed to say: 'We could decide this on gender discrimination, but we'd rather decide it based on sexual orientation discrimination.' The judge then cited the one case in which the higher court punted the question.

If that's not an invitation to a judicial rumble, I don't know what it.

Posted by: jpe | Feb 4, 2005 10:48:37 PM

There doesn't seem to be a reason for banning gay marriage, whereas one can come up with many form banning polygamy.

oh yeah?

like what?

you'll be discriminating against muslims you know.

and we CAN'T have that.

Posted by: ohyeah | Feb 5, 2005 9:02:16 AM

also if we're talking historical precedent

dozens of civilizations, including some that are still extant, have had legal polygamy.

none have had legal gay marriage.

and the best part is...polyandry just don't work with human biology. yeah yeah, there are the nepalese weirdso, but let's just say you're not going to have millions of americans going for DP in their living rooms. (no i will not expand that acronym...you either know it or you don't).

i love seeing feminists hoisted on their own petard. too bad marriage - the bedrock of western civilization - has to collapse along with them.

oh well...i'm going to start shopping for harem babe #2.

END DISCRIMINATION NOW!!! ;)

Posted by: ohyeah | Feb 5, 2005 9:05:28 AM

Girl/girl couples might select the sperm of only the strongest, smartest, richest, most powerful or sexiest of men. The rest of us schlubs will spill their genetic potential into the dust.

Are big changes in the offing for the human gene pool? Will there be efforts to preserve the seeds of the schlubs in the interest of gene pool diversity? SAVE THE SCHLUBS!

When's the first big sperm bank IPO? And who will emerge as the powerful "talent" agents for this new stud industry?

Posted by: cargo | Feb 5, 2005 1:22:42 PM

Banning gay marriage is gender discrimination. Banning polygamy isn't. But if you want to legalize polygamy, go for it; there's not much difference between that and the serial monogamy heterosexuals practice in this country.

Posted by: phil | Feb 5, 2005 7:48:45 PM

"[When asked why polygamy isn't as much a civil right as gay marriage is] Gay activists typically answer by saying that marriage by definition is between two people... The real response, however, has been, in effect, that only crazy right wing fundamentalist heterosexual rural Mormon white people want to practice polygamy, and we all know that civil rights don't apply to them."

Once you accept gay marriage, there is no reason to ban incestuous marriage.
Allowiung same-sex marriage specifically says that marriage is not related to reproduction in any way. As all of the arguments against allowing incest are based on the dangers of inbreeding, the separation of marriage from any relationship to reproduction immediately nullifies that issue.
At the very least, there is no reason why an incestuous homosexual couple should not be able to get married.

Moreover, once you accept that society cannot limit marriage to a man and a woman, there is no reason why it should be limited to two people. All of the arguments against polygamy amount to "because we don't like polygamy," rather than any principled difference.

As for constitutional arguments, doesn't banning polygamy amount to discrimination based on marital status (i.e. you can't marry if you are already married, but you can if you are single?) in violation of the 14th amendment's equal protection clause?

Posted by: Glaivester | Feb 5, 2005 10:19:12 PM

The quote was from Steve Sailer, by the way.

The problem with the expansion of hte definition of marriage is that it will eventually lead to the total devaluation of marriage, as its meaning is diluted by allowing a variety of institutions to counterfeit themselves as marriage.

Posted by: Glaivester | Feb 5, 2005 10:21:36 PM

Glaivester | February 5, 2005 10:21 PM

>The quote was from Steve Sailer, by the way

That's sweet. Just more evidence for the fact that any idiot can set up a web site, and that more than a few people have.

>The problem with the expansion of hte definition of marriage is that it will eventually lead to the total devaluation of marriage, as its meaning is diluted by allowing a variety of institutions to counterfeit themselves as marriage.

Besides, more than a few of us can recognize bullshit when we see it. And your posts were nothing other than bullshit.

Posted by: raj | Feb 6, 2005 8:32:52 AM

A couple of small legal points and some late news:
1. Mayor Bloomberg has said the city will appeal;
2. He simultaneously said he favors same-sex marriage (or at least its practical equivalent) and wants the legislature to enact it;
3. The appeal is the right thing to do, wherever you stand on the legal or policy issue. Since trial-level courts in other parts of the state have come to the opposite conclusion, it won't do to have NYC as a same-sex marriage enclave when other parts of the state operate under different rules. There has to be a statewide rule, so the case has to get to the Court of Appeals (if the Legislature doesn't act first) and only the loser can appeal.
4. AG Spitzer (full disclosure--my boss) can't appeal because neither he nor any state official is a party. As AG he has the right to be notified and to defend the law whenever a state law is challenged on constitutional grounds, and he can continue to participate in any appeals, but if neither he nor a state official is a party, he can't control the course of litigation. Spitzer declined to participate in this case, brought against the NYC Clerk. I am not privy to his reasons, but they could range from politics, as had been suggested, to the generally true consideration that the NYC Corporation Counsel will adequately represent the state's interest. We stay out of NYC cases with far less political consequence all the time because we know that the Corp. Counsel will do the job as well as we could.

Posted by: C.J.Colucci | Feb 6, 2005 11:47:26 AM

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