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Jul 21, 2006

Comments

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sean coon

guarino kills me.

Joe Guarino

Actually, Sean, there is another good reason that the cultural normalization of cohabitation is a very bad idea. It is the abuse of children, both sexual and otherwise, often at the hands of the live-in mate. This is a strong relationship that has been well-documented, according to my recollection. Cohabitation may cause more... pedophilia. Remember that word?

sean coon

yeah, and pedophiles will stop abusing children if only they were to marry their adult partners, right?

or are you arguing that by living together -- unmarried -- normal people are more prone to becoming pedophiles?

please link to your recollections, joe.

Ed Cone

Joe, I remain amazed that someone who considers himself a conservative can advocate this kind of government control of private affairs. It really seems more appropriate to a theocracy or totalitarian state.

Connie Mack Jr

Joe, I remain amazed that someone who considers himself a conservative can advocate this kind of government control of private affairs. It really seems more appropriate to a theocracy or totalitarian state.* Ed

True! If left up to the so-call religious repubs demanding jail time for couples living together.


They would have Ben Franklin and his sons doing time in a Tory prison boat somewhere in New York City harbor.

Samuel Spagnola

Have to say I agree with Ed on this one- so far.

Joe Guarino

OK, here is a link-- the first item that came up when I googled Cohabitation and Child Abuse. It is from Cornell University.

www.ndacan.cornell.edu/cmrlpostings/msg00501.html.

Contrary to what has been suggested, I have not advocated that laws against cohabitation necessarily been enforced. Rather, I do argue that invalidating laws that are rarely enforced in order to comport with a failed cultural status quo does not reflect enlightenment. I saw no overriding, overwhelming need to overturn that law. Far more harm is caused by the ramifications of cohabitation than by the law that was overturned.

In fact, normalized cohabitation regularly places children and adolescents in intimate, daily contact with adults to whom they are not related-- who will later harm them, and perform pedophilic acts with them. This is the ugly undercurrent of cohabitation that is not oft discussed, but I would surmise that professionals that deal with individuals in these situations see it all the time. I know I have.

I think the appropriate cultural stance toward cohabitation is to be against it-- because the interests of children in an ethical society override the temporal self-interest of putative adults.


Joe Guarino

Mangled sentence above.

"Contrary to what has been suggested, I have not advocated that laws against cohabitation necessarily be enforced."

Samuel Spagnola

Joe, the problem is that a lot of people cohabit and have no children, and your other concerns could be addressed through a custody order when children are involved.

Jim Caserta

Joe, you've taken one issues, brought up a related epidemic and postulated causation. I think (hope) we can all agree that our country should work to eliminate the epidemic of domestic violence. Now how does it really relate to cohabitation?

Just watch "cops" and you'll see that many victims of DV don't want to press charges or go back to a man after he has abused her. Now, if she's willing to go back to an abuser, do you think a misdemeanor charge of cohabitation is going to stop that?

Also, I think you're reversing cause and effect. Those who abuse and are prone to being abused probably are less likely to get married which would explain a correlation but not attribute causation to their cohabitation.

Cohabitation laws are a BB gun to the grizzly bear problem of domestic violence, and if I'm hunting grizzlies, I'm gonna need a little more firepower.

Chewie

"in intimate, daily contact with adults to whom they are not related-- who will later harm them, and perform pedophilic acts with them."

Joe's right. We should outlaw adoption. Think of the children, people.

Joe Guarino

Sam, your statement presumes that children must be placed at risk in order to guarantee the prerogatives of the childless to cohabit. If I am interpreting it correctly (and I am not sure I am with respect to custody arrangements), we would be relying on reactive strategies that can only be employed after the abuse has occurred. As you know, cohabiting men wander into and out of the homes of single parent mothers with children at various times.

Jim, a culture in which cohabitation is considered acceptable will necessarily place these kids in close proximity with predators to a greater exten than a culture in which cohabitation is not acceptable. This is what the research seems to be suggesting. Causation, probably, if cohabitation rates are higher than they used to be-- which they are.

Chewie, in fact there are some problems with adoptive relationships as well. But at least these arrangements connote much greater stability for children than cohabiting relationships, and less risk of abandonment.

Folks, let us recall that only several days ago, a local leader was severely criticized because of his statement containing the words homosexuality and pedophilia. All of a sudden, pedophilia is not nearly as problematic. That suggests to me that we are advocating the use of the law and culture to enshrine an ethos of unrestrained individualism and sexual liberationism-- at the expense of children.

David Wharton

"Cohabitation, an increasingly common phenomenon, is a major factor in child abuse .... The risk of child abuse is 20 times higher than in traditional married families if parents are cohabiting (as in "common law" marriages) and 33 times higher if the single mother is cohabiting with a boyfriend."

More information here.

Ed Cone

"All of a sudden, pedophilia is not nearly as problematic." Baloney. Nobody is saying anything like that.

The government simply has no business dictating the rules of cohabitation.

You may want a nanny state that enforces your beliefs, and you may argue for it based on vague correlations between one behavior and another, illegal behavior that nobody supports, but fortunately I don't think you are going to convince many people.

billg

>> "...It really seems more appropriate to a theocracy or totalitarian state..."

That's the thing that really annoys me. Old, honest, conservatives just wanted to get government to leave them alone. The current crop, that's stolen the conservative label, want to use the police power of the state to force everyone to behave as they see fit. Worse, they represent a minority point of view.

Don't believe in abortion? Fine. Don't have one. And feel free to work as hard as you want trying to convince other people not to get abortions.

Think stem cells are living beings? Fine, keep your own stem cells intact.

Think living together is a sin? Fine. Get a marriage license.

No one is forcing anyone is have an abortion, or donate their stem cells, or to cohabit with someone.

Why? Because forcing innocent people to do things against their will is wrong.

Unless you're a conservative, of course.


Ed Cone

DW, to analogize from your point...I'm sure alcohol is a factor in a lot of domestic violence, and perhaps pedophilia, too, as it certainly is in many crimes and bad behaviors.

We tried prohibition. It didn't work.

Outlawing something because it may sometimes lead some people to break the law or do something bad seems a rather overbroad and unjust social policy.

David Wharton

Ed, I suppose my point is that the changes in social norms that gave rise to increased cohabitation and out-of-wedlock births are pretty good for adults (at least in terms of near-term gratification) and pretty bad for kids.

I also know that government now has to pick up much of the slack that the loosening of marriage norms has spun out, especially in areas like social services for abused kids, increased costs for schooling unruly kids, and law enforcement.

Cohabitation is one of those "personal" decisions that, in the aggregate, has quite expensive public-policy consequences, not to mention personal consequences for the kids who didn't have any say in their parents' living arrangements.

This is curbing my enthusiasm for the court decision.

Jim Caserta

From DW's reference:
Specifically, Congress should:
1. Sharpen the debate by improving the quality of federal research. The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) should be directed to review the records of children who died of abuse within the past three years and delineate the family structure involved.
2. Commission the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to gather marriage and family background data in the next National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS-4).
3. Ensure that federal statistical agencies gather the marital background data for respondents in all social and economic surveys. These data would provide the best resource for future studies of child abuse and crime.
4. Enact legislation promoting the protection and safety of children in positive family environments. One bill that seeks to do so is the Adoption Promotion Act of 1997 (H.R. 867).18

In addition, state officials should:
1. Focus the resources of state social service agencies on ways to separate seriously abused children permanently from continually abusive parents.
2. Encourage the formation of separate social service units dedicated solely to the work of terminating the parental rights of abusing parents. At present, this work is expected of social workers who also are tasked with uniting the family unit.
3. Enact a strict 12-month timeline for adjudication of the long-term parental status of every child in foster care over the age of three, and a 6-month timeline for those under three.
4. Set aside a pool of money to be used as bonus awards for the directors of child protective service units who reduce the incidence of child abuse in their areas the most.
5. Enact laws requiring child welfare agencies to initiate adoption proceedings for children abandoned by their parents for 3, 6, or 12 months, depending on the age of the child.
6. Privatize adoption services at the state level.
7. Prohibit the removal of children from their foster parents if the foster parents are willing to adopt them, unless the children are being returned to their legal parents.
8. Promote comprehensive intervention in abusive situations by private social service agencies.
9. Mandate drug testing of pregnant mothers who are suspected of drug abuse, particularly cocaine abuse. South Carolina, for example, has reduced this problem by offering these mothers two choices: drug rehabilitation treatment or eventual prosecution.
10. Stop the practice by agency personnel of blocking transracial adoptions.
11. Promote the use of orphanages where appropriate.
12. Replace sex education in the schools with abstinence and marriage education. (counter argument to #12)

Jim Caserta

Another note from DW's link - children who are in families with household income < $15k/yr are 17.5 times as likely to be sexually abused as children whose family income is > $30k. Does that mean having a low income causes someone to abuse?

Joe Killian

I'd like to point out, if I could, that my girlfriend and I don't have any kids and aren't going to have any.

We live together.

This should be illegal because of other peoples' ideas about social norms and their hazy logic about the dangers to children that aren't ours and have nothing to do with us?

Samuel Spagnola

This is similar to the ban on guns. Does anyone think a criminal is not going to get a gun simply because it is illegal? If he's willing to kill, he's willing to violate the gun law. Same thing with cohabitation and the molestation issue. If you ban cohabitation (which we do) will a molester not molest out of fear of violating that law (a Class 2 misdemeanor) yet not flinch at violating a rape law (Class B1 felony)?

I have to part ways with you on this Joe. The deterrent against abuse should be penalty for commission of the act. If that isn't enough to deter, an anti-cohabitation law surely won't deter.

Samuel Spagnola

Liberals today want government out your bedroom but deep in your wallet. Conservatives want government out of your wallet, but deep in your bedroom. Both are contradictions when arguing about government. I say stay out of both.

Ed Cone

The "conservatives" in power are running huge deficits. The "liberals" they followed were much more fiscally responsbile.

Joe Guarino

Sam-- reactive, not proactive. The law reflected an earlier cultural status quo that took care of children much better than we do now. And again, I am not proposing that this law be enforced. But it is not inappropriate to maintain a law on the books that represents an ideal to which we would want individuals to aspire.

Jim, again many of the suggestions listed are statist and reactive. Better to begin a conversation that gradually brings into question the societal wisdom of cohabiting arrangements, which are problematic. Changing hearts and minds is appropriate. Changing laws to reflect the more recent versions of societal "wisdom" merely feeds into the existing trends.

David, thanks for your words.

Joe, regardless of what you perceive your perquisites to be on this matter, you do, in fact, have some level of societal responsibility for kids who aren't yours, and who "have nothing to do with" you. There is no fuzzy logic here. We are all responsible, in fact, for the cultural environment in which we participate, and that we promote.

Bill, as Sam obliquely suggests, if my responsibility is only unto myself, I suppose it is not necessary to pay that portion of our taxes that helps support others.

Ed, your statement that government has no business in cohabitation law is refuted by the obvious history of the matter. As far as I can tell, the contemporaneous understanding of the US Constitution, until 2003, was that states had the right to regulate such matters.

We had a fascinating discussion about Lawrence vs. Texas several days ago; and this is yet another instance in which it has had unintended consequences, in accordance with Scalia's implied predictions. Of course, the North Carolina judge cited Lawrence vs. Texas in the cohabitation case as precedent. So we have one activist decision building upon another. And there is nothing in the text, structure, logic and history of the US Constitution to suggest that state laws cannot regulate in this area. We are left with ethereal, impressionistic interpretations that justify meddling with the prerogatives of the states to set their own rules.

Ed Cone

Just because the law used to say something doesn't mean it was right (cue obvious examples such as slavery, no women's vote, prohibition...)

The keep-it-but-don't-enforce-it angle is both hypocritical and unworkable, the latter proved by the fact that this case was caused when someone tried to enforce the dormant law.

The comparison to alcohol seems strong: we don't outlaw it just because it may be abused, nor should we. Also powerful is the argument correlating poverty and abuse -- should there be laws against poor people having kids?

Joe Guarino

The instances of enforcement of the law were rare-- an infinitesimal proportion of the cases of cohabitation. And there is no hypocrisy in suggesting that an arrangement that is harmful to many should be actively discouraged, by law and by the cultural messages that should be circulated and presented to others.

No, we should not prohibit poor people from having kids. That would indeed be discriminatory. This is different because cohabitation is an optional arrangement in which people freely and actively choose to participate. That is only true for poverty a proportion of the time, indirectly.

In fact, in the cases of slavery, prohibition and women's vote, the constitution was amended to deal with these issues. That is a valid means by which to institute change. But in this case, judicial activism effected the change. And alcohol is "off the table" because of the fact that it is legal according to the amendment to the constitution that repealed prohibition. It seems to me that any discussion of alcohol is therefore moot.

Chewie

Fascinating, that such a topic could bring an intellect as dazzling as Wharton's to such a logical low.

"A seminal British study confirms that a child is safest when his biological parents are married and least safe when his mother is cohabiting with a man other than her husband. Specifically, the Family Court Reporter Survey for England and Wales presents concrete evidence that children are 20 to 33 times safer living with their biological married parents than in other family configurations."

Ahh yes - what a simple problem. Throw age, economics, upbringing, lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, and all other variables that may factor into the lives of the same population that is more likely to cohabitate out the window. It's really just this: cohabitation leads to pedophilia. Marriage is the cure for pedophilia. Force people to get married before they can live together, and the child abuse will clear up. Without the scourge of cohabitation, society will be better for kids, and poverty, illegitimate births, drug abuse, and any number of societal ills will disappear. If only we'd known this, we could have been battling cohabitation, the root cause, instead of its awful effects like child abuse, this whole time.

And if the government in this free country would just force people to live in this proscribed, religiously-informed manner, we'd be more American than ever. Somehow.

Our only other choice is for the government to outlaw kids, thereby solving the pedophilia and cohabitation issues in one fell swoop.

Bubba Wharton, you know better than this sloppy sentiment suggests. Rethink it and come back with your real argument. I'm shocked at you. I'm extending you some slack because you have kids, which makes men go all soft and riddles their logic with mushy holes, and plus, it's hot outside.

Joe, this sentence "I am not proposing that this law be enforced" renders every other word you typed irrelevant. Why do you care if there's a law on the books if you're not proposing it be enforced? Why do you care if that law is not on the books, if you're proposing it not be enforced?

Ridiculous.

Didn't anybody bring their A game today?

Joe Killian

My "A" game is all used up.

It's Friday.

Joe Guarino

The establishment and maintenance of appropriate cultural norms are important. To the extent that law reflects and informs those cultural norms, that can be helpful. I know that what has been suggested does not necessarily accomodate the cultural worldview that many would like to maintain. But in fact, cohabitation provides many more opportunities for sexual abuse of minors-- proximity, increased time spent together in close proximity, increased opportunities to be together alone, etc. Sure, other factors may play a role.

But let us not celebrate the ruling that was issued yesterday. It was bad, it was wrong and it reflects a misguided view of how society should function with respect to its obligations to its children.

Chewie

Other factors may play a role, indeed.

To say that people are healthy and normal because they are married, without considering the statistical probability that they are married because they are healthy and normal, is to veer out of the bounds of reason into a description of the world as you wish it were, rather than concerning yourself with how it really is.

I'm celebrating the abandonment of the idea that my government may dictate my housing arrangements. Oh, and that coldfront heading into the Triad tomorrow. Cheers.

Joe Killian

Joe - I think the problem here may be that what you consider "appropriate cultural norms" are, in fact (and this may come as a shock) what YOU consider "appropriate cultural norms."

That's all right. But own it.

Don't shove this stuff down the throats of those of us who happen to disagree (particularly those who are peacefully and consensually co-habitating without children) by trotting out "it's for the children."

It just makes you sound like Hillary Clinton.

There is almost no appropriate political comparison for how ridiculous it sounds to say "Sure, other factors may play a role."

It's like arguing that the cover of darkness, not criminals, are primarily responsible for burgulary.

"Sure, the willingness of people to steal your belongings may play a role...but what's giving them the opportunity?"

Anyone genuinely concerned about child molestation and abuse might want to, I dunno, put the arm on the molestation and the abuse rather than trying to figure out a way to use the issue to crow-bar the government into our bedrooms.

Joe Killian

Or even "burglary."

Roch101

"Ed, I suppose my point is that the changes in social norms that gave rise to increased cohabitation and out-of-wedlock births are pretty good for adults (at least in terms of near-term gratification) and pretty bad for kids." -- DW

David, I cohabitat. My partner and I do not and will not have kids. How is our living arragement any of your business bad for kids?

Roch101

"Another note from DW's link - children who are in families with household income < $15k/yr are 17.5 times as likely to be sexually abused as children whose family income is > $30k. Does that mean having a low income causes someone to abuse?" -- Jim

The more pertinent question is, should there be a minimum income requirement before women are allowed to bear children? Afterall, the argument being presented here is that any situation that might result in increased danger for children should be disallowed.

Joe Guarino

Maintaining a cultural environment in which it is acceptable to cohabit means that more will cohabit. Indeed, recent cultural history in the United States will support that point. If more people feel the freedom to cohabit, then more children will be involved with these arrangements. And if more children are involved with these arrangements, then more children will be abused.

This is an undeniable reality that a number seem to be trying to deny.

And Joe, the "cover of darkness" is not a changeable risk factor for burglary, unless artificial lighting is added. But cohabitation is a changeable risk factor for sexual abuse of minors.

Samuel Spagnola

I might agree with you Joe, if there was more cause/effect established. It does seem a little "post hoc ergo proctor hoc" to me as some others have pointed out. Although the Court relied on Lawrence which does add some credence to what Scalia said and what Marcus was implying, I don't think it was necessary to rely on Lawrence. A First Amendment free association argument would be stronger in my opinion as well as fair housing. If you want to get into privacy as a basis, I think they could have relied on Griswold alone- Lawrence only strengthened the argument- like I said it could for equal protection and pedophiles- even though it isn't the only possible basis for such a ruling.

Ed, the "liberals" before us (including the one that ALSO banned federal funding of stem cells) didn't fight a costly war. That aside, I agree that the administration has not been conservative on fiscal spending which has been a huge disappointment to me and others.

I think my premise is still correct about how both parties have problems with advocating big government although in different areas. It is inconsistent for both.

Samuel Spagnola

Joe, a curfew would be a changeable risk factor for the burglarly analogy. I think a ban on cohabitation as a method of crime prevention is highly restrictive and quite tenuous at best.

Samuel Spagnola

Joe said "And there is nothing in the text, structure, logic and history of the US Constitution to suggest that state laws cannot regulate in this area. We are left with ethereal, impressionistic interpretations that justify meddling with the prerogatives of the states to set their own rules."

I totally agree, Joe. However, I think the ban is unconstitutional under North Carolina state law. In any case, the Fourteenth Amendment has been so broadly interpreted to apply to the states in just about every aspect that it would take a huge change in the Supreme Court to overrule so many established 14th Amendment precedents. As a federalist, I wish it were so on many issues, but I also realize that is not the nation we live in. Somewhere along the line, the 10th Amendment was rendered virtually meaningless by the huge 14th Amendment power grab that has taken place over the past 140 years.

We disagree on this issue because I don't think the State of North Carolina should have such a policy any more than I think it should be regulated under the umbrella of federal rights. Of course, I don't believe that it is the role of the judiciary, state or federal to decide what the law SHOULD be. However, as long as we live in an era where the 14th Amendment applies all constitutional rights issues to the states, then a state court is justified in relying on federal rulings. That aside, it is certainly possible that the ban could be overruled under the state constitution although it doesn't appear that the judge relied on this. Also remember that this is the ruling of ONE state judge, not an appellate court which may interpret the law differently. Thus, it is not precedent and not binding on the rest of the state.

Matt Hill Comer

This may be a little out there... but it seems to me the conservatives really aren't the conservatives anymore. They WANT the Government in the bedrooms and in people's private lives. Maybe the conservatives have become the new fascists. If you don't have freedom in the bedroom, well, gosh... does freedom even exist?

Samuel Spagnola

I don't agree with the "fascist" comment (do some research on what that term actually means), but I agree that there are a lot of conservatives who are not conservative for the reasons you stated. I have little use for that kind of government intrusion.

Liberals, by contrast, speak of individual rights and being left alone- but they want everyone else to pay for it when you screw up. Those that pay aren't being left alone...

David Wharton

Chewie, thank you for calling my intellect "dazzling." It isn't true -- I'm a mid-level plodder at a small university -- but it felt nice to read it.

As for the rest, I don't think that I hold any of the opinions that you attribute to me. I don't think cohabitation should be illegal, I don't think the government should enforce marriage on unwilling parties, I don't think the solutions to child abuse problems are easy, I don't think that they're unrelated to social status, economics, etc. etc. etc.

I only pointed out that cohabitation is often a bad situation for kids to live in, and that this fact made me feel not-enthusiastic about its legalization. (Note that "not enthusiastic about" is not the same as "opposed to").

Given that marriage rates have declined in the last half-century, and that both cohabitation rates and child-abuse rates have increased according to the (admittedly few) sources I read (I'm not a social scientist), it seems like this is somthing that should factor into any discussion of cohabitation / marriage patterns.

* * * *

Roch, if you don't think your living arrangements are any of my business, please don't bring them to my attention.

But in answer to your other proposal, well, people used to be encouraged to delay marriage and procreation until they were financially well-established. That seems like a prudent practice to me. Fewer kids born into poverty is a good thing. So I'd be interested in finding ways to encourage that practice.

I recently heard Charles Murray talking about some interesting ways of addressing this very problem, which he discusses in his new book. My very-liberal morning running partner was also intrigued, so please don't dismiss it out of hand just because it's by Murray. I haven't read it myself yet.

Joe Guarino

Sam, I am glad we agree on federalism and the misapplication of the 14th amendment.

The press, of course, reported that Lawrence vs. Texas was the basis of Alford's decision; but the other alternative legal arguments that you say could justify invalidating the law, such as fair housing, free association and Griswold, would seemingly represent
federal usurpations and misapplication as well (and in the case of Griswold, another problematic decision that ich will is repeatedly used as precedent). I am not very familiar with the state constitution, so I cannot speak to that (and undertake this entire discussion with some trepidation, understanding I am outside of my field-- and you are not!)

But I am concerned that you seem to be supporting the process of redirecting the law via stare decisis and, well, generous interpretations. This process, however, is quite similar to that which led to the abuse of the 14th amendment. I understand this type of process is taught as gospel in law school; but this continuous tweaking and bending of the law in the courts creates a nation that does not even remotely resemble that which was founded. And the people never really have a voice in the changes that are engineered. That, as you know, is what leads to charges of legislating from the bench, oligarchy, and the like.

And again, a ban on cohabitation is not "highly restrictive" if it is rarely enforced. I agree, however, that the ban itself will not fix the problem that is created for children by culturally sanctioned cohabitation. Fixing the culture can only do that.

Matt, your view of sexual freedom as a critical, intrinsic part of the freedom that we enjoy as Americans is a concept that, legally and culturally, did not truly exist in a majoritarian fashion until, say, the last fifty years. What you describe was created to a significant extent by the courts.

Joe Killian

.."sexual freedom as a critical, intrinsic part of the freedom that we enjoy as Americans is a concept that, legally and culturally, did not truly exist in a majoritarian fashion until, say, the last fifty years."

I think it's hard to argue that, as a freedom loving people, we should see this as anything but progress.

Those who choose to hold themselves to the cultural mores of fifty (or even one hundred) years ago are welcome to. I'm certainly not going to insist they move in together. But I'm not going to let them instruct me to dial back the cultural clock on their say-so, either.

It's a pluralist society. God bless America.

Joe Guarino

The question is not only whether those on either side of the cultural divide view this change in mores as desirable, or whether we are pluralistic.

The question is whether the courts have been used inappropriately to further this cultural change-- instead of using the more legitimate routes of passing laws and constitutional amendments.

Joe, you seem to be arguing that you like the outcome reached; and therefore the means used to arrive at that outcome is.... what? We can't judge judicial decisions according to whether we like the outcome. We need to judge them according to whether they were decided appropriately-- whether the decision is in accordance with the original understanding of any constitutional provisions that are cited.

Chewie

"we are advocating the use of the law and culture to enshrine an ethos of unrestrained individualism and sexual liberationism."

"It was bad, it was wrong and it reflects a misguided view of how society should function with respect to its obligations to its children."

"We can't judge judicial decisions according to whether we like the outcome. We need to judge them according to whether they were decided appropriately."

We'll keep checking back as you try new arguments, Joe. I'm sure in a week or so you'll hit on one you like enough to stick with.

Samuel Spagnola

Quite the opposite, Joe. I was the president of The Federalist Society in law school. I didn't buy into a lot of the liberal crap they teach in law school about expansion of federal powers and the glory of judicial activism. I agree with Scalia regarding the rejection of stare decisis when the decision is simply wrong.

I didn't say I approved of the court decision on this issue (I believe it is correct legally based on precedent, but whether I agree with the precedent is another matter), I do approve of the outcome. That's all I am saying. I don't believe it is the governments business, federal or state, to tell people who they can live with in the absence of a compelling reason. You offer a reason, you may be right- I just disagree.

Matt Hill Comer

Okay... whatever. Reinstate the freaking law Joe. It never really had an influence over gay couples living together anyway, so it doesn't have an ?affect/effect? (I HATE those words) on me anyway. YAY, Joe wants discrimination against straight people (WOW, that like never really happens). Yup... males and females can't live together, but gay folk... shack up all you want. Lawrence v Texas put an end to the government being in my bedroom. If you want the government in yours Joe... by all means go ahead.

sean coon

joe: "But let us not celebrate the ruling that was issued yesterday. It was bad, it was wrong and it reflects a misguided view of how society should function with respect to its obligations to its children."

first of all, society doesn't have children; we individuals have children. children are the obligation of their parent(s), not the state. sure, that line is crossed out of dire necessity at times (social services, etc.), but i'll be damned if laws are passed with the supposition that overall society has a greater interest in how children are raised than their own parents -- married or not.

secondly, not all "cohabitors" have children or even want children. laws like this have only one particular lifestyle in mind. now, i understand this law just so happens to reflect the way *you* live *your* life, joe, but the last time i checked, we were living in a country where religion isn't the rule of law... yet another reason for this "law" to go down in flames.

Bubba

first of all, society doesn't have children; we individuals have children

Bubba

"first of all, society doesn't have children; we individuals have children...."

You mean it really doesn't take a village after all?

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