The NurflugelBlog is a place where I can vent my spleen about pretty much anything that crosses my mind. Politics, religion, those annoying little indignities we all have to put up with - I have plenty to say about them.

Location: United States

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Same-sex Marriage

Looks like the California ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, according to the Superior Court ruling this week. If upheld on appeal, it'll REALLY give the conservatives something to scream about.

I've never understood the rabid, frothing furor over this issue. Responsible, legal adults want to get married. This is a bad thing?

First of all, let me state that I'm not gay. Never been interested, not in the slightest. But, I've had friends who were gay. Some were great people, some were jerks. Just like "us". If they wanted to get married in a church, that's between them and their church. But, I don't think it's the function of government to sanction religious views into law. If a church doesn't want to recognize same-sex marriage, that's their right. It's worth noting that some churches don't recognize divorce. But, that doesn't stop the government from doing so.

Sounds an awful lot like I'm in favor of civil unions, doesn't it?. That'd be the government way of recognizing couples - it'd give them the legal status, inheritance, etc. rights of today's "marriage" as recognized by the state. And if churches don't like it, well, tough. I'm not a Christian - I don't care if the Catholics or Mormons or whoever consider my marriage or divorce sanctified by God. None of their business.

Will same-sex unions "destroy marriage", as the religious right insist? I doubt it, any more than the high divorce rate already has. I just can't see something that helps two people commit themselves to one another as a bad thing. This reminds me an awful lot of the laws that used to ban interracial marriage, with many of the same arguments being used. But, when you look back at those, they seem quaint and backwards.

So, let's take the reverse proposition - a constitutional amemdment is passed, banning same-sex marriage. There's some interesting consequenses I've never heard mentioned...
  • Take two people, both born male. If one of them gets a legal sex-change, can they marry?
  • If not (gender legally being established by your DNA), could a man who gets a sex-change marry a woman? You can't have it both ways...
  • Another case - there are quite a few people who are intersexed (not fully one sex or the other) - where do they fall in? Can they never marry? Isn't it a legal decision as to what gender they are for this amendment? And who decides that - the individual, a doctor, a judge, Congress?
  • What about women with complete androgen intolerance? These are genetic males who develop as females because their bodies can't process testosterone. Aside from the fact they don't have a uterus, you'd never know they were different. Who can they marry?

None of these amendments (even Oregon's misguided ban) address any of these issues - their language is quite simple, something along the lines of "A marriage is defined as a union of a single man and a single woman". Quite a lot of grey areas in there... what is a man and what is a woman? And who decides?

Sunday, March 06, 2005

No more executing minors... or those who killed as minors

Ah, the death penalty. Either you're executing killers or your accused of coddling them by the right.

What does the latest ruling by the Supreme Court really mean? Well, for starters, we weren't really executing kids. We were executing those who killed while they were kids. Bit of a difference.

Think back - how mature were you when you were 15 or 16? Be realistic. If you're over 30, you're prob ably cringing at some of the stuff you did and got away with. Did you really understand the concept of consequences then the way you do now?

Irregardless of at what age someone is accused of killing, I'm opposed to the death penalty. I used to be for it - seemed like a sure cure for the problem of what to do with all those killers.

But, later, after DNA testing had freed many people falsely convicted on Death Row, I thought about it... here was one technology that PROVED innocent people could - and were - being convicted. These weren't people freed on a technicality - they didn't do it!

So, it comes down to this - if we have a death penalty, we will execute innocent people. It's unavoidable, given an imperfect justice system. The real question is this:

If we are to have a death penalty, what is the acceptable number or percentage of innocent people executed?

If the number is zero, we must abolish the death penalty. And, if that number is anything other than zero, how do you justify it? If 1% is OK, why not 10%, or 50% Why not execute 200 innocents to get one killer?

Not having a death penalty doesn't mean letting killers go free. But it does mean that if someone is truly innocent, future technology might one day prove it and set them free. Hard to free a dead man, isn't it?