Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Marriage Equality Resources

What follows is a post I wrote many months ago but never posted. Its purpose was to counter a common misperception that particular "marriage defender"holds about LGBT bloggers and those of us who advocate for marriage equality. I want to post this resource list today because I see that many "marriage defenders" hold this misconception about the marriage equality side. In short, they take the attitude that we "attack" them as bigots more than we ever address their arguments. In reality, I don't think "marriage defenders" who really believe this are looking very hard for our arguments if this is what they believe.

Thus, I thought it would be appropriate to create a little resource list for such persons to peruse arguments for marriage equality and critiques of marriage defense arguments that do not rely on the "bigot" label. I'm not citing these articles thinking they "win" the case for marriage equality. In fact, I don't even expect marriage defenders to agree with me on many of these arguments, but that's not the point. The point is, we often do more than just call people bigots.

What follows is a preliminary list of marriage equality resources that go beyond calling people homobigots. Many of the article are my own articles, but I do hope to update it regularly with other sources.

1. Law Review Articles

Legal journals are full of scholarly articles regarding the marriage debate. A good article to being is this excellent law review article summarizing key arguments for and against same-sex marriage. Those who believe that allowing same-sex couples to marry is "offensive" should pay particular attention to this relevant part:

"Not only does the inclusion of same-sex couples neither eliminate marriage nor prevent heterosexuals from marrying, but every important change in our society has 'harmed' the 'normative environments' of those opposed to the change. Part of living in a democratic society, after all, is learning to to 'deal with the harm to his or her normative environments inflicted by others seeking to flourish according to their own normative environments.'"

In this article, I explore some of the religious freedom and taxation issues that are implicated in the marriage debate.

2. Framing the Debate

Along these lines, I'd like to direct marriage defenders to my own piece on the importance of relevantly framing the marriage debate.

3. Reviews of Professional "Marriage Defense" Works and Arguments

Next, I'd like to reference my reviews of David Blankenhorn's book The Future of Marriage. I have said before that I respect Blankenhorn for his ability to make arguments against marriage equality without simultaneously denigrating gay men and lesbians. I don't agree with many of his arguments, however. That's why my responses to his arguments are outlined very clearly in my reviews.

In this article, I reviewed a debate about the issue hosted by the libertarian Federalist Society. Participants included law professors Dale Carpenter, Robert Nagel, Andy Koppelman, and Amy Wax.

4. "Deep" Thoughts

For a lighter take on the debate, I'd refer people to my "Deep" Thoughts series. The purpose of these posts is to address the absurdity and illogic inherent in many marriage defense arguments. Agree with me or not, you have to admit that these posts do more than call people "bigots." And come on, you also have to admit, using a thrice-married adulterer as a spokesman to "defend marriage" is just absurd!

5. Constitutional Issues

For those who cry that judicial tyrants have overturned The Will of the People(tm) in various same-sex marriage rulings, I would highly recommend my book reviews of Original Intent and the Framer's Constitution. Relevant to this debate, historian Leonard Levy writes:

"Those who measure individual rights against the rights of society forget that society has a profound stake in the rights of the individual; we possess rights as individuals not only because they inhere in us and serve to fulfill as individuals but because we function as a free society and maintain its openness by respecting personal differences.... Ours is so secure a system, precisely because it is free and dedicated to principles of justice, that it can afford to prefer the individual over the state"

6. California

Anyone interested in California marriage news could start by reading my take on the California marriage equality case here. Prior to this decision, legal commentators noted that the judges would probably rule in favor of same-sex marriage. I predicted a backlash to "tyrannical judges overturning the will of the people" in spite of the fact that there is no good legal justification for upholding the ban on same-sex marriage. Relatedly, all of my writings about Proposition 8 can be found here.

7. Benefits, Rights, and Protections of Marriage

Because the marriage debate is often abstract, and "marriage defenders" often speak of intangible harms to society/children/family, I also have a running series regarding the legal and financial benefits, rights, and protections of marriage. These articles outline the very specific ways in which the denial of equal marriage rights harms LGBT families.

I would encourage "marriage defenders" who venture here and read merely one article of mine to peruse my archives before they make sweeping claims about how I do or do not typify all of "them" on the marriage equality side. If you look beyond the surface, you usually find that people are more nuanced than you initially thought.

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