Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Mini Tuesday Sideshow

On Tuesday, March 4 ("Mini Tuesday") the second biggest chunk of delegates will be awarded. This day includes the big prizes Texas and Ohio. This was Super Tuesday in years past, but everyone stampeded a month earlier.

But in other news, the California Supreme Court announced today that they finally will hear oral arguments in Marriage cases, In re on this date. The questions at hand include (I quote from the official summary of issues):

Does California's statutory ban on marriage between two persons of the same sex violate the California Constitution by denying equal protection of the laws on the basis of sexual orientation or sex, by infringing on the fundamental right to marry, or by denying the right to privacy and freedom of expression?
Then, of course, comes the long wait for a decision. I have high hopes they will rule in favor of same-sex marriage. However given past history, I expect the court will announce its decision (whatever it may be) at some politically inopportune time. Like the end of October, 2008.


Raised By Republicans said...

The ONLY reason that the March 4 primaries are still important is because Iowa was first.

Imagine a big state had been first. In such a situation, the establishment big name recognition candidate would have walked to an easy win witout having to do much except spend money on a few TV ads.

Iowa forces candidates to get into the crowd and actually campaign. That gave Obama and Huckabee a chance to show they were serious candidates. If a state like Michigan or Florida or Ohio or California had been first, the nomination would be over by now.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Yes, thanks to Iowa we now have a long, drawn-out battle ahead for the Democrats.

The Law Talking Guy said...

No, Dr.S. That's thanks to New Hampshire. =)

Btw, I am not happy about the California Supreme Court taking up gay marriage in this election year. The legislature has voted for it twice. This is now a legislative issue and it's far, far better that it be done that way. This removes the "unelected judges" shtick. I fear the CA Supreme Court will say "no" and that will satisfy nobody.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Actually, only four states (VT, RI, OH, and TX) vote on 3/4. That may be the second largest delegate block, but it's not like a mini-Super-Tuesday. I'm sure the HRC camp will want to try to hype that date as a second big Tuesday - since she's favored on that day - but it's just not in the same league.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Good point. Mini Tuesday is not in the same league as Super Tuesday. It only has about a quarter of the delegates (445 as opposed to 2088 on 2/5). But I'm sure, as you say, Hillary is looking forward to that day and will try to encourage others to do the same. She ought to, anyway, if she thinks she can pull off big wins.

Still, Mini Tuesday remains the second biggest block of delegates. The third biggest is a mere 239 delegates in the "Potomac Primaries" on February 12, which is also obviously quite regional. No doubt Obama will look to make his own meal of that one.

Raised By Republicans said...

Hey, I thought we wanted primaries to chose the candidates not the party bosses.

Clinton was the choice of the party bosses. It was her campaign chairman who set up the primary schedule with her candidacy in mind.

Obama running (and winning in Iowa) threw a big wrench into that plan. If we think that contested party primaries are a good thing, we should all thank Iowa.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I'm not sure why primaries are better than caucuses, where caucuses are well-publicized open affairs that all party members can attend, i.e., they are not smoke-filled rooms. I think primary elections involve more of the electorate, but do so more shallowly.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Caucuses attract a more politically interested and informed group of voters, who may make a more considered decision. Primaries may be more reflective of which candidates will be able to turn out the votes from Democrats and "Democratic-curious" independents.

Pombat said...

Back on the same-sex marriage question - what is the actual reasoning AGAINST it at the moment?

Is there some legal precedent, some wording in a law about what marriage is, or simply religious-based bigotry?

In Australia, the current situation is that any (legal) marriage ceremony has to include a phrase along the lines of "marriage is between a man and a woman" (I can't remember the exact quote, but it's quite lengthy and specific), and I've seen two celebrants in the last few years apologise for having to say it, then say it very quietly & quickly (have also seen a priest-conducted wedding, I guess he said it, don't remember any apology from him though). I'm hoping the Rudd government will do something about it - they're apologising to the Stolen Generation this week after all :-)

The Law Talking Guy said...

Caucuses bind participants with the party far more than primaries. That is one of their purposes. California is generally classified by political scientists as having a very weak party system compared to most states. The primary elections in CA - which go back to the progressive era, much longer than most places - are a symptom and also continuing cause of this situation.

The Law Talking Guy said...

It's bigotry, all right, but there is more than just bigotry. It's the culture war. From the earliest days of the colonies, "Christian marriage" was upheld by the state (most states also forbade blasphemy, drinking on Sundays, gambling, etc.). Long tradition dictates that for the purposes of performing civil marriages, there must be an officiant who is either: (a) a Judge; (b) a Justice of the Peace; or (c) any religious minister. Thus, religion and the state partake of marriage. Some fear (wrongly) that gay marriage laws might require ministers to perform gay marriages. But the fear is not irrational, as it stems from a tradition of intermingling religious and state functions in marriage AND a fervent belief that state-sanctioned Christian Marriage is Right and Proper. For the state to legalize gay marriage is to admit that civil marriage is not "sacred." This is something the religious right is unwilling to do. It is also something that much of "middle America" is uncomfortable with for these historical reasons they don't fully understand. Gay marriage is actually easier in places like Spain and Mexico where civil and religious marriage are rigorously separated (the RC priest cannot perform the marriage for the state in Mexico; he can in the USA). Contrast the USA, with its very high rates of marriage, with Europe, where heterosexual marriage is viewed by many as archaic, and couples routinely form families and rear children without it. So: (1) marriage is one of the last places in the USA where the church/state wall is made of tissue paper, and the anti-gay-marriage folks like it that way; and (2) the institution of marriage is an extremely high cultural value in the USA that is hard to separate fully from a strong traditional and religious context.

What I'm trying to say is that the legal and cultural background of American marriage laws and customs makes gay marriage a harder political sell than bigotry alone can adequately explain.

I fully confess that I didn't fully "get" gay marriage until I saw the couples being married at City Hall in San Francisco. I previously thought that civil unions would suffice for full civil rights and equality, while preserving somehow the "marriageness" of marriage. I now understand that that very "marriageness" is precisely what gay folk want, and have an equal fundamental right to obtain. I also understand - as some gay folk do not yet - that this change in marriage will also change and diminish that "marriagness" itself. I guess that idea that marriage is both civil and "sacred" is what has to change, where "sacred" is inextricably intertwined with inequality.

Dr. Strangelove said...


Pombat said...

LTG - thanks for the full explanation, I wasn't aware of some of those subtleties.

But I have to ditto Dr.S - diminish?

Personally, I would think that, say, Las Vegas weddings conducted by Elvis diminish the 'marriageness' of marriage; the fact that absolutely any straight couple can marry, be miserable/horrible to each other and divorce diminishes the 'marriageness'; that people can get weddings annulled after a very brief period (see my earlier Vegas point) would diminish it.

But allowing a couple who love each other deeply and want to spend the rest of their lives together, to the exclusion of all others, to celebrate this formally to the world - how's that ever going to diminish the 'marriageness' of marriage (apart from to homophobic bigots) ?

By-the-bye, the idea that marriage is sacred needn't change - just the lack of understanding of the bible that the bigots (I include the majority of the religious ministers & large religious faiths in this) hold - as far as I know, and I intend to research this further at some point, the Bible does not actually condemn homosexuality, and certainly does not condemn a loving relationship between two consenting people.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Yes, "diminish." Gay marriage is part of secularizing marriage, decoupling it from all the meanings of the word "sacred." In doing so, the cultural potency of marriage is necessarily diminished. Part of the attraction of marriage is the fact that Marriage-with-a-capital-M is so honored in America because it is (as politicians say so often) "sacred."

I guess what I'm saying is that, subconsciously, part of what gay people want in marriage is to share in the social pedestal upon which marriage rests. Part of that pedestal is based in its sacredness, which is inextricably bound up with religiosity and heterosexism. I guess what I'm saying is that gay marriage can never be honored in the same way that heterosexual marriage once was - as morally superior to other kinds of relationships - because gay marriage is about attacking that very moral superiority.

This isn't a dig at gay marriage, by the way. Same thing happened when the franchise was extended to women to vote. Women discovered, eventually, that voting wasn't quite the privilege some imagined, because it's privilege-ness was bound up with its exclusivity.

Another example is allowing Jews and women into country clubs that used to exclude them. Follow me for a minute. Part of the reason why some (few, actually)of these excluded groups wanted into these clubs was their prestige. But that prestige was, paradoxically, based in part on their exclusion of women and Jews. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Pombat said...

(Nor does homosexual = non-sacred)

Sorry for shouting, but WTF?!!!

How, *exactly*, is gay marriage "about attacking that very moral superiority"?

Have a quick google, using the search phrase "bible homosexual", and you will turn up a whole bunch of references. For example, the fifth one on my list - 'Thank a Homosexual for Your Bible', which talks about how King James, he of the King James Bible, was in fact at least bisexual (fell in love with his male cousin at a young age, ended up marrying & having kids). Or the first one,, which attempts to give views from both the conservative and liberal points of view. Somewhere in all of that I found a statement that the word 'homosexual' was not found in an English language bible until 1946, LESS than a century ago. There's also quite a few interesting passages about how English versions of the bible entirely misrepresent what the original Hebrew stated, for example changing two men kissing to be two men *shaking hands*!

In the bigoted, discriminatory, hypocritical and entirely UNCHRISTIAN (or any other religion that believes in 'love thy neighbour' or similar) view of some people, yes, allowing gays to be married would diminish marriage. In the view of any sane, truly intelligent, tolerant person, gay marriage is EVERY bit as sacred as straight marriage (and a damned sight more than some straight marriages at that).

WHEN Dr S and his lovely fiance get married, I will be every bit as happy for them as I have been for the other couples whose weddings I've been to. And it won't change my views on how special my future (hopefully!!!) marriage will be.

[takes deep breath, gets off soapbox]

For the record, I do understand what you're saying about exclusivity and privilege as far as clubs etc go. However, I think it's an entirely misleading comparison in this case - I'd be looking more at the 'prestige' attached to being allowed to sit at the front of the bus.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Goodness, Pombat is a more passionate advocate even than I am! I am quite pleased. She makes some very good points. To me, the most profound was when she said, concerning my upcoming marriage (not yet scheduled, for those keeping tabs...), that it would not diminish her view of her own future marriage possibilities. Her view of what is sacred is not bound up with "religiosity and heterosexism." Neither is mine.

And when that happy moment comes, I know that LTG will also feel as full of joy and pride as if I had married a woman. And in the final reckoning, does not that truth of the heart contain all that need be said?