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May 02, 2012


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So *this* must be the "real" issue that Sam, Bubba and others are referring to when they say no one wants to talk about the heart of Amendment 1. The need to address declining birth rates here in America, not protect the religious sanctity of marriage.



No, it's really conservative Christians imposing their religion on everyone else (except the vast majority of the non-Christian world also bans same-sex marriage). No wait, it's white people (except that a lot of them are black and hispanic). But wait, it's women haters who want to trash domestic violence laws! Sorry, but it's actually narrow-minded homophobic bigots! (except they also oppose heterosexual polygamy). Quit, everyone knows that it's Republicans (except that a lot of them are Democrats!).

What are you going to trot out next ?

To me the heart of the issue is 1) what role should government play in marriage ? 2) if the definition of marriage is extended beyond one man and one woman, under what rationale do you place further limitations on it ?


We don't need to take rights away from people to answer those questions.

The government should clearly establish laws that apply differently to couples than to single people. How couples form is none of the government's, or anyone else's, business.

if religious institutions do not want to perform weddings for people, that's their business and should have no influence on a couple's legal standing. No more reason exists to connect a religious ceremony and the state's recognition of a couple's legal status than to link baptism with an individual's legal status. An assertion by two people that they are, in fact, a couple should be sufficient.

Asking what is the "rationale" for putting limits on marriage once it is extended beyond one man and one woman is the same tired silly assertion that if we let people decide who they can legally live with, some people will decide to marry their pets. That's more than a bit like saying that if we let people drive, some people will want to drive their cars into school buses.

Besides being inane, the point of the question is is moot once government gets out of the business of deciding who people can and cannot live with and simply addresses the issue how the law deals with couples. The laws that deal with couples and their families should take no account of the fact that some of those couples call their relationship a "marriage" and some don't.

(As for the "Caucasian" thing… well, no surprise. that.)

Dave Ribar


Strange, the pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville used a similar rationale in his hate-filled sermon on Amendment One. If you go to the 35:30 mark, you'll find him talking about how the amendment is needed because "the Muslims are having children at an incredible rate and will take over us."

If you go to the 45:35 mark you'll get a special added treat where Harris instructs the fathers in his flock to beat the gay out of their sons.


We should outlaw all marriages because once you allow a man and a woman to marry there is no rationale to place further limitations.

identity thief

Why are you guys so reflexively hostile and hyperbolic at having your opinions challenged, even in a respectful, dispassionate way, on an issue on which you are probably in the minority? Are your convictions that fragile, that you cannot even allow them exposure to intellectually curious and honest scrutiny? Your circling the wagons stategy is certainly not helping you win over the minds and hearts of the undecided, despite the obvious energy you are expending to that desired effect.

Billy Jones

What? Y'all didn't know that already?


"We don't need to take rights away from people to answer those questions."

Whether there is a right IS one of those questions.

Dave, I don't buy into that nonsense. I have no idea why Ged chose to assign it to me.

Thomas, not quite. There is actually a court precedent as to why marriage between one man and one woman is a fundamental right. It is a rationale that cannot be applied to other forms of marriage. It will be this very issue that confronts the Supreme Court when they finally decide this issue. They will either have to dispense with their previous standard and come up with a new one that invites all of the questions I put into play, or uphold the current standard and conclude that there is no right to same-sex marriage.


"Why are you guys so reflexively hostile and hyperbolic at having your opinions challenged, even in a respectful, dispassionate way, on an issue on which you are probably in the minority?"

It's a way of life, Wayne. It's been that way here for as long as I've been commenting here. When that becomes understood, you quickly learn to respond to them in a way that gets their attention.

The tone is always set (directly or otherwise) by the blog host.


>>"Whether there is a right IS one of those questions."

Conservatives like to ask that question because it's impossible to answer. I could as easily ask who gave voters the right to take away rights. Nothing in our tradition asserts that the people create or remove rights.

We all have a right to decide who we want our partner to be. If the state decides to set privileges and obligations for one flavor of couples, it has no right or legitimate business denying those rights to other flavors of couples.

Dave Ribar


Rights? North Carolina citizens should see it as self-evident that all people are created equal and that they have rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

More generally, we shouldn't impinge on the great, general, and essential principles of liberty or deny people equal protection of the laws without a very good reason.

Those seem to provide a rights-based set of principles.


"Whether there is a right IS one of those questions." -- Sam

"People have an equal right to live, work, worship, have a family, etc. without fear of being hindered by individuals or the government (king, bureaucrat, etc). These are the rights assigned by the Declaration. They are the rights given to all humans by God, the Creator." -- Carla Garrison, conservative writer in the conservative Greensboro Guardian

Ed Cone

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

  Bill Yaner

I have no sexual attraction to my own sex. But I've always found those who do to be amongst the most talented, generous, kind, and considerate humans with whom to share this space on our planet for the time I am here.

Protecting ourselves from the gifts and strengths of their relationships in our state's Constitution seems so wrong to me in so many ways.

One (straight) man's opinion.



Something for the resident homophobes to consider before they enter the voting booth. Never a bad idea to take a good look in the mirror, ya know?


To Wayne: It is the very definition of the right wing authoritarian that he has no interest in being persuaded, is incapable of engaging in an honest debate and therefore is merely a subject for mockery. We are not trying to change your minds. We are merely trying to educate everyone else by using you as an example.


The fact that some people think individual's rights should be limited simply due to their gender says all you need to know about them. This is the very heart of civil discrimination and was long ago decided to be wrong. The fact that it is only now being applied to couples instead of individuals is the only new element in this debate.

How ANYONE can justify limiting the rights of some but not others based solely on their gender is far beyond me. In 20 years this debate will be completely and utterly moot. It would just be great to get there sooner rather than later.


So there is a right to polygamy, incestuous marriages, etc? If not, who decided that?

That's what we have a Supreme Court for and as of yet, they have never declared that there is a right to any other form of marriage but between one man and one woman.

So whether there is such a right remains an open question. Of course you are free to live in your own self created anarchy where you decide which rights do and do not exist. That would make you no different than those you criticize for allegedly imposing their beliefs on others.

Prell, do you have any advice for the resident polygaphobes? You dumb down the debate substantially when you label all those who question same-sex marriage as "homophobes". The issue is more complicated than that. The same simplistic slogans keep getting thrown around while the tough questions are being ignored. I feel like we've hit the wall now on this discussion because now it's just lobbing crap over the fence.


Using a slippery slope argument to try and justify the valitidity of Amendment 1 is a non sequitur Sam. True, I do believe that marriage can and should be defined between two people of the same sex, but this isn't why I voted against Amendment 1, and why I suspect Ed and most of the others here we voted against it did so.

We vote against it because it prevents same sex couples from being treated equally in the eyes of the state, under the law. To enter into ANY kind of government recognized union. If that is marriage or not is a matter to be decided later, perhaps by the supreme court, yes. But you telling me that the state can discriminate against two of my gay friends with impunity is something I'll NEVER agree is right or just.

Dave Ribar


You continue to raise the issues of polygamy, incest and "etc."

We now enjoy the benefit of experience from 8 states (CT, IA, MA, MD, NH, NY, VT & WA) and the District of Columbia that have fully repealed discrimination against same-sex marriage and 10 other states (CO, DE, HI, IL, ME, NJ, NV, OR, RI, and WI) that have legalized same-sex civil unions.

From those 18 states and DC, can you point to one where voters or judges have extended the laws (or even seriously threatened to extend the laws) to include polygamy, incest or "etc."?

To borrow from someone, the problem with your argument is that it is disingenuous at its core. Knowledgeable people understand that ANY law can be implausibly stretched to support an argument. Ridiculousness is no stranger to the courtroom or apparently to blog commenting.


Dave, I honestly don't understand why Sam raises the issue of incest. It can happen both in and OUT of marriage with both hetero and homosexuals. It's a total non sequitur to this discussion.

Dave Ribar


I don't understand why Sam here says that the slippery slope to polygamy, incest and "etc." are at the "heart of the matter" in his decision-making, yet those concerns appear nowhere in his blog post and rejected op-ed piece on the "True Legalities of Amendment One."

Actually, a quick (and perhaps incomplete) search of Sam's blog reveals no instance of the words "incest" or "polygamy" being used there. To be fair, however, "etc." has appeared in his posts.

It appears that Sam reserves a special type of sophistry for Ed's blog.


careful, fellas, you're treading in the waters of making sense. prepare to have a legal argument brought forth by spagnola, one that will make your head spin...


Dave, you haven't answered the question. Under what rationale is there a "right" to same-sex marriage but not a "right" to those other forms of marriage? Pointing out that it hasn't happened in other states doesn't address the question.

Rights are not mere opinions. A policy is not the same thing as a "right". Once the right to marriage is untethered from the "deeply rooted tradition" of one man and one woman, under what theory do you place other limitations on it? The "just because" theory?

It is only a "slippery slope" if "one entertains the belief that principle and logic have nothing to do with the decisions of [the] Court."

Again I feel we have hit the wall. My question has remained the same and it remains unanswered.


"So whether there is such a right remains an open question." -- Sam

Is there a right to marriage is the question to ask to avoid the depressingly inescapable. Do people have a right to be treated equally under the law is the core issue. Your straw men do not hide the fact that you are arguing no.


"Pointing out that it hasn't happened in other states doesn't address the question."

But it does reflect attention away from the inability to support their point of view doesn't it?

Speaking point of views, it's quite likely that all this blowback is an attempt to avoid the coming reality that the opposition that's represented here is a distinct minority opinion, even among some of their kindred spirits.


There are no straw men involved. You obviously haven't read the cases. Apparently none of you have, which is why you can't address the question involved. If two people can marry whomever they want so as to be treated "equally under the law", why can't three? Where in the law does it hold that any two people can marry whomever they want? Where does it state that such a "right" exists?.

The last time I checked, the current state of Constitutional law is that two unrelated people of the opposite sex can marry whomever they want. Not three people. Not persons of the same sex. The reason being that there is a "deeply rooted tradition" of marriage between one man and one woman such that the right is fundamental. Not three people. Not persons of the same sex.

Which brings us back to the unanswered question. If the right to marriage is no longer based on a "deeply rooted tradition" (because there is no deeply rooted tradition of same sex marriage), under what theory do you limit the "right" to marriage to just two people ? Under what theory do you limit the "right" to unrelated people ? Should there be limits ? If so, how do you do so without infringing on the "rights" of others ?

I know that I would be more receptive to change in this area if the consequences were properly considered and debated. However, that doesn't appear likely as the questions continue to be met with dogma and bumper stickers.

This is getting boring real fast.


"Under what rationale is there a "right" to same-sex marriage but not a "right" to those other forms of marriage?" -- Sam

Bigamy and incest are crimes in North Carolina. It would be against the state's interest to legally sanctify unions for the purpose of committing a crime.

Homosexuality is not a crime. Without a contradiction to the state criminal code and with a fundamental presumption in both the federal and state constitutions of equal treatment under the law, there is no reason to deny marriage or some sort of satisfactory civil union to gay and lesbian people to put their noncriminal unions on equal legal footing with heterosexual couples.

Dave Ribar


The Supreme Court has consistently held since Maynard v. Hill (1888) that elements of marriage can be regulated by the state. Extending marriage to same-sex couples would not overturn this general ability to regulate.

In Lawrence v. Texas (2003), the Supreme Court also rejected your argument that extending a right to consensual intimate same-sex relations conferred an unconditional right to unregulated sexual activity.

It is almost certain that courts for the foreseeable future would subject prohibitions against incest, polygamy, and "etc." to at least a rational-basis review. Courts have been extremely deferential to such bases.


Roch, Same-sex marriage is not "homosexuality". Homosexuality is a status, same-sex marriage is an act. Bigamy is a crime because it is actually possible for one person of one sex to marry persons of the opposite sex multiple times. You cannot equate the lack of illegality of same-sex marriage with bigamy because same-sex marriage is void ab initio. It can't be punished because the law doesn't recognize the act in the first place. In fact, A1 reinforces the nullity.

Why are bigamy and incest crimes ? If the issue is the rights of consenting adults, how and why do you limit it?

What is the new standard for the "right" to marry that you would establish? "Consenting adults" (if so, why not three or more? Why not incest?). "Two people" (why only two? why not incest?).

Or maybe you are just talking about policy as opposed to rights. That's a different discussion. Unless of course one is a polygamist in which case you might question why a policy doesn't apply to you and start to assert your "rights". I.E., "if they can do it, why can't we?" Sound familiar ?

Your best out is to simply say "polygamy, et al" are okay with me. That's a reasonable libertarian position. But if you don't think that is so, then maybe you can start to make a logical argument to distinguish why the "right" to same-sex marriage exists, but not the "right" to polygamy or other currently unrecognized/unlawful marriages. That includes explaining the genesis of the right.

Dave, I never made the argument that you claim. This isn't a discussion about sexual relations. Further Lawrence v. Texas actually adds support to the prohibition against same-sex marriage. Justice O'Connor wrote:

"That this law as applied to private, consensual conduct is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause does not mean that other laws distinguishing between heterosexuals and homosexuals would similarly fail under rational basis review. Texas cannot assert any legitimate state interest here, such as national security or preserving the traditional institution of marriage. Unlike the moral disapproval of same-sex relations–the asserted state interest in this case–other reasons exist to promote the institution of marriage beyond mere moral disapproval of an excluded group."

I'm just waiting for someone to establish and defend a workable rule to substitute for the current standard. All I get in return boils down to "just because".

When the SCOTUS gets this case- and they will some day- these are the very issues that will be discussed. The lack of any real answers explains why I can't get too excited about A1 either way. You can debate the noise and propaganda from either side, but that avoids the issue and explains why I find such tactics troubling.


"if so, why not three or more? Why not incest?"

Because those are crimes.

Your straw man is saying that people oppose Amendment One "just because." That is disingenuous as it ignores the substantive rationale people are offering, even in this thread alone.

You've been begging for a legal rationale that would draw a line between marriage of two-person couple and "incest and polygamy." It has been provided. The later would contradict the state's interest by giving legal sanction to criminal conduct. The former would not.

What allowing same-sex couples to marry would accomplish is it would put all individuals on equal legal ground: It would allow any adult to form legally recognized union with another adult, so long as that union is not sanctioning criminal behavior (no polygamy, no incest).

So if that's not enough for you, let's advance the argument. The state can draw a line on what unions to legally recognize by stopping short of marriages that would violate its laws against polygamy and incest, a clear and compelling interest. What legal reason is there for not doing that? The federal and state constitutions provide a right to equal treatment under the law. What is your affirmative argument for violating that right to equality in saying that some adults may form a legal union with another of their choosing, but some cannot? What is the compelling or even legally justifiable reason for that unequal treatment?

You may choose to continue to try to defend a dead argument, but here's what I'd like to hear you explain. What is the legal justification for allowing some people to


Sorry, ignore that last paragraph.


"What is your affirmative argument for violating that right to equality in saying that some adults may form a legal union with another of their choosing, but some cannot? What is the compelling or even legally justifiable reason for that unequal treatment?"

....Thus asked the polygamist to no avail.

So if same-sex marriage was actually a crime (it is clearly unlawful in NC- but not criminal), you would concede that there is no right to it?

Further, your argument about polygamy is circular: Polygamy could be justifiably banned because it is already banned (illegal). Also, sexual incest is a crime- incestuous marriages are not. Like same-sex marriages, they are simply void.

You must be conceding that we are no longer talking about a right, but instead a policy choice. This is because you cannot formulate a rights based rule that ends at same-sex marriage. Instead, you seem to favor a rule that says "any one person may marry any other single person to whom they are not related". Such a rule is not the basis of the fundamental right to marry, but could certainly be a policy decision.

Of course, once we start making this about policy instead of rights, then we are talking about majority rule. If the majority wanted to make polygamy legal, they could. Similarly, if the majority wanted to keep same-sex marriage unlawful, they could because we aren't talking about "rights" any more.

The current rule is easy and clearly has limits. The rule you want is hard because it's nearly impossible to reconcile any limitations. That's why this topic is far more complex than is being debated. I would rather have more clear answers to the tough questions before making a long-term commitment to a stance either way.


Sam, are you going to answer my question or not? What is your affirmative argument for the unequal treatment that has some adults legally able to form a union with another of their choosing, while others still are prohibited?

The slippery slope has been invalidated. There is a bright line. The state clearly has in interest in not sanctioning polygamous or incestuous marriages as that would be sanctioning criminal behavior. Since, as you astutely observe, homosexuality is not a crime, the state has no such interest in prohibiting same-sex marriages.

So, again, what compelling reason is there for overriding the bedrock principle of the right to equal treatment under the law so that heterosexual people may have a legally sanctioned union with a person of their choosing but gay and lesbian people can not?

identity thief

Sound bites such as "slippery slope","nonseqitur" and "strawman' are themselves slippery, nonsequitur evasions from the questions raised here, contain no substance, and constitute no particular argument against them.


@wayne stutts and others your passive racism is being displayed with the support of A1.
You all hide in Greensboro's white blogosphere while in the public eye skinning and grinning in AA faces in the daylight. Well some of you all probably view AA as invisible when you come into contact with them.
Wonder what Black folks will say if they knew how ya'll REALLY feel about them?


Roch, declare a victory if you must, but it is clear to me that this is over your head or you are deliberately ignoring key elements. You continue to ask me to operate under your assumptions (such as the invalidity of the "slippery slope" or that there is "unequal treatment") that aren't valid and are being interchanged between a rights debate and a policy debate.

If we are talking about rights, then I say that no right is involved. If we are talking about policy, that is a completely different question. In both cases, those excluded may very well ask you the same question for which you have not provided a satisfactory answer despite your belief to the contrary.

Hence, my prior statement that the rule under the status quo is easy because it rests on a deeply rooted tradition that differentiates it from other forms of "marriage". The change you seek is hard because it requires a new rule detached from tradition and premised on some as yet defined rights theory that carries with it many potentially unpleasant or undesirable ramifications.

I won't go down the rabbit hole with you. You'll just have to wait and read the Court opinions when they eventually come out and cover this very same ground.

This debate is nowhere near as simple as some who claim "because the Bible says so" or others who argue "equal rights" think it is.


Sam, I wasn't declaring victory, but I accept your concession.


'This debate is nowhere near as simple as some who claim "because the Bible says so" or others who argue "equal rights" think it is.'

interesting... care to tell us how the legal argument moves forward, which it will, if these opposing arguments aren't taken into account? does this happen in a vacuum filled with high paid lawyers and judges who spit ink on paper and let the drying process determine the outcome of the marriage debate?


"@wayne stutts and others your passive racism is being displayed with the support of A1."- Anon

Wow, they brought out the big guns. The Far Left Racists and Bigots are officially in play, congrats to the Looney Left.

Market Research Panel

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