Wednesday, March 14, 2012

NC's Amendment One

In the May primary, NC will also vote on a Constitutional Amendment:

Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State.

And my view on the Amendment.


Pelsmin said...

Mungo --

I don't know the letter of the amendment (and too lazy to track it down) but the argument FOR it would be a simple one; civil society needs to establish certain norms, and many of them will be arbitrary, or seem that way. Men can walk around w/o shirts, but women can't. You can kiss in a public park, but not have sex.
If this amendment is like the laws against miscegenation, it's wrong, and I would oppose it. If it's like the laws against polygamy, I respect it as an arbitrary rule that a given society has decided to adopt to maintain some degree of social order.

Mungowitz said...

So, the part where I gave the literal text of the amendment wasn't enough for you? In italics? JUST ABOVE THE VIDEO LINK? IN MY POST?

Dude. THAT is lazy. Just f***ing read it.

Pelsmin said...

Must have been distracted by the devilishly handsome face in the Video link.
My point was that the letter of the amendment doesn't change the core argument for/against it. The argument is around whether society allowing people of the same sex to enter into a recognized marriage is such a threat to the social order that the government has to prevent it. Clearly, allowing races to mix is not a threat to society (as many felt), so we should be glad the miscegenation laws were tossed. On the other hand, allowing anyone to marry anyone else, in any numbers, would be a threat to social order and could be reasonably resisted, on the fear that it could effectively eliminate the institution of marriage, which could be seen as destabilizing to society.
So the question remains, is allowing men to marry other men, women to marry other women, an overdue liberation, like ending miscegenation laws, or is it a move towards destabilizing an important social institution? Government has a duty to maintain some degree of social order, though the Libertarian might set the bar a lot lower than the Evangelical or Socialist on what's appropriate. We can (mostly) agree on extremes of acceptable laws; no mass orgies in the town square, even with a permit? Seems reasonable. Felony status for adultery? Seems a bit intrusive. Blue law closings on God's day? Mind your own business.

Natalie said...

Marriage is already unequal in North Carolina. State law already says that only straights can get married.

This law writes that into the constitution AND takes away currently existing rights for straights that are not married. It's a badky written amendment that overreaches in dramatically discriminatory ways for straights and gays.

I'm straight. I'm not married. This amendment would harm me.

Of course, the best thing about it is that because it's so broadly written and uses language that is not defined in North Carolina, it will be left up to judicial interpretation, something the amendment supporters were supposedly trying to avoid re: marriage.

Joel said...

Nice on why we have and need constitutions.

Where will this be shown?

Luc Perkins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luc Perkins said...


Surely an unstated component of your argument is that in places where women have been allowed to legally marry women and men marry men, we have indeed seen a fundamental breakdown in social order of the sort you describe. If such a breakdown has not occurred and we have seen no trace of anything of the sort in those places, then it seems like your argument is lacking any kind of empirical verifiability. If you can prove to me that the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Vermont, etc., have experienced "threats to social order," you might have a sliver of a chance of convincing me. Otherwise, I'm forced to assume that your use of abstractions like "basic social order" is intended to produce a purely rhetorical effect.

Pelsmin said...

A reasonable way of looking at this, though its not just for "rhetorical effect." If you can't find an analagous society with a long enough track record, (and it takes generations to see the impact or lack thereof) these kinds of decisions need to be made -- for real -- based on assumptions and beliefs of outcomes. Another reason you don't want too many things controlled by govt bureaucrats.
To Mungo's point on Majorities, if the majority favors extending a personal liberty like this, you're done. The social norm aligns with the personal desire. If they oppose it, you have the dilemma over whether or not to grant it any way on the basis of intrinsic human rights.