Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Cogent Argument for Same-Sex Marriage

Kennedy has ruled in favor of sex being private,
for gays or straights. He doesn't have to say it again.

Sonya West of Slate has a very nifty view of how Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy could rule in favor of same-sex marriage without getting into the sticky wicket of sex. It's not about sex, it's about gender. I like it.
The gender-discrimination argument is not complicated. Imagine Alice applies for a license to marry Charlie and it is granted. Yet if Bob applied for a license to marry Charlie, he would be denied. The crucial difference between Alice and Bob is, of course, their gender—not their sexual orientation. In fact, as we all know, homosexuals have long been free to marry members of the opposite sex. Thus, Kennedy is wrestling with the possibility that Bob is being discriminated against because he is a man and not because he is gay. And, if so, should the court apply the same level of heightened protection it traditionally applies whenever the government treats men and women differently?
No one says anybody who is married has to have sex (though that's somewhat the case in other countries where women are not allowed to say "no"). Also, a standard justification for having a marriage annulled is non-consummation, as in not having sex or being unwilling or unable to have sex. There is, however, no requirement that a couple have sex in order to stay married.

Sex doesn't have to be the issue.

So, the real, legal phrase is better stated as a same-gender marriage, and that smacks of gender discrimination, icky sex notwithstanding.

Anthony Kennedy should and can go this way. What people do inside of marriage, sex-wise, is private.

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